Course Outlines

Winter 2012


Behavioral Basis of Neuroscience I

*Course Outline Index
* Timetable        

Instructor: Dr. Boyer Winters
Office: MacKinnon Extension Rm. 3005 Ext. 52163
Office Hours: Meeting by arrangement, e-mail at all times
Class Time: TUES, THURS; 10:00 - 11:30, MACN 113
Lab Location SCIE 2307
Teaching Assistants: Lorman Ip:
Kelsy Ervin:
Christopher Gabor:

Outline Document out of sequence!
Position -- Outline: 185 OTHRSEC ;Master: 230 key: PREREQ

Course Objectives and Content:

Objective: Can the human brain ever fully understand itself? Psychology and Neuroscience involve the scientific study of behaviour and the nervous system, respectively. In this course, we will consider both of these pursuits from the integrative perspective of biopsychology, or behavioural neuroscience. The ultimate effect of nervous system function is to produce and control behaviour. This course deals with the link between psychological processes and the brain. As such, we will consider evolutionary, anatomical, pharmacological, synaptic, neurochemical, and developmental bases of aspects of human behaviour, including taste, touch, hearing, vision, and movement. Throughout, we will emphasize the behavioural relevance of the biological and physiological mechanisms under discussion.

Format: lectures and lab section.

Lab sections (location: SCIE 2307): The lab will consist of an analysis of the anatomy of the sheep brain. You will work in groups of about 4 students, and each of these groups will have several brains to dissect. Times: as scheduled. Labs will begin the week of Jan. 16th. Exchanges of lab slots can only be done by dropping/adding the course at the Registrar’s office. Lab manual (and supplementary material): this will be available without charge, and will be accessible online in D2L (PSYC*2410) using your U of G email username and password.

Required Text: J. P. Pinel (2010). Biopsychology. New York: Allyn and Bacon, Eighth Edition. There are three copies of the textbook on reserve in the library. Web site: lecture notes will be available online before each class. Just logon to D2L using your U of G email username and password.

Instructor – Student Communication You can email me at any time. I will set up an e-mail class list that I will use to communicate important information to you (e.g., exam marks). I will use your U of G email address as default. If you prefer that I use any other email address, you will need to communicate it to me as soon as possible. However, there can be problems with hotmail, etc addresses, especially if you have set up a Junk Mail filter. You will need to set your Junk Mail Filter to allow messages from my e-mail address. In general, your University of Guelph email address is preferable. General comments I appreciate that students in this course have varied backgrounds and that many of you may have encountered several of these topics in other courses. This is natural considering the integrative nature of the subject matter being covered in PSYC*2410. The linking of biology to behaviour is what distinguishes PSYC*2410 from other courses in which similar material may have been covered. This course covers a fast developing area of psychology where new and exciting discoveries are the rule rather than the exception. During the semester we will address many issues that are of broad interest. For each topic, we will first cover some “biological” background; then we will introduce the behavioural relevance of the biological system. Considering material you may have encountered elsewhere from a different perspective can actually aid in your depth of understanding of that material. At the same time, you may notice a phenomenon that is common in fast developing areas like biopsychology: there exist different lines of thought among scientists, typically based on differential interpretations of the same scientific evidence. Experiencing and appreciating such cases will aid in the development of your own critical thinking. To this end, I also encourage open discussion in class. Please ask questions freely, remembering that your question will probably reflect what others are also wondering. I will be happy to provide further explanation or clarification. I realize that some of the biological topics may be covered at a level that seems ‘basic’ to some of the science students in the class. However, it is my responsibility to ensure that all students, including BA students, are provided with the necessary foundations to follow and appreciate the course. Keep in mind that the defining feature of this course is the in-depth consideration given to the relationship between biological processes and BEHAVIOUR, something that few other courses emphasize. I suggest that you read the chapters and lecture notes ahead of time, especially if you feel that your background in a particular area being covered is limited.

Schedule of topics and dates.

The following is an outline of how the course will proceed. However, if necessary, I reserve the right to progress more slowly than indicated.

Jan 10th Chpt 1. Brief Orientation, questions and answers, introduction
Jan 12th Chpt 3. Anatomy and Functions of the Central Nervous System
Jan 17th Chpt 3. Anatomy and Functions of the Central Nervous System
Jan 19th Chpt 5. Research Methods in Biopsychology
Jan 24th Chpt 5. Research Methods in Biopsychology
Jan 26th Chpt 5. Research Methods in Biopsychology
Jan 31st Chpt 2. Evolution
Feb 2nd Chpt 2. Genetics of Behaviour
Feb 7th Chpt 4. Genetics of Behaviour
Feb 9th Chpt 4. Excitable cell membranes and the neuronal action potentials
Feb 14th First midterm exam
Feb 16th Chpt 4. Synapses and synaptic transmission
Feb 20-24th Winter Break: No Classes
Feb 28th Chpt 4. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of behavior
March 1st Chpt 4. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of behavior
March 6th Chpt 4 Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of behavior
March 8th Chpt 6,7.Visual system
March 13th Chpt 7. Visual system
March 15th Second midterm exam
March 20th Chpt 7. Visual system/Hearing, Touch, Pain
March 22nd Chpt 7. Hearing, Touch, Pain
March 27th Chpt 7. Smell, Taste
March 29th Chpt 8. Motor system
April 3rd Chpt 8. Motor system
April 5th Chpt 8. Motor system


There will be three written exam, plus the lab exam; the time of the Final exam is set by the university.

1st Midterm, worth 15 % Feb 14th in class
2nd Midterm (non-cumulative), worth 22.5 % March 15th in class
Final Exam (cumulative), worth 37.5 % April 12th (2:30-4:30pm); location TBA
Lab Exam, worth 25 % March 19th, 21st, 23rd. See lab outline.

The written exams may be:

a) a mix of multiple choice questions and short answer questions

b) entirely multiple choice

The lab exam will be a "bell ringer" type of exam. There will be several stations, each containing a brain with 8-10 numbered pins. Your job will be to identify the brain structures occupied by the pins and specify their main functions. You will have a certain number of minutes for each tray, and then you will progress to the next tray (as a bell rings). This is not as difficult as it might sound; you will be given ample opportunity to study and prepare for the exam, and there are not as many structures as there are pins because, in many cases, the same structure appears in different brain slices.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLEASE NOTE, AND READ CAREFULLY, THE FOLLOWING FIVE COMMUNICATIONS;
1) E-mail Communication
As per university regulations, all students are required to check their e-mail accounts regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the university and its students.
2) When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement...
When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor [or designated person] in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. Where possible, this should be done in advance of the missed work or event, but otherwise, just as soon as possible after the due date, and certainly no longer than one week later. Note: if appropriate documentation of your inability to meet that in-course requirement is necessary, the course instructor, or delegate, will request it of you. Such documentation will rarely be required for course components representing less than 10% of the course grade. Such documentation will be required, however, for Academic Consideration for missed end-of-term work and/or missed final examinations. See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration. (
3) Drop Date
The last date to drop one-semester Winter 2011 courses, without academic penalty, is Friday11th March. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar (
4) Copies of out-of-class assignments
Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.
5) Academic Misconduct
The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and enjoins all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. The University of Guelph takes a serious view of academic misconduct, and it is your responsibility as a student to be aware of and to abide by the University’s policy. Included in the definition of academic misconduct are such activities as cheating on examinations, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and submitting the same material in two different courses without written permission from the relevant instructors. To better understand your responsibilities, read the Undergraduate Calendar ( for a statement of Students’ Academic Responsibilities; also read the full Academic Misconduct Policy ( You are also advised to make use of the resources available through the Learning Commons ( and to discuss any questions you may have with your course instructor, TA, or academic counselor.

Instructors have the right to use software to aid in the detection of plagiarism or copying and to examine students orally on submitted work. For students found guilty of academic misconduct, serious penalties, up to and including suspension or expulsion, can be imposed. Hurried or careless submission of work does not exonerate students of responsibility for ensuring the academic integrity of their work. Similarly, students who find themselves unable to meet course requirements by the deadlines or criteria expected because of medical, psychological or compassionate circumstances should review the university’s regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration in the calendar ( and discuss their situation with the instructor and/or the program counselor or other academic counselor as appropriate.


Required Text:
J. P. Pinel (2002). Biopsychology. New York: Allyn and Bacon Fifth Edition
I will put a copy of the textbook on reserve in the library
There will be a Web CT site for the course.

Dates to Note:
Class Period: Jan 9th - Apr. 5th
Winter Break: Feb. 20th - 24th
Add Period: Dec 12th - Jan 13th
Drop Date: Mar. 09th (40th day)
Examination Period: Apr9th - 20th

Reading Assignments and Class Topics:
It is difficult to know how long each topic will take because this varies between classes. These are rough estimates.

Course Evaluation / Assessment:     Undergraduate Calendar - Section:VIII--Undergraduate Degree Regulations and ProceduresAcademic Misconduct Undergraduate Calendar - Section:VIII--Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures

Student Responsibilities:

NOTE: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.

The final binding course outline will be distributed during the first class of the semester.

Students currently enrolled in this course are required to access the designated printer icon above, for supplementary documents if listed below.

Statement Of Student Responsibilities
Students in all Psychology courses are required to read and adhere to the statements listed via the above link or via the
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES link on the Department of Psychology home page.

Questions regarding those responsibilities should be directed to the course instructor.