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Unit information: Nutrition and Behaviour in 2021/22

Unit name Nutrition and Behaviour
Unit code PSYC31052
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Jeff Brunstrom
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

The unit examines the inter-relationships between nutrition and behaviour and their implications for health and psychological well-being. Topics covered relate to appetite and weight control (including obesity and dieting); eating disorders; food preferences; dietary influences on mood and cognitive function; caffeine psychopharmacology; and food craving and “addiction”. An underlying theme is the interplay of biological, psychological and social processes influencing behaviour.

The aims of this unit are to provide a broad understanding of major topics in Nutrition and Behaviour, and to develop an appreciation of contemporary issues and emerging research in this field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Illustrate the field of nutrition and behaviour by distinguishing key drivers of eating behaviour such as appetite and food choice
  2. Analyse contemporary issues in the field of nutrition and behaviour and apply different methodological approaches that enhance research on eating behaviour
  3. Demonstrate the application of general psychological principles and theory to the study of nutrition and behaviour
  4. Summarise the relevance and impact of diet on psychological functioning

Teaching Information

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

Each asynchronous lecture will be subdivided into separate themes. Most themes will have an associated theme activity. Activities will incorporate streamed media, directed reading, and reflections on a specific research question.

The live sessions will include a discussion forum and student-led learning. Discussion forums will consider pre-specified research topics or research articles.

Assessment Information

1,000-word coursework - 50% of unit mark

All students will be expected to attend a coursework discussion tutorial. In addition, two optional coursework discussion seminars will be offered in the weeks immediately before and after the coursework tutorial. Together, these sessions provide opportunities for general and individual ‘feedforward’ advice (contrasting more traditional ‘feedback’), that is intended to help students to refine their coursework, before it is submitted for assessment.

A partially seen timed assessment – 50% of unit mark

Students will be asked to attend two 'timed assessment'-related sessions. One session will cover essay topics relating to questions set by Professor Jeff Brunstrom and the other will cover topics set by Dr Dani Ferriday.


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. PSYC31052).

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.