PSYCH 370 - Brain and Behavior

Purpose and Objectives of Course: The primary purpose of the Brain and Behavior course is to provide an introduction to brain function with the emphasis being directed at humans. Although many disciplines have interesting subject matter, there is nothing more intriguing than how our brains work and how they guide our behavior. The first few weeks of class will emphasize the structure of the nervous system (particularly the brain) and a few other foundation topics.  We will then proceed to discuss the significant behaviors of sensing, moving, communicating, feeling, remembering, and being.  These topics will be examined from the view of how these systems go awry as a result of altered brain function (disease, trauma, chemical-induced changes, etc.).  Generally, we will use case studies to illuminate the types of behavioral changes one sees with neural damage and what these cases might tell us about normal brain function.

An important objective for this course is to ensure that you, as a student in the class, become actively involved in exploring and learning about human brain function.  I’m hoping that most of our discussions are directed by students and that I merely serve as guide.

At the end of this course, you should have achieved the following goals:

 

  • Learn basic human neuroanatomy, particularly of brain structures
  • Understand the various techniques that are used to study brain function
  • Understand the role of brain mechanisms in our sensory experiences
  • Know the major brain mechanisms responsible for controlling our movements
  • Ability to identify the brain structures and their function in speech production and comprehension
  • Successfully describe the role of the brain in our emotional experiences
  • Comprehend the role of the brain in forming and recalling our memories
  • Understand the current thoughts about how our brains produce that most interesting of human experiences:  consciousness