PSYC433-21W (C) Whole Year 2021

Research in Behavioural Pharmacology and Teratology

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 21 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 August 2021


An introduction to the effects of drugs on behaviour (behavioural pharmacology) and brain/behavioural development (behavioural teratology) with a particular focus on drugs and other chemicals that are used to treat psychological disorders and to enhance memory, and drugs that are abused and may lead to dependence.

This course will comprise lectures and student-presented seminars on principles of and topics within behavioural pharmacology (effects of drugs and other chemical agents on behaviour) and behavioural teratology (effects of drugs and other chemical agents on brain/behaviour development). During the 1st term, there will be introductory lectures on some basic topics (such as the history of drug therapy, the evaluation of psychotropic drugs, the behavioural pharmacology of psychological disorders).  From the 2nd term onwards, classes will comprise student-presented seminars and additional lectures on topics of current interest selected from: drugs used to treat psychological disorders; drug enhancement of memory; recreational drugs; effects of drugs and other chemicals on brain/behaviour development.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course can expect to be able to:
1. critically evaluate literature describing effects of psychotropic drugs and other chemicals on behaviour;
2. appreciate the complexity of drug/brain/behaviour relationships;
3. be aware of how exposure of immature organisms to drugs and other chemicals can modify their brain/behavioural development;
4. evaluate experimental studies of drug effects on animal behaviour and human clinical trials, and interpret the significance of outcomes.


Entry subject to the approval of the Head of Department. RP: PSYC333 (or equivalent) is strongly recommended

Recommended Preparation

PSYC333 (or equivalent) is strongly recommended

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Rob Hughes


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Written Test 30%
Seminar Presentations 25%
Multi-choice Test 15%
Literature review 30%

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Carlson, N.R. and Birkett, M.A; Physiology of Behavior ; 12th Edition; Pearson, 2017.

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,066.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Limited Entry Course

Maximum enrolment is 22

For further information see School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing .

All PSYC433 Occurrences

  • PSYC433-21W (C) Whole Year 2021