Course syllabus

PSYCHOLOGY 222 – Biopsychology Proseminar
Fall 2011
Meeting time: Wednesdays 2-5
Glass Conference Room
Michael Gorman ([email protected])
5133 McGill Hall
Office Hours: After class, in hallways etc or by appointment
Course Web Page:
Unless otherwise indicated, readings will be available as PDFs on the course website or
will be distributed in class the week before they are discussed.
Aims and Scope: This course is designed to introduce the myriad experimental and
intellectual approaches that contribute to the study of psychology from biological
perspectives. "Biopsychology" is a fuzzy concept that relates to neuroscience,
physiology, comparative psychology, animal behavior, ethology etc. This proseminar
will not attempt to cover the breadth of topics usually included in biopsychology or
neuroscience textbooks. Instead, we will sample topics to illustrate particular themes.
The course will move through three major conceptual issues: 1) the relationship between
behaviors and their physical substrates; 2) genes, hormones, experience and development;
and 3) behavior in evolutionary and ecological contexts.
Requirements and Grading: Final grades will be based on (1) class participation (40%)
and (2) three short writing assignments (2-8 pages) due roughly in the 4th, 7th and final
weeks of the quarter. I strive to make class participation easy and informal. I will
additionally regularly ask each of you to keep notes for distribution to the entire class and
briefly introduce class readings and/or to facilitate discussions.
Overview of Topics
Week Date
Sept 28
Oct 12
Oct 19
Oct 26
Nov 2
Nov 9
Nov 16
Nov 23
Nov 30
Introduction – the threads of biopsychology
Structure/function relationships – neuroanatomy
Localization of function (continued)
Neuro-, psycho-, and/or behavioral pharmacology
Cellular and molecular bases of behavior
Genes and development
More development
Animal behavior and behavioral ecology
Human behavioral ecology
Evolutionary psychology and wrap up