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Fundamentals of Psychobiology II

Code: 102606 ECTS Credits: 9
Degree Type Year Semester
2502443 Psychology FB 1 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Roser Nadal Alemany

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

In case the student requests the translation of the exam in Spanish, it will be sent in writing to the coordinator at the latest week 4. Neuroanatomy section in group 5 will be taught in English.


Margalida Coll Andreu
David Costa Miserachs
Roser Nadal Alemany
Marcos Pallarés Anyo
Sonia Darbra Marges
Meritxell Torras García
Jordi Silvestre Soto
Soleil García Brito
Laura Amoros Aguilar
Silvia Fuentes García
Raul Andero Gali


There are no prerequisites, but the knowledge acquired in the first semester (Foundations of Psychobiology I) is assumed.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Psychology is an incredibly rich discipline, including aspects related to health, society, education, work, justice, etc. Knowledge of behaviour and the mind requires, among others, an understanding of the biological bases that support them. This is the aim of Psychobiology in general and of those compulsory subjects in the 2nd year (Physiological Psychology I and Physiological Psychology II), as well as several optional subjects in the 4th year. In order to be able to understand the biological substrate of behaviour and mental processes it is necessary to previously understand the components and functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems, as well as the fundamental genetic mechanisms.


At the end of the course the student will:

  • Understand how genes and environment act to influence the behaviour and the different psychopathologies.
  • Recognize and distinguish between different types of inheritance. Interpret and draw conclusions from data provided through graphics, histograms, etc.
  • Use the knowledge acquired to apply it to genetic counselling, justifying the actions in each case presented.
  • Describe the main features of the organization of the nervous system in invertebrates and vertebrates.
  • Understand the main aspects of the morphological and histological development of the nervous system.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main milestones of nervous system maturation throughout childhood and adolescence, and their relationship with behavioural and mental capacities.
  • Understand the significance of some aspects of the development of the nervous system being dependent on experience.
  • Describe the main mechanisms of degeneration of the nervous system and explain the anatomical and functional regenerative capacities of the central and peripheral nervous system.
  • Describe the structure and organization of the main subdivisions of thenervous system.
  • Relate the different parts of the central and peripheral nervous system with the functional aspects more directly linked to each one of them.
  • Locate, on maps, models, three-dimensional computer images, etc., the main regions of the brain and the spinal cord.


  • Develop strategies for autonomous learning.
  • Identify and describe the processes and stages in psychological development through the life cycle.
  • Identify, describe and relate the biology of human behaviour and psychological functions.
  • Recognise the determinants and risk factors for health and also the interaction between people and their physical and social environment.
  • Use different ICTs for different purposes.
  • Work in a team.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop strategies for autonomous learning.
  2. Explain the key features of the anatomical and functional organization of the human nervous and neuroendocrine systems and their phylogenetic and ontogenetic evolution of the person and his physical and social environment.
  3. Explain the mutual interaction between the physical and social environment of the person and the genetic, hormonal and neural factors.
  4. Identify molecular and cell bases of inheritance and the main chromosome anomalies.
  5. Identify, discover and relate genetic bases of behaviour.
  6. Relate the highlights of the development, maturation and aging of the nervous system with the main stages of psychological development system.
  7. Use different ICTs for different purposes.
  8. Work in a team.



Unit A1. What is Behavioural Genetics?

Unit A2. How do genes work?

Unit A3. How do environments exert their influence on behaviour?

Unit A4. How is genetic research on behaviour conducted?

Unit A5. How mental disorders emerge? (I) Mendelian or monogenic inheritance

Unit A6. How mental disorders emerge? (II) Multifactorial inheritance

Unit A7. How mental disorders emerge? (III) Chromosomal abnormalities

Unit A8. How can we apply all this information?: The case of genetic counselling



Unit B1. Phylogenetic development of the nervous system

Unit B2. Systems of protection of the nervous system

Unit B3. Spinal cord

Unit B4. Brainstem

Unit B5. Cerebellum

Unit B6. Diencephalon

Unit B7. Striatum and basal forebrain

Unit B8. Cerebral cortex

Unit B9. Sensomotor pathways and centers

Unit B10. Homeostasis control systems

Unit B11. Ontogenetic development of the nervous system

Unit B12. Degeneration and regeneration of the nervous system


The teaching methodology is based on different types of learning activities. Depending on the case, master classes, seminars, laboratory practices, supervised and autonomous activities will be performed. Different activities based on students-focused active learning methodologies involving problem solving are also proposed.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes (whole group) 48 1.92 2, 4, 5, 6
Practical sessions 23 0.92 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8
Workshops (¼ group) 6 0.24 2, 7
Type: Supervised      
Tutorials (on line and one-to-one) 15 0.6 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Type: Autonomous      
Documentation 14 0.56 1, 3, 2, 6, 7
Section A Project 21 0.84 1, 4, 5
Software for nervous system visualization 13 0.52 1, 2
Study 71 2.84 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Unit B9 preparation 11 0.44 1, 2


Assessment (learning evidences)

The subject will be assessed based on the following learning evidences:

EV1 (34% of final grade): Continuous work to solve Behavioural genetic cases corresponding to Section A. This work will be carried out both individually and as a group throughout several sessions in the classroom (½ group  seminars), as well as autonomously outside the classroom. Timing: Continuously throughout the semester, with ongoing close interactions between the whole group classes (master classes) and the ½ group seminars of this section.

EV2 (it includes 3 evidences, with a global weight of 66% of the final grade, and it corresponds to Section B of Neuroanatomy). The evidences are:

EV2a (24% of the final grade). Content taught until the moment in Section B (open questions) will be evaluated. Timing: first assessment week.

EV2b (10% of the final grade): Practical assessment of Section B (Neuroanatomy). The identification of brain structures will be evaluated by means of models and/or images. Timing: it will be done in one of the sessions in groups 1/4.

EV2c (32% of the final grade): The comprehension and integration of the content of all the units of Section B will be assessed (open questions + test questions). Timing: second assessment week.

Definition of Non-Assessable

Students who have not performed any of the assessment tests or have completed learning evidences with a weight lower than 40% for the whole subject will be marked as NA (Non-Assessable).

Grades from Sections A and B

The Section A grade (weight: 3.4 points of the whole course) corresponds to that obtained in EV1.

The Section B grade (weight 6.6 points of the whole course) is obtained from the weighted average of EV2a to EV2c grades.

Reassessment tests

Only those students who have completed evidences with a weight equal or greater than 66.7% of the total grade will be eligible for reassessment. Students who have completed evidences with a weighting of between 40-66.6% of the total grades will be assessable but will not be allowed to do the assessment tests.

There will be two types of reassessment tests:

- Reassessment of the continuous work in Section A (EV1, Behavioural genetics case solving).
This will be have been carried out continuously throughout the semester. The final Section A grade will already include the reassessment grades when carried out.

- Reassessment of Section B. When after the weighted average of Sections A and B, the grade is lower than 5 and Section B has been failed, students can perform a reassement of Section B. To be allowed to sit the reassessment test, students are required to have obtained a minimum mark of 3.5 (out of 10) in Evidence 2 (sum of EV2a-c, Neuroanatomy). Reassessment of Section B will consist of an exam with open questions about all Section B units. The maximum grade that can be obtained in this reassessment is 5 (out of 10). The grade obtained in the reassessment for this evidence replaces the grade obtained previously.

Subject passed

The subject will be considered passed when the weighted average of Section A (or its reassessment) and Section B (or its reassessment), is equal to or greater than 5.

Students registered for the second (or more) time

These students will have to follow the same assessment system as those registered for the first time. No unique final synthesis test for students who enrole for the second time or more is anticipated.

Only in exceptional cases, such as students who are studying abroad on the Erasmus programme, will the possibility of a synthesis exam be considered, instead of the continuous assessment. These students will take a single final exam, with no possibility of reassessment. To be eligible for this type of assessment, students should contact the teachers during the first two weeks of the course. After this period, students will no longer be eligible for the integrative exam, and will be assessed by the standard continuous assessment system.

The proposed teaching and assessment methodologies may experience some modifications as a result of the restrictions on face-to-face learning imposed by the health authorities. The teaching staff will use the Moodle classroom or the usual communication channel to specify whether the different directed and assessment activities are to be carried out on site or online, as instructed by the Faculty.

At this link the evaluation guidelines of the Faculty of Psychology can be checked: https://www.uab.cat/web/estudiar/graus/graus/avaluacions-1345722525858.html

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Evidence 1. Continuous Project in Behavioural Genetics 34% 0 0 1, 4, 5, 8
Evidence 2a. Exam of the first block of neuroanatomy (Open, individual, written, classroom) 24% 1.5 0.06 1, 3, 2, 6, 7
Evidence 2b. Identification of brain structures (Open, individual, written, classroom exam) 10% 0 0 2, 7
Evidencia 2c. Neuroanatomy exam (Open + test, individual, written, clasroom) 32% 1.5 0.06 1, 3, 2, 6, 8, 7


Basic Bibliography paperback (Spanish)

Bear, Mark F, Connors, Barry W, Paradiso, Michael A. (2016). Neurociencia. La exploración del cerebro (4ª edició). Barcelona: Wolters Kluwer.

Carlson, Neil R. (2018). Fisiología de la Conducta(12a edició). Madrid: Pearson Educación.

Darbra i Marges, Sònia i Martín-García, Elena (2017). Mecanismos de la herencia humana: modelos de transmisión genética y anomalías cromosómicas. En D. Redolar (Ed.), Fundamentos de Psicobiología. Madrid: Editorial Panamericana.

Del Abril, Águeda, Ambrosio, Emilio, Caminero, Ángel A, García, Carmen, de Blas Mª del Rosario, de Pablo, Juan M. (2009) Fundamentos de Psicobiología. Madrid. Sanz y Torres.

Diamond, Marian C, Scheibel, Arnold B.  (2014). El cerebro humano: libro de Trabajo. Barcelona: Ariel.

Felten, David L, O’Banion, M Kerry, Maida, Mary E. (2016). Netter. Atlas de Neurociencia (3ª edició). Barcelona: Elsevier.

Haines, Duane E. (2013). Principios de Neurociencia. Aplicaciones básicas y clínicas. (4ª edició). Barcelona: Elsevier.

Kiernan, John A., Rajakumar, Raj (2014).  Barr. El Sistema Nervioso Humano (10ena edició). Barcelona: Wolters Kluwer Health España.

Kolb, Bryan, Whishaw, Ian Q. (2017). Neuropsicología humana. (7ª edició). Madrid: Editorial Médica Panamericana.

Martí Carbonell, Mª Assumpció, Darbra, Sònia. Genètica del Comportament. (2006) Servei de Publicacions UAB.

Nolte, Jack (2009) El encéfalo humano en fotografías y esquemas (3ª edició). Barcelona: Elsevier.

Redolar, Diego (2019) Psicobiología. Editorial Médica Panamericana.

Basic Bibliography paperback (English)

Neil R. Carlson, Melissa A. Birkett. (2017) Physiology of Behavior (12th edition). Harlow, Essex: Pearson.

Mark F. Bear, Barry W. Connors and Michael A. Paradiso. (2016) Neuroscience: exploring the brain (4th edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

Felten, David L, M. Kerry O'Banion, Mary Summo Maida. (2016). Netter's atlas of Neuroscience (3rd edition) Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Nolte, Jack (2010). Essentials of the human brain. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby/Elsevier.

Basic Bibliography e-book (Spanish)

Crossman, Alan R., Neary, David (2015). Neuroanatomía: texto y atlas en color. Elsevier.


García-Porrero Pérez, Juan A., Hurlé González, Juan M. (2015). Neuroanatomía humana. Editorial Médica Panamericana.


Purves, Dale (2016). Neurociencia. Editorial Médica Panamericana.


Complementary Bibliography paperback (Spanish)

Interlandi, Jeneen (2013). Romper la barrera cerebral. Investigación y Ciencia, 443, 38-43.

Jones, Allan R., Overly, Caroline C. (2013). Atlas genético del cerebro. Mente y cerebro, 58, 54-61.

Mesa-Gresa, Pilar, Moya-Albiol, Luis (2011). Neurobiología del maltrato infantil: el “ciclode la violencia”. Revista de Neurología, 52, 489-503.

Mossop, Brain (2013). Cerebro y paternidad. Mente y Cerebro, 58, 28-33.

Quian Quiroga, Rodrigo, Fried, Itzhak, Kock, Christof (2013). El archivo de la memoria. Investigación y Ciencia, 439, 19-23.

Sinha, Pawan (2013). Ver por primera vez. Investigación y Ciencia, 444, 67-73.

Complementary Bibliography e-book (English)

Carlson, Neil R, Birkett, Melissa A. (2017). Physiology of Behavior. Pearson Education Limited.


Felton, David L, M. Kerry O'Banion, Maida, Mary Summo (2016). Netter's atlas of Neuroscience. Elsevier.


Vanderah, Todd, Gould, Douglas (2015).  Nolte’s The human brain. An introduction to its functional anatomy (7th edition) Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier.