PG 351

Behavioral Neuroscience


Summer, 2000

Course: Behavioral Neuroscience (PG 0351)

Quarter: Summer 2000

Meeting Times: MTWHF 8:10-9:20

Location: Haley Center 3046

Instructor: Christopher Newland, Ph.D.


Thach 110

Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday. 9:15-10:00 or by appointment

Text: Carlson, N.R. Foundations of Physiological Psychology 4th Editon. Allyn and Bacon.

Online Study Guide:

Overview and Course Objectives. In this course we examine relationships between the brain and behavior. The scope is broad but we will try to cover the material in such a way that you can get an idea of what is (and is not) known about interrelationships between the nervous system and behavior and how that is known. We cover the structure of the nervous system, the different dimensions along which structure falls (e.g., anatomical, neurochemical), the fundamental units of the nervous system (the neuron and the synapse), the function of different components of the central nervous system, some sensory and motor systems, and integrative activities like sleeping, conditioning, and remembering. At the end of the quarter we will examine some behavior disorders whose neural bases are relatively well-characterized.

Some find this material difficult, especially the first time through, but it is within reach. The material is detailed in places, but the details do hang together in an orderly fashion. My advice is to come to class prepared and to resist mightily the temptation to procrastinate. Read each chapter at least twice, and preferably three times. Read it once before class in one or two sittings. The first reading need not be to memorize details but rather directed at getting an overview of what is in the chapter. Read it again as we go through it in class. Of course, then read the chapter before the exam and that reading should be for detail. I advise that when reading the chapter the second time you pause at the end of each section and summarize it using words and complete sentences. Pretend you are teaching it to someone else and, using the correct terms and experiments, explain what was in the chapter. Do all of your studying in a quiet place, with no distractions, and summarize it as you go through it. The figures in the text are especially good but some require some work. Pay attention to the diagrams; the effort will pay off.

By the end of the quarter you should:

--- Be able to describe the major features of the brain and spinal cord.

--- Understand the action potential of neurons and the important events that take place in the synapse.

--- Understand how synaptic events contribute to our understanding of drugs, drug abuse, and some behavioral disorders.

--- Understand the basic principles that underlie sensory systems.

--- Describe sleep and understand it as an active process

--- Describe how the study of complex phenomena like learning and remembering are studied by neuroscientists.

--- Appreciate how a science of behavior contributes to an understanding of brain/behavior relationships.

--- Appreciate the neural bases of some neurological and behavioral disorders.

Evaluation. Your grade will be a simple average taken from exams. One exam will be dropped from your final grade. Save this for something serious. Do not squander it on procrastination since there will be no makeup exams. An exam missed because of illness, schedule conflict, or any of life's unpredictable events will count as a zero and can be dropped. It is best to predict that the unpredictable event will occur on the day of the last exam.

You may study with others for exams (indeed, this is encouraged) but all exams will be taken in class and performed without any assistance from other students or from notes. The academic honesty policies specified in the Tiger Cub apply.

Course Structure. The course will be centered around the textbook. Class time will be used partly to cover material from the textbook, especially material that might be difficult to get from the book alone. For this I will need your help in letting me know what parts of the book you find difficult. I also hope to use some class time to provide more depth than provided in the textbook or to discuss a point raised by the authors.

Academic Honesty. Cheating is theft and a betrayal of the good-faith required for higher education to function. Cheating will not be tolerated. The policies established in the Tiger Cub will serve as guidelines for dealing with dishonesty. In this course you are encouraged to study together, but all exams must be taken on you own.

Schedule: The schedule is on the next page.

PG 351 Behavioral Neuroscience

Christopher Newland, Ph.D.

Weekly Schedule Spring, 2000.

Week Of Week Topic Chapter Your Grade
14 Jun 1 Background. General issues. 1
19 Jun 2 Cells of the nervous system. Communication among cells 2
26 Jun 3 Exam, Chapters 1,2.

Structure of the nervous system.

BTS. Mon-Wed.

3 Jul 4 No class on Mon or Tues. Psychopharmacology 4
10 Jul 5 Exam. Chapters 3,4


17 Jul 6 Vision. 6
24 Jul 7 Exam. Chapters 5,6

Sleep and biological rhythms.

31 Jul 8 Learning and memory.

Exam. Chapters 8,12.

7 Aug 9 Developmental disorders, Schizophrenia, Affective disorders. Substance abuse. 14, 15, 16 (selected sections).
Exam. Chapters 14-16

8:00-10:30, Friday, 11 Aug 2000

Lecture Topics

General Issues.

1. Dualism, monism, and reduction

2. a. Why ask Why? The multiplicity of satisfactory explanations

b.The terrible consequences of not using animals in research


3. Neurons and Glia

4. The peripheral nervous system

5. The central nervous system

6. a. Neural systems.

b. Imaging techniques

Evolution and comparative analyses of behavior.

7. Evolution and classification.

8. Invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems.

9. Encephalization among vertebrates.




11. Six stages of neural development

12. Experimental approaches to development

13. Disruption of development: genes, chemicals, and aging.

Neural Conduction.

14. a. Simple principles of electricity

b. The resting potential.

15. The action potential, and its ionic basis..

16. Neurotransmission and the receptor


17. Drugs and neurotransmission.

18. a. Behavioral determinants of drug action.

b. Lead poisoning and behavioral toxicology

19. Drug abuse: Behavioral and neural mechanisms.



Sensory systems: general principles, audition, and chemical senses.

21. Principles of sensory transduction: Transducers, optimal stimuli, receptive fields.

22. Audition: Sound and sound transduction.

23. The auditory and vestibular systems

24. The chemical senses.

Sensory systems: Vision.

25. a. Lite light: Brief description of the physical stimulus for vision.

b. Structure of the visual system

26. The retina: Photoreception and integration

27. Parallel pathways: Color and movement




29. The Spinal Reflex.

30. Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia: Orchestration of Motor Outflow.

31. The cortex and descending Motor Pathways.

Regulation of internal states.

32. a. Homeostasis and thermoregulation

b. The hypothalamus and the four F's..

33. Drinking and thirst

34. Eating: Starting and stopping.

Biological rhythms and sleep.

35. Sleep: Measurement, Characterization, and Stages.

36. Neural Mechanisms of Sleep

37. a. Sleep Disorders

b. Pharmacology of Sleep



Mental disorders.

39. Schizophrenia

40. Depression and Affective Disorders

Learning and memory

41. Human memory and its disorders.

42. Comparative approaches to learning and memory

43. Neural basis of habituation and sensitization

44. Neural basis of associative learning.

45. Long-term potentiation and the neural bases of memory.



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Last modified: July 08, 2010