BNS3052 - Drugs, brain and altered awareness - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

Faculty

Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Shantha Rajaratnam

Coordinator(s)

Professor Shantha Rajaratnam

Not offered in 2018

Prohibitions

PSY3102, PSY3280.

Synopsis

Following a brief examination of philosophical views of awareness and consciousness, the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie changes in awareness are examined. The modes of action, brain regions targeted and effects on cognition and behaviour of clinical, prescribed and recreational drugs are discussed. They are compared with other altered states of awareness, in particular circadian rhythms and sleep. The notion that awareness results from the integration of cellular activity in the brain and that subtle changes in this pattern of activity can dramatically alter awareness, cognition and behaviour, is emphasised.

Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the neurobiological modes of action of the major classes of drugs, and their different effects on awareness, cognition and behaviour;
  2. Understand that awareness results from the integration of cellular activity in the brain, and that subtle changes in this pattern of activity can dramatically alter awareness, cognition and behaviour; and
  3. Appreciate that addictive behaviour has a strong neurobiological basis, and the ethical and social implications of drug use and abuse.

    Additional objectives involve fostering research and presentation skills that will be useful to graduates of Behavioural Neuroscience. To this end, student at the completion of the course will have:

  4. Acquired experience in a variety of laboratory-based research paradigms and demonstrated a satisfactory level of competence in obtaining and interpreting scientific data and its presentation in written reports;
  5. Acquired skills and experience in electronic data acquisition and the presentation of reports using modern techniques of information technology; and
  6. Developed experience in self-directed group work and the instruction of others.

Assessment

  • Mid-semester written theory examination (short answer and/or MCQ, 2 hour) (35%)
  • End of semester written theory examination (short answer and/or MCQ, 2 hour) (35%)
  • Short practical report (maximum 500 words) (5%)
  • Laboratory report (2,000 words) (25%)

Workload requirements

5 contact hours, 7 additional hours per week (or 3 contact hours + 9 additional hours on alternate weeks).

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study