Biological bases of behavior: classical and contemporary issues, including introduction to nervous system, behavioral effects of drugs, chemical bases of behavioral disorders. Prerequisites: PSYS 001 or BIOL 001.
Dates: May 20 - June 28, 2019
Biopsychology (behavioral neuroscience) is the study of the biological basis of behavior. In this course we will examine many of the important issues in this field, including the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, synaptic transmission and the effects of drugs, perceiving the environment, plasticity and the changing brain, and emotion. Because we will be covering all of this material in six weeks, we will restrict our discussions to a few examples within each of these topics, and use these examples to try to illustrate basic principles within the nervous system. Our primary goal is to provide you with a knowledge foundation that will allow you to think critically about the process of biopsychology. In order to provide a framework to study each of these topics, each week we will consider how the basic principles of biopsychology are demonstrated in the brain systems that mediate the emotions of fear and anxiety, and what happens when we learn to be scared of something. This is certainly not the only major theme in the field, nor necessarily the best one, but there is a large history of research into fear and anxiety systems that we can draw on to learn about biopsychology. I am also asking each of you to choose a separate topic to analyze by the end of the course; hence, by the end of the course, you will have considered the basic themes of biopsychology in the contexts of at least two major topics in the field.
You are expected to log onto the Blackboard site every day. Each topic will be covered in either 1 or 2 day segments, and each topic will have a corresponding assignment, typically either an online quiz or a series of short essay questions (typically these can be answered in a paragraph). A list of assignments can be found in the main menu on the Blackboard site for this course. Assignments are due by 11:59 pm on their due date.
There are six learning modules corresponding to the six weeks of class. There are 30 points that can be earned in each learning module (typically, except for week 1, these 30 points will correspond to 3 quizzes/assignments each week that are worth 10 points each). In addition, you will be required to submit a 6-8 page review of a different topic in biopsychology. This paper will be worth 20 points; however, I am willing to award up to 5 extra credit points for particularly thorough reviews.
Online Course (View Campus Map)