BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
Time: Mon Wed Fri 9:00 – 9:50 am
Room: Confer 128
The course provides an introduction to the intersection between two disciplines called
“biological psychology”. We will examine the biological bases of behavior, how
the brain works and what it does.
• To understand the basic principles of neural communication and neural circuitry.
• To apply this knowledge to psychological issues, such as, drug abuse or learning.
• To appreciate the many levels of knowledge and exploration of behavior.
Office SS 17
Email firstname.lastname@example.org (email best way to reach me)
Office hours: Wednesday or Friday 8 am or by appointment or drop-in.
Rosenzwieg,M.R., Breedlove, S.M. & Watson, N.V. (2004) Biological Psychology (4th
edition), Sunderland, Sinauer Associates.
Includes CD Rom ‘Learning Biological Psychology’ (Watson, N.V).
You will be expected to be familiar with the material assigned in chapter readings and
the CD Rom resource. The CD Rom contains tutorials and activities for each chapter
as well as study questions. Additional readings may also be provided. The assigned
material may be included in exams.
Powerpoint lecture presentations, handouts and information will be at the course
You will need to remember the password to get access to the files.
The course is divided into 4 sections.
1. The anatomy and physiology of the nervous system
2. Hormones and chemical information.
3. Sensory and motor systems.
4. Emotions and cognition.
Each exam tests the material in a single section. The final is not cumulative but you
will be expected to build on your knowledge throughout the course- it will be
assumed that you understand the concepts learnt in previous sections and can
integrate new knowledge.
Weekly Readings/Discussion 5% Due every Monday (as bolded)
Topic paper 10% April 3
Review Paper 10% May 3
Anatomy & Physiology quiz 10% February 20
Exam I 20% March 15
Exam II 20% April 21
Exam III 25% May 22
A passing grade must be achieved in at least 2 exams in order to pass the course.
Grading – grades out of 100% and follow standard letter grading system.
Cutoffs A 94%, A- 90%, B+ 87%, B 84%, B- 80%, C+ 77%, C 74%, C- 70%, D+ 65%,
D 60%, F <60
Each week you will need to find a popular press or newspaper report about current
findings in brain research and summarize this in a paragraph.
The topic paper is a review of the scientific information and the political context of
the subject currently under debate. Choose either - the use of medical marijuana or
FDA approval of drugs for pediatric psychiatry. (approximately 3000 words) You
must cite your sources.
The review paper is a written assignment requiring a literature search and
integration of information. You must pick choose an area of interest in biological-
psychology and write a review paper approximately 3000 words (about 6 single
space pages) It must be different from your topic paper.
You will need to do a literature search and it is expected that most of your references
will be peer-reviewed articles. You may use textbooks and review articles to
introduce your topic but the bulk of the information presented should be primary
literature that directly reports experimental findings.
You must cite your sources.
All assignments must be written individually. Any form of academic dishonesty will
result in a failing grade. You should be familiar with and abide by the Gustavus
Adolphus College Honor Code.
TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE
- this is tentative and subject to minor changes
Date Topic Reading
Feb 6 Introduction & Neuroanatomy Ch 1,2
Feb 8 Neuroanatomy - nervous system Ch 2
Feb 10 Cell biology & Neurophysiology Ch 2,3
Feb 13 Neurophysiology -membrane potential Ch 3
Feb 15 Neurophysiology -action potential Ch 3
Feb 17 Neurophysiology - synaptic transmission Ch 3
Feb 20 Quiz Anatomy & Physiology
Feb 22 Psychopharmocology – neurotransmitters Ch 4
Feb 24 Psychopharmocology - drugs &addiction Ch 4
Feb 27 Hormones - chemical signals &- regulation Ch 5
March 1 Evolution Ch 6
March 3 Development Ch 7
March 6 Development Ch 7
March 8 Sex - differentiation Ch 12
March 10 Sex - behavior Ch 12
March 13 Homeostasis - food & energy Ch 13
March 15 EXAM 1
March 17 Sensory Processing – basics Ch 8
March 20 Touch Ch 8
March 22 Hearing Ch 9
April 3 Vision **topic paper due** Ch 10
April 5 Vision Ch 10
April 7 Sensation and perception
April 10 Motor Control - circuits Ch 11
April 12 Motor Control – programs Ch 11
April 14 -
April 19 Motor – disorders (Mayday) Ch 11
April 21 EXAM II
April 24 Biological Rhythms - sleep Ch 14
April 26 Emotions – stress Ch 15
April 28 Emotions - fear & aggression Ch 15
May 1 Psychopathology - schizophrenia Ch 16
May 3 Psychopathology – depression ** review paper due** Ch 16
May 5 Learning & Memory - what is memory? Ch 17
May 8 Memory - where is memory? Ch 17/18
May 10 Learning & Memory - synaptic changes Ch 18
May 12 Language Ch 19
May 15 Language & Lateralization Ch 19
May 17 Cognition Ch 19
MAY 22 EXAM III 1:00 – 3: 00 pm (Monday)