Psychology 378

PSYC 378: Brain and Behavior (NS Core)

Prerequisites: PSYC 121

Credit Hours: (3)

Examines the brain and its role in mediating behavior and psychological processes in humans and other animals. Topics to be covered include neuronal functioning and communication, structure of the nervous system, common neurological disorders, neural bases of perception and action, learning, memory and cognition, motivation, and biological foundations of psychological disorders.

Note(s): Fulfills one of the Natural Sciences core requirements for the psychology major and minor.


Detailed Description of the Content of Course

Students will be presented with an overview of the structure and functions of the nervous system, and shown how this knowledge is relevant to understanding traditional topics in psychology. The major topics to be covered are:

Section 1: Fundamentals of Brain Function

l. General issues in brain and behavior
2. Neurons and synapses
3. Neuroanatomy
4. Research methods in brain and behavior
5. Human brain disorders

Section 2: Chemistry, Motivation and Mental Illness

6. Neurotransmitters and mental illness
7. Drugs and reward
8. Hormones and sex differences
9. Sleep and biological rhythms

Section 3: Perception, Action, Learning, Memory and Language

10. Sensation and perception
11. Control of movement
12. Memory and amnesia
13. Learning and plasticity
14. Language and laterality


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

PSYC 378 will be taught through lecture and discussion, and may also include films, slides, videos and other audiovisual aids to supplement lectures and illustrate current research on brain-behavior relationships.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed the course, the student should be able to:

l. Explain how neurons process and transmit information to other neurons, identify the major components of the nervous system, and the basic functions of different brain areas/regions.
2. Identify the major neurological disorders that afflict humans, the causes of these disorders, their effects on behavior and psychological processes, and current treatments for the disorders.
3. Describe and critically discuss the role of biological factors in mental disorders, the effects of drugs and drug treatments on the nervous system, the role of hormones in behavior, and biological determinants of motivated behavior.
4. Describe and explain the various ways in which information is processed and analyzed by the nervous system, and how this processing mediates perception, action, learning, memory and language.


Assessment Measures

Assessment may include in-class examinations, a final examination, quizzes, homework assignments, contributions to class discussion, and attendance.


Other Course Information

Speakers from the university as well as the medical community who have expertise in various areas of biological psychology may occasionally be brought in as guest lecturers. This course satisfies one of the Natural Science core requirements for psychology majors and minors.


Review and Approval

November 1997 Updated and put in new format Alastair V.E. Harris