Biological Foundations in Psychology: Course Description

This course is designed to expose you to the underlying physiological mechanisms of behavior. Physiological psychology is a complex but fascinating field of study. It explores the relationship between our biological systems and behavior. Structure and function of the nervous system from the neuron to the brain, as well as the interrelationships between the brain and such behaviors as eating, sleeping, learning, memory, emotion, and mental disorders will be discussed using examples from the behavior of both humans and lower organisms.

Introduction to Biological Psychology

  • Examine the history of biological psychology.
  • Describe the major underlying assumptions of a biopsychological approach.
  • Identify the major structures of the nervous system (central and peripheral) according to location and associated higher psychological functions.
  • Analyze the role of genetics in brain development and subsequently, behavior.
  • Analyze the effects of nervous system pathology on thought and behavior.

Neurophysiological Processes and Chemical Bases of Behavior

  • Describe the role of postsynaptic potentials (excitatory and inhibitory), synaptic transmission, and receptors in producing and regulating behavior.
  • Describe the primary neurotransmitters and their role in brain function and behavior.
  • Identify current issues in psychopharmacology.

Vision, Senses, and Motor Control

  • Examine the role of experience in object recognition and visual perception.
  • Discuss the nature of sensation and perception as it applies to the five senses.
  • Describe the organization of the motor system.

Hormones and the Brain

  • Explain the interactions between hormones and behavior, including sex differences in brain morphology and sexuality.
  • Evaluate biological psychology processes on sexual differentiation.

Biological Foundations of Learning and Memory

  • Describe the neuroanatomy of and neural processes related to learning and memory.
  • Explain the relationship between learning and memory.
  • Discuss the importance of lifelong learning and brain stimulation to longevity and quality of life.
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