This unit provides students with an understanding of the role the nervous system has in regulation of body homeostasis. Students will undertake a detailed study of the cellular basis of neural communication. Students will be able to apply this understanding to provide explanation of drug action, and understand the sensation and perception of pain. Students will gain skills in conducting simple laboratory procedures and interpretation of data.


NEU20006 Neurophysiology

HET242 - Introductory Neurophysiology (Discontinued)

Teaching Periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date
Semester 1
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Explain the physiological basis of somatosensation, pain, olfaction, gustation, vision, hearing, balance and motor control
  • Explain how nerve cells communicate with each other chemically and electrically, and how specific pharmaceutical drugs can affect nerve cell function
  • Discuss the roles of the nervous system and the endocrine system in the control of the human body
  • Compare and contrast skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle with particular emphasis on the relationship between structure and function
  • Carry out and report the results of psychophysical and physiological recordings to measure the properties of nerves, muscles and sensory receptors in humans and in animal tissues

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Face to Face Contact (Phasing out)
3.00 12 weeks 36
Face to Face Contact (Phasing out)
1.00 5 weeks 5
Face to Face Contact (Phasing out)
Tutorial Labs
2.00 6 weeks 12
Specified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
2.00 12 weeks 24
Unspecified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
Independent Learning
5.25 12 weeks 63


Type Task Weighting ULO's
ExaminationIndividual 50% 1,2,3,4 
Laboratory LogIndividual 40% 1,5 
QuizzesIndividual 10% 1,2,3,4 


  • Neural tissue; the basis of bioelectrical phenomena, resting potential, graded potential, and action potential
  • Somatosensory system: touch, pressure, pain and temperature receptors
  • Major afferent pathways; subcortical and cortical regions, sensory homunculus, sensory areas SI, Sll, psychophysics; perception
  • Pain pathways and endogenous analgesia; pain suppression
  • Neuropharmacology: Introduction to receptors; receptor activation, major antidepressant classes; drug dynamics, clearance, routes of administration; drug treatment in some clinical disorders
  • Special senses (vision, hearing, equilibrium, taste, smell)
  • Physiology of the motor system and the muscular system
  • Electrophysiological recording techniques

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.