Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience

Course Number: PSY 213
Transcript Title: Intro Behav Neuroscience
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: April 22, 2021
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


PSY 201A or BI 231.

Course Description

Surveys the role of the brain and nervous system in behavior, psychological functioning, and neurophysiological processes that underlie human development. Prerequisite: PSY 201A or BI 231. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the brain’s neuroanatomy and its functions throughout the nervous system to understand behavior and mental processes.
  2. Use an understanding of neurophysiology principles to associate the effects of psychopharmacology on human development and pathological behavior.
  3. Evaluate and understand the role of brain functionng in the development, diagnosis, and treatment of brain-based disorders.
  4. Apply an understanding of brain functioning to the conduct of one’s own life.
  5. Apply knowledge of neurophysiology to include: attention, learning, perception of others and decision making.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Not addressed

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate learning outcome by the following:

  1. Complete a research paper that demonstrates competency and critical thinking in the area appropriate for the course.
  2. Respond verbally and in writing to topical questions concerning physiological psychology.
  3. Respond to objective examinations that address course concepts, issues and themes.
  4. Participate in classroom discussions.
  5. Participate in individual and group exercises, activities or class presentations.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Appreciate the history of physiological psychology
  2. Identify the structure and function of the different parts of the neuron
  3. Discuss the function of sensory and motor neurons
  4. Discuss multipolar, bipolar and unipolar neurons
  5. Discuss the internal structure of the nerve cell
  6. Describe the supporting cells of the brain and the peripheral nervous system
  7. Describe the function and structure of oligodendroglia and schwann cells
  8. Describe the significance of the blood brain barrier
  9. Describe the forces that result in resting membrane potential
  10. Describe and discuss the action potential based on ion movements across the membrane
  11. Discuss how action potentials obey the "all or none" law
  12. Identify the structure and function of the synapse
  13. Describe the structure and function of neurotransmitters and postsynaptic receptors
  14. Describe salutatory conduction
  15. Describe the structure and function of autoreceptors
  16. Distinguish between hormones, neurotransmitters and neuromodulators
  17. Identify the directional terms of the vertebrate nervous system
  18. Discuss the different sections or slices of the brain
  19. Discuss the divisions of the nervous system
  20. Identify the structure and function of the three meninges
  21. Discuss the divisions of the nervous system
  22. Identify the structure and function of the three meninges
  23. Describe the function and route of the cerebrospinal fluid within the brain ventricles
  24. Identify the major functions of the five divisions of the brain
  25. Discuss the major structures of the brain
  26. Contrast afferent and efferent nerves
  27. Discuss psychopharmacology
  28. Describe the various routes of drug administration
  29. Contrast an agonist from an antagonist effect
  30. Describe the activity of the five neurotransmitter classes
  31. Discuss and contrast the various imaging techniques used to visualize the living brain
  32. Discuss techniques used to record neural activity
  33. Develop an understanding of neurochemical methods used in understanding the physiology of behavior
  34. Discuss sensory transduction
  35. Define brain lesion
  36. Discuss the theory behind experimental ablation technique
  37. Develop an understanding of brain histology
  38. Understand the stereotaxic surgery technique
  39. Identify structures and function of the eye
  40. Discuss the two photoreceptors
  41. Describe the anatomy of the retina
  42. Trace the visual pathway from the cornea to the primary visual cortex
  43. Describe the four photoreceptors in the retina
  44. Describe the phenomena of blindsight
  45. Discuss the parvocellular and magnocellular systems
  46. Discuss the visual agnosias
  47. Discuss the physical structure of sound
  48. Identify the structure and function of the ear
  49. Trace the route of sound waves from the pinna to the cortex
  50. Discuss the role of cilia in the transduction of sound
  51. Discuss and describe how pitch is perceived
  52. Describe the sleep cycle
  53. Discuss REM sleep and slow-wave sleep
  54. Discuss the major symptoms of narcolepsy
  55. Define and discuss circadian rhythm
  56. Discuss the various components of an emotional response
  57. Understand the structure and function of the amygdala in emotional response
  58. 5Compare the James-Lange and the Cannon-Bard theories of emotion
  59. Appreciate cross-cultural studies on the expression of emotions
  60. Discuss the relationship between cortical damage and aggression
  61. Discuss classical and operant conditioning
  62. Describe perceptual and motor learning
  63. Identify the anatomy of the hippocampus
  64. Describe the process involved in long-term potentiation
  65. Describe the physiological process of synaptic plasticity during long-term potentiation
  66. Describe the physiological response to dopamine in reinforcing brain stimulation
  67. Define anterograde amnesia
  68. 6Discuss the role of the hippocampus in relational and spatial learning
  69. Discuss the structure and function of the hippocampal place cells
  70. Discuss the role of the hippocampus in the formation of learning and memory
  71. Define aphasia
  72. Identify the brain regions involved in Broca’s aphasia
  73. Identify the brain regions involved in Broca’s aphasia
  74. Describe the role of the cerebellum in speech production
  75. Identify the role of Wernicke’s aphasia
  76. Discuss the term pure alexia on reading and writing
  77. Define and discuss the characteristics of conduction aphasia
  78. Discuss the different forms of acquired dyslexia
  79. Discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of brain tumors, seizure disorders and cerebrovascular accidents
  80. Describe the symptoms involved in Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s chorea
  81. Describe the neurological changes involved in Alzheimer’s disease
  82. Discuss and identify the symptoms and neurological changes that result in multiple sclerosis
  83. Discuss the symptoms of schizophrenia
  84. Discuss how drugs influences positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia
  85. Describe how dopamine contributes to the symptoms of schizophrenia
  86. Describe the physiology of affective disorders