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Unit information: Genes and Behaviour in 2021/22

Unit name Genes and Behaviour
Unit code PSYC30018
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Haworth
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

A surprising finding in genetics is that behavioural traits are just as heritable as physical health conditions. This unit will explore the different statistical methodologies for investigating the importance of genetic and environmental influence on behaviour, including twin and adoption designs, and DNA studies.

The aims of this unit are to provide students with a critical understanding of the methods in behavioural genetics, and how these have been used to investigate the roles of genes and environments in creating individual differences in behavioural outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  1. Illustrate behavioural genetics as contributing to research disciplines within psychology
  2. Analyse contemporary methods used in behavioural genetics
  3. Demonstrate how behavioural genetics research explores the role of genes and environment on behaviour
  4. Summarise the implications of finding genetic influences on behaviour

Teaching Information

Self-paced online asynchronous learning materials will be supported with weekly live synchronous sessions.

These live sessions will take a variety of different forms depending on the focus of the week, but will typically include Q&A based on the weeks' content, student discussion groups and Q&A with invited speakers.

Assessment Information

1 x 1600-word coursework (50%) and 1 x timed assessment (50%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PSYC30018).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.