PSYC4304 Physiological Psychology

Course Description

Neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Variables that contribute to behavioral effects in the areas of sensation perception motivation and learning.

The goal of Physiological Psychology is to acquaint the student with the workings of the human body and most specifically the human nervous system. Historically, psychology developed from two roots of study, philosophy and physiology. The discipline of psychology is the study of individual behavior and the correlates that foster behavior both in humans and in animals. The main focus for this course will be physiological underpinnings of human behavior, both expected and normal behaviors and those that are unexpected and demonstrate abnormal behaviors due to disease, trauma or disorder. The course will begin by looking at the structural levels of the brain and nervous system and will then examine in depth the cellular level of behavior. Sleep and wake, the sensory modalities, learning and memory are some of the additional areas of study.

Course Purpose: The purpose of the class is to help the student understand the link between physiological functioning of the nervous system and the human body as a whole and the resulting behavior, whether measured or inferred.

Course Credits: 3

Prerequisites: PSYC 1301

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Critically examine the structures of the brain and understand their functions in both survival and flourishing
  • Differentiate between the understandings of the Mind/Body problem and the Nature/Nurture problem
  • Evaluate the various protections of the brain and the idea of adaptability, plasticity and homeostasis
  • Sequence all the steps in neural transmission and understand the effect of drugs on the nervous system
  • Compare and contrast the sensory systems and the way they transduce information and process it along with problems for each system
  • Evaluate and contrast the process of sleep in both humans and other organisms and understand the body rhythms
  • Describe the development of the nervous systems and the attracter and repulser chemicals involved and how neurological abnormalities can occur
  • Define the way in which we learn and build memory on the cellular and structural level of the nervous system
  • Contrast abnormal behaviors with that of normally seen functioning and understand the characteristics of these pathologies and their origins