physiological psychology psyc 465 565 section 003 004 spring session 2013 bryan d devan ph d
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PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY PSYC 465(565) section . 003/.004 Spring session, 2013 Bryan D. Devan, Ph.D. Class Meeting : CLA Bldg , Room LA 3105, Mon & Wed, Section .003 : 2:00–3:15 pm Section .004 : 3:30–4:45 pm Office and Phone : LA3146; 410.704.3727

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physiological psychology psyc 465 565 section 003 004 spring session 2013 bryan d devan ph d
PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGYPSYC 465(565) section .003/.004Springsession, 2013Bryan D. Devan, Ph.D.

Class Meeting: CLA Bldg, Room LA 3105, Mon & Wed,

Section.003: 2:00–3:15 pm

Section .004: 3:30–4:45 pm

Office and Phone: LA3146; 410.704.3727

Office Hours: Mon/Tue: 1-2 pm; Wed/Thur,12-1 pm; Fri, 11 am -12 pm

Email: [email protected]



Class website:

Other resources:

Lab website (LCN): (Internet Explorer only)

pinel j p j 2011 biopsychology 8th edition boston allyn bacon
Pinel, J.P.J. (2011). Biopsychology (8th edition) Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


This is the course Textbook

You could use these alternatives

2009, 7th ed.

2006, 6th ed.

But you are responsible for ALL

assigned material from the new edition

course description
  • An introduction to the physiological bases of behavior. The topics that will be considered include:
  • basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology
  • sensory and motor systems
  • memory systems
  • “higher order” behavioral systems

2.5 hours of lecture per week.


You may remain in this course only if you have passed a General Biology course with at least a grade of "C" (2.00 GPA) in that course. Among the courses at Towson University that would satisfy the prerequisite are BIOL 110, 115, 190, 201, 213 or BIOL 120 plus the lab component 120L. If this is not the case, it is your responsibility to drop this course immediately.

You should also have at least 9 units of PSYC or the consent of the instructor. Please present a transcript (either official or unofficial) to me by the second course meeting so that I can verify that you have successfully completed the course prerequisites.

An unofficial transcript may be printed by going to online services on the Towson University website. The trail is as follows: Self Service > Student Center > Transcript: View Unofficial Transcript (This is found in the dropdown bar next to current class schedule). From there you should be able to print a copy of your unofficial transcript.

goals and objectives
  • The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a basic/broad understanding of the biological foundations of behavior through a survey of theoretical perspectives and research findings in different subfields of biopsychology (defined as the scientific study of the biology of behavior). Although an exhaustive account of topics is not possible in a one-semester course, the general goals will include:
    • a review of basic concepts in psychology and neuroscience to understand some contemporary problems biopsychologists are attempting to answer
    • a description of the research methods used in different subfields of biopsychology
    • a discussion of the former concepts and methods to promote critical thinking and evaluation of biopsychological research findings.
course format

The course will include a combination of lecture material, including multimedia presentations, and open discussion of topics. The course is not constructed such that the lectures will stand alone. You are expected to do the assigned readings before our discussion of the material in class (that is, if the material will be discussed).

Given the complexity of the material, this may mean that you will have to read the assigned text more than once in order to fully comprehend the material, especially if you have very little college background in the biological sciences.

I will make time to answer questions and review very difficult reading material in class. However, I expect that you will be prepared for class by having read the assigned chapters/sections beforehand.

bimodal distribution


bimodal distribution

Are you in the pink? If so, then make sure you:

  • Prepare for class (3 Rs)
  • Ask (and answer) questions in class
  • Practice outputting material (study group)
summary of assignments
Summary of Assignments
  • Exams - 4 equally weighted multiple choice with short answer questions for extra credit
  • Article summary– a brief summary of a scholarly peer-reviewed journal article.
    • Requirements - content includes Brain and Behavior (Biology-Cognition)
    • Recent study or review (no latter than 2005)
    • 2-3 p. summary with journal article
assignments examinations
ASSIGNMENTS: Examinations

There will be fourequally weighted exams in this course covering material from both the book and lectures. The format for these exams will be multiple choice and short answer/short essay. Exams are given on the dates scheduled.

Make-up exams will only be given if an exam is

missed due to a medical emergency or a religious

holiday (a doctor’s note with the physician’s phone number must be presented in case of a medical emergency). No other reasons will be accepted. If you are going to miss an exam, you must contact me in advance of the exam. If you do not contact me in advance, you will not be permitted to make up the exam and will receive a 0 for that exam. All makeup examinations will be short essay in format and must be completed within three days of the student’s return to class. It is the student's responsibility to arrange this time with the instructor.

assignments article summary
ASSIGNMENTS: Article Summary

Each student will write a brief summary (approximately 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages) of one recent (no older than 2005) primary literature journal article concerning some aspect of neurological/neuropsychological functioning (i.e., brain and behavior; a list of suggested topics is provided at the class website The summary should include a brief description of the study objectives, the basic methods used in the study, the basic results of the study, and conclusions AND your critique of the study/article. A copy of the journal article (including reference section) must be included with the summary.

Also include your critique (critical assessment of the potential problems, confounds, weaknesses and also the strengths) of the study.


Exams = 4 x 50 pts. 200

Article Summary = 50 pts. 50

Total 250

See grading chart for % and letter grade equivalents

Grad credit – see me

academic integrity expectations
Academic Integrity Expectations

Towson University’s full policy to address the variety of behaviors that represent a breach of academic integrity can be found in Appendix F of the University Catalog. In addition, if you type in “Academic Integrity Policy” in the search box in the upper right-hand corner of the Towson University webpage, you will be taken to a page of links. Click on “Towson University Policies” and open the “Academic Affairs” link. You will find a link to the full Academic Integrity Policy at that location. The site can be access by clicking the following link:


Plagiarism & Cheating

  • No credit given (stole the idea)
  • Credit given but used the same wording
  • Cheating will not be tolerated

No lateral eye movements during exams


  • Expected and necessary
  • Considered in the case of a borderline grade
emergency statement
Emergency Statement:

In the event of a University-wide emergency, course requirements deadlines and grading schemes are subject to changes that may include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, class materials, and/or classmates, a revised attendance policy, and a revised semester calendar and/or grading scheme. In the case of a University-wide emergency, please refer to the following about changes in this course:

  • Course web page (see above)
  • Instructor’s email (see above)
  • Emergency telephone number (i.e., my mobile # -- 410/446-1425)
emergency statement1
Emergency Statement:

For general information about any emergency situation, please refer to the following:

  • Towson University’s Website:
  • TU Text Alert System: This is a service designed to alert the Towson University community via text messages to cell phones when situations arise on campus that affect the ability of the campus to function normally. Sign up:
  • Please note: I will attempt to communicate with you via your Towson e-mail address, the course webpage (given above) and/or the course Blackboard site.
arrangements and information
  • Students with Disabilities

Please see me

  • Academic Standards
    • Can only be repeated once without permission of ASC

General info

turn off cell phones and audible devices

syllabus subject to change as needed

dewsbury 1991
Dewsbury (1991)

The “biology” in “psychobiology” should include the whole-animal approaches of ethology, ecology, evolution…as well as the latest in physiological methods and thought…. The “compleat psychobiologist” should use whatever explanatory power can be found with modern physiological techniques, but never lose sight of the problems that got us going in the first place: the integrated behavior of whole, functioning, adapted organisms. (p. 198).

Dewsbury, D.A. (1991). Psychobiology. American Psychologist, 46, 198-205.

Multiple levels of organization


The complete organism

Behavior and Cognition

Top-down reductionism should be balanced with a bottom-up approach to put the organism back together


Systems and Circuits

Smaller parts of the complete organism

Synapses and Neurons


Molecular Biology

Genes and Molecules

Subatomic particles or even smaller strings and membranes in 11-dimensional space!

Why study behavior if the all the action is at the molecular and genetic levels?


The proof is in the behavior

The silver bullet of longevity that could extend your life by 50 years

A Drug company makes a major discovery!

Would you take a longevity pill?

But what if there was no proof that it preserves cognitive function?

genes and aging
Genes and Aging