PSY-211: Learning & Memory This course will introduce you to the fields of learning and memory, which seeks to understand how our minds manage to learn, remember, organize, and forget information about the world. The first part of the course will examine learning from a behaviorist perspective. This approach focuses on how the surrounding environment can modify how an animal behaves (e.g., through classical and instrumental conditioning). The second part of the course adopts a cognitive perspective by which memory is examined in terms of how our minds obtain, organize, use, and misuse knowledge. As we work throughout the semester, our investigations will rely on evidence from a variety of tools and methods with a special interest in investigating competing ideas and considering how findings may explain everyday life. Fall 2021
PSY-225: Brain, Mind and Behavior This course will serve as an introduction to neuroscience through a survey of topics that focus on the structure and function of the nervous system. We will also explore how the nervous system produces various behaviors such as sensation and perception, sleep, learning, and clinical disorders. By the end of this course, you will understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie our cognitive processes and behaviors, i.e., how the brain communicates with the body and vice versa. Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023
PSY-227: Drugs and Behavior This course will serve as an introduction to psychopharmacology including drug mechanisms, uses, abuses and addiction, with a focus on recreationally used drugs. Throughout this semester, we will examine how neurotransmitters are synthesized, how they function under normal conditions, and how they are influenced by the use of certain drugs. We will use this information to understand how pharmacological processes affect the development of substance use disorders and how understanding these processes can lead to treatment for psychiatric disorders. By the end of this course, you will understand how drugs affect brain systems, which in turn influence behavior. Prerequisite: PSY-225. Fall 2021, Spring 2022
PSY-398: Neurobiology of Eating and Eating Disorders This course will provide an overview of the neural mechanisms controlling appetite, eating, and body weight regulation. The first part of the course will focus on homeostatic regulatory signals, and the neural systems with which they interact. The second part of the course will explore the role of non-homeostatic factors in the control of eating, and the neural systems that allow their integration with homeostatic systems. The final part of the course will cover current neuroscience findings pertinent to obesity and eating disorders, and discuss alterations in homeostatic regulatory signals observed in these conditions. Course readings will be drawn from the primary literature, and will cover research conducted in animal models and in humans. Fall 2022. Prerequisite: PSY-225.
PSY-341: Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience This course (lecture and lab) will provide an overview of experimental techniques used in behavioral neuroscience, from the classic to the cutting edge, with a focus on rodent models. The theories and principles behind these techniques will be discussed, and primary research articles that utilized these techniques will be critiqued. This course will include hands-on laboratory learning, wherein students will gain experience in techniques such as behavioral assessments, intracranial surgery, tissue processing and staining, neuroanatomical identification, and microscopy. Students will learn how to pose and test behavioral neuroscience research questions, analyze behavioral and neuroanatomical data, and write research papers in APA format. Prerequisite: PSY-225 (or BIO-111 or BIO-112 or PSY-227), PSY-202, and PSY-141 (or equivalent). Spring 2022, Spring 2023