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MPTUO1a: Introduction to Psychology
Weeks 3, 4 and 5 / Unit 3: Biopsychology

Behavioral Neuroscience. “The application of principles of biology to the study of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in humans and other animals.” [1]

 Required Reading


Biological Bases of Behavior

Structure and function of the nervous system in human and non-human animals

  • 1.1 Identify the major divisions and subdivisions of the human nervous system.
  • 1.2 Identify the parts of the neuron and describe the basic process of neural transmission.
  • 1.3 Differentiate between the structures and functions of the various parts of the central nervous system.
  • 1.4 Describe lateralization of brain functions.
  • 1.5 Discuss the mechanisms of and the importance of the plasticity of the nervous system.

Structure and function of the endocrine system

  • 2.1 Describe how the endocrine glands are linked to the nervous system.
  • 2.2 Describe the effects of hormones on behavior and mental processes.
  • 2.3 Describe hormone effects on the immune system.

The interaction between biological factors and experience

  • 3.1 Describe concepts in genetic transmission.
  • 3.2 Describe the interactive effects of heredity and environment.
  • 3.3 Explain how evolved tendencies influence behavior.

Methods and issues related to biological advances

  • 4.1 Identify tools used to study the nervous system.
  • 4.2 Describe advances made in neuroscience.
  • 4.3 Discuss issues related to scientific advances in neuroscience and genetics.


The relationship between conscious and unconscious processes

  • 1.1 Identify states of consciousness.
  • 1.2 Distinguish between processing which is conscious (i.e., explicit) and other processing which happens without conscious awareness (i.e., implicit).

Characteristics of sleep and theories that explain why we sleep and dream

  • 2.1 Describe the circadian rhythm and its relation to sleep.
  • 2.2 Describe the sleep cycle.
  • 2.3 Compare theories about the functions of sleep.
  • 2.4 Describe types of sleep disorders.
  • 2.5 Compare theories about the functions of dreams.

Categories of psychoactive drugs and their effects

  • 3.1 Characterize the major categories of psychoactive drugs and their effects.
  • 3.2 Describe how psychoactive drugs act at the synaptic level.
  • 3.3 Evaluate the biological and psychological effects of psychoactive drugs.
  • 3.4 Explain how culture and expectations influence the use and experience of drugs.

Other states of consciousness

  • 4.1 Describe meditation and relaxation and their effects.
  • 4.2 Describe hypnosis and controversies surrounding its nature and use.
  • 4.3 Describe flow states.

Sensation and Perception

The processes of sensation and perception

  • 1.1 Discuss processes of sensation and perception and how they interact.
  • 1.2 Explain the concepts of threshold and adaptation.

The capabilities and limitations of sensory processes

  • 2.1 List forms of physical energy for which humans and non-human animals do and do not have sensory receptors.
  • 2.2 Describe the visual sensory system.
  • 2.3 Describe the auditory sensory system.
  • 2.4 Describe other sensory systems, such as olfaction, gustation, and somesthesis (e.g., skin senses, kinesthesis, and vestibular sense).

Interaction of the person and the environment in determining perception

  • 3.1 Explain Gestalt principles of perception.
  • 3.2 Describe binocular and monocular depth cues.
  • 3.3 Describe the importance of perceptual constancies.
  • 3.4 Describe perceptual illusions.
  • 3.5 Describe the nature of attention.
  • 3.6 Explain how experiences and expectations influence perception.

Major Assignments and Deadlines


  1. Behavioral neuroscience. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 3, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_neuroscience
  2. Heffner, Dr. Christopher L. (2001, April 1). Psychology 101. All Psych. https://allpsych.com/psychology101/
  3. Dewey, Dr. Russell A. (2017). Psychology: An Introduction. Psych Web. https://www.psywww.com/intropsych/
  4. The American Psychological Association’s Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (APA TOPSS) course template.

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