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Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


Introduction to Biopsychology (4 credits)

Psychology 230 - Fall 2010
Lecture: Mon & Wed 11:30 AM 1:00 PM, Room 1324 East Hall (Auditorium)
Professor Martin Sarter
Office: 4032 East Hall
Email:; Phone: 764-6392
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-3:00 PM, or by appointment
Course description:
The primary goal of Biopsychology is to establish relationships between brain systems or neuronal
mechanisms and behavioral or cognitive functions. Biopsychology integrates the methods and
research approaches of a wide variety of scientific disciplines, ranging from the cellular and molecular
neurosciences to the psychology of cognition and perception. Because of this interdisciplinary nature,
Biopsychology is an exciting but also a challenging science. This introductory course provides an indepth introduction to the themes of contemporary biopsychology (or Behavioral Neuroscience). The
first half of the course id designed to ensure that the student will gain a solid understanding of
neuronal architecture and neuronal information processing. The second half of the course focuses on
selected, specific topics. Students must register for the lecture and for one discussion/practicum
section. NOTE: This course is a prerequisite for many upper-level courses in Biopsychology.
READING: The recommended text for this course is Biological Psychology, by S.M. Breedlove, N.V.
Watson, and M.R. Rosenzweig. Sixth Edition, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-87893-324-2).
Lectures are based primarily from this text. However, test questions will be taken entirely from my
lectures and from the discussion sections. So, reading the book is recommended but not required.
You will be required to read papers for some discussion sections (see below). Lecture notes, syllabi,
and other class-related information can be found at the Psychology 230 CourseTools site (http://


Total number
of points:
% of overall

Discussion Section


Test 1

Test 2

Test 3


tomy quiz









see next page





The i>clicker Audience Response System (clickers) will be used regularly in this class. Clockers
allow rapid anonymous checks of how well students understand the material and they allow pop
quizzes that get scored. Collectively, they enhance the interactions between the students and the
instructor, specifically in large classes such as Psych 230. I expect that we will have quite a bit of
fun using this technology FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PSYCH 230.

Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


Effective with the Fall 2010 term, the College of LSA has adopted i>clicker as the replacement
system for Qwizdom. i>clicker devices will be available for purchase
from the Computer Showcase in the Michigan Union, Pierpont
Final Grading
Commons, as well as other locations. The cost for a new i>clicker is
$32. The cost for a web-clicker subscription is $25.

For this class you may purchase a clicker device or a 24-month webclicker subscription. The subscription service allows users to participate
in i>clicker polling by logging into the internet through a laptop,
smartphone or other Wi-Fi enabled mobile device.











Students can explore additional information about clickers at http://




i>clicker points: The clicker will be used in two major ways. In all
cases, I will project a slide with a test question and you have 10
seconds to respond. There will be two types of questions and recording
of results.








< 52

I will allow web clicker access in Psych 230. Web-clicker subscriptions

can not be shared with other students and are not eligible for the
semester-end buy back program.

(1) In most cases, I will record answers anonymously, meaning that

your individual response will not be recorded as I am only interested in
the ability of the class to answer, indicating to me whether or not a
concept was understood and whether I can proceed or not.

(2) Once or twice per lecture, I will announce that the upcoming quiz question will be scored and
will earn you points. In these cases, your individual response will be recorded. For these
questions, you will earn 1 point simply for responding, whether your response is correct or not.
For a correct answer you will receive an additional 4 points. (Example: Total number of scored
questions in the course: 50; total number of possible points: 250.)

We might find additional uses for this exciting tool.

Requesting alternate test dates: This should be avoided as much as possible. A request for an
alternate test date must be received by the instructor AT LEAST TWO WEEKS before the requested
absence. In the case of an immediate family or medical emergency, please contact me or your GSI
as soon as possible and provide appropriate documentation. Make-up tests will be in the form of oral
Additional resources and Individual requirements: Please contact me or your GSI if you have
special needs or experience difficulty with the course, would like to become involved in research, or
have other concerns. Do not postpone seeing me if you anticipate or experience difficulties with
the course. The sooner the better! I want everybody to get an A!
Academic Integrity: As a University of Michigan student, you are expected to uphold the highest
level of academic integrity. Any academic dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, or submitting
work that is not your own, will not be tolerated. Students suspected of academic dishonesty will be
reported to Academic Affairs and to the Dean's Office in accordance with university policy.

Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


Class schedule, topics, exams and other events



Readings in

Jan 5

Brain-behavior relationships and

reductionism in biopsychology; major
historical concepts in brain research

Chapter 1

Jan 10

Neuron doctrine, macroneuroanatomy,

cranial nerves

Chapter 2

Jan 12

Neurons, glial cells, cytoarchitecture,

cortical maps

Chapter 2

Jan 17

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - no


Jan 19

Axons, synapses, networks; ionic


Chapter 3

Jan 24

Membrane potentials and axon signal


Chapter 3

Jan 26

Synaptic transmission; ionotropic and

metabotropic receptors; postsynaptic

Chapter 3

Jan 31

Neurotransmitter synthesis, release,

drugs as receptor ligands

Chapter 4

Feb 2

Fundamentals of sensory information

processing (not on 1st exam)

Chapter 8

Feb 7


Feb 9

Introduction to the organization of the

visual system; retinal neurons and

Chapter 10

Feb 14

Retina-geniculate-striate pathway; V1
receptive field properties

Chapter 10

Feb 16

V1-V4, visual streams, and a quick

introduction to color vision

Chapter 10 and
pp. 561-569

Feb 21

Biological Rhythms and neuronal


Chapter 14

Feb 23

Organization and functions (?) of sleep

& dreaming; sleep disorders

Chapter 14

Feb 28

Spring break - no classes

March 2

Spring break - no classes

Discussion Section
Events & Deliverables

What is Plagiarism?
(relevant for Reaction
Brain Dissection Lab I.

Reaction Essay Due;

Brain Dissection Lab II.

Neuroanatomy Quiz

First Exam Review

Poster Clinic: group

formation; selection of
topic; design principles

Poster Presentations I

Poster Presentations II

Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011




Readings in

March 7

Introduction to Neuroendocrinology

Chapter 5

March 9

Neuronal and hormonal regulation of

reproductive behavior

Chapter 12

March 14

Sexual differentiation of the brain and

behavior; pheromones

Chapter 12

March 16

Basic neuronal learning: synaptic

plasticity, Hebbian rule, learning in
Aplysia (not on 2nd exam)

Chapter 17

March 21


March 23

Hippocampal long-term potentiation

Chapter 17

March 28

Cerebellar pathways for eye-blink


Chapter 17

March 30

Learning and memory, concepts and


Chapter 17

April 4

Neurobiology of attention

Chapter 18

April 6

Biopsychology of schizophrenia: a)
Searching for endophenotypes

Chapter 16

April 11

Biopsychology of schizophrenia: b)
Antipsychotic drugs: why and how do
they work, and what about cognitive

Chapter 16

April 13

Leftovers; if time permits: Hemispheric


Chapter 19

April 18

Third Exam Review, led by GSIs

April 25
4-6 pm

Third and Final Exam (not


Discussion Section
Events & Deliverables
How to visualize the
neurons, glia cells, fiber
tracts, and degenerating
neurons and fiber tracts

Second exam review

Organization and function

of the hippocampus

The latest on Henry

Gustav Mollison (papers
by Corkin etc).
Research in our
Department and by your

Introduction to the NIMH

Initiatives MATRICS/

Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


Attendance is mandatory for discussion sections.
Discussion sections are used for several purposes. In discussion section, your section leader will
supplement the lecture with additional details on a few topics that are especially interesting or
controversial (for example: neuronal bases of schizophrenia, biological/behavioral/cognitive functions
of REM sleep). Sheep brain dissection lab sessions as well as a immunostaining experiment will also
be part of the discussion section activities. GSIs will also assist in the preparation of the posters
The first 3 weeks of the discussion section will focus on neuroanatomy, including sheep brain
dissection; these materials form the basis of the Discussion Quiz. Led by your GSI, you will be able (in
small groups) to dissect a sheep brain and identify major brain regions and compare its structure to
that of a human brain. Participation in the dissection is optional but you will be expected to know
about brain structures and to be able to recognize them in the quiz. Your section leader will describe
discussion section activities in your first meeting.
Your discussion/tutorial section contributes a total of 30% to your final course grade. This part of your
grade is based on 3 sources:
1) A Reaction Essay (4 pages, double-spaced; 1 margins, 12 point font; max 10 references) on a
topic selected from the list below. The essay will be due in discussion section in the week of
September 19; please submit as a WORD file to your GSI). This essay is called reaction essay
because it should focus on your reaction to a particular and important biopsychological issue [worth
10% of your final grade].
Reaction Essay Topics (pick one):
1. Can complex psychological processes like thoughts, sensations, and emotions, completely be
reduced to neuronal mechanisms? Or do psychological processes have an irreducible property, which is
always left over, and is essentially different from a brain process?
2. Given obvious differences in brain size between primates and rodents, and obvious differences with
respect to various psychological capacities, does it make sense that an overwhelming amount of
research in biopsychology is conducted in rodents? (see p. 160 in Breedlove for a starting point for this
3. Comparisons between the structure and functions of brains and computers are made frequently and
spontaneously. How similar, if at all, are the architectures of conventional computers and brains? What
will it take, in fundamental terms, to build a computer that is as powerful as your brain?
4. Blindsight describes the residual ability of patients with damage to the primary cortex to locate moving
objects, without being aware of the presence of such objects. What does this phenomenon tell us
about the nature and neuronal basis of consciousness? (See p. 297 in Rosenzweig for a starting point)
Note: Some of these topics are popular subjects (for good reasons), and you will find discussions that
address these issues from various points of view, particularly on the web (some of them are quite
ludicrous). The reaction paper should reflect your reaction to one these topics, and you should
employ your rapidly expanding insights in biopsychology and the analysis of brain-behavior
relationships to discuss, in an informed and qualified manner, your particular viewpoint.

2) Discussion Quiz: This quiz concerns neuroanatomy as covered in the lectures and discussion
sections, and based on the brain dissection sessions.
3) Poster Project: Groups of 3 students each generate a poster in PowerPoint (a template will be
made available by the GSIs) on a biopsychological topic that will NOT be covered explicitly in class
(see Class schedule and topics below). A group can pick any biopsychological topic of interest and
use the textbook as a starting point for the poster. The poster should provide a concise introduction to
the subject, summarize contemporary research questions, and should make extensive use of graphics
to illustrate research techniques, findings, and major points of discussion. In Discussion Section the
groups will present their posters (each group gets 12 minutes, 4 minutes per group member). To allow
everybody to see the posters while being presented, students are encouraged to bring their laptops to
the meeting, share and upload posters (instructions provided by GSIs). All members of a group get

Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


the same score. Grading will be based on content, but the effective use of graphics and a clear
structure of the presentation will also contribute to the grade.
Note for sheep brain dissection sessions:
Here is a link to an NSF-funded, interactive sheep dissection guide:
Study this guide prior to and during the dissection session...
Discussion Instructors:
Jeremia Bertz
Office hours: Friday 1-2 PM 3rd Floor Terrace EH; or by appointment
Lawrence Own
Office hours: Tuesday 9-11 AM, Undergraduate Science Building (USB) Rm 4032; or by appointment
Lucy Ho
Office hours: Wednesday 1-2 PM; East Hall, Rm 4464; or by appointment
Kirsten Porter-Stransky
Office hours: Wednesday 1:30-2:30 PM; 3rd Floor Terrace EH; or by appointment


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09:00 AM
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01:00 PM


3088 EH
B239 EH
1096 EH
3088 EH
268 DENN
2866 EH
B239 EH
213 DENN
232 DENN
F 2866 EH
F 514 DENN
F 325 DENN


Psychology 230 Syllabus Winter 2011


How to ace this class/how to study for this class

Class slides will be posted on the web site prior to class (except for the anonymous and scored
quizzes for which youll need an i>clicker or web access to record your answers). These notes are
meant to serve as a general outline and are subject to change (updated versions will be uploaded
post hoc).
Class slides will form a sufficient basis for exams. Exam questions will test not so much your
familiarity with terms or factual knowledge, but rather your understanding of concepts, mechanisms,
and perspectives. For example, I would not ask you to know the membrane potential but rather what
would happen to the excitability of a neuron if sodium channels were not allowed to open while
potassium channels are open.
Limit your passive exposure to slides, book, notes.
Passive exposure, like reading and re-reading, browsing through slides, or listening to tapes,
prevents you from truly acquiring new terms and concepts; close the book, turn-down the monitor,
and give mini-talks about a figure, a paragraph, a sentence.
Research shows that passive scanning of slides and text, again and again, actually impairs test
performance. Active rehearsal, as soon as possible after the initial exposure to new material, most
effectively enhances test performance.
Active rehearsal: Inspect a figure or read a sentence, then close the source and answer these
questions (talk out loud): What does it mean? How does it work? Why is it important? What is the
point here?
Active rehearsal: Explain concepts and mechanisms to your roommate, your dog, or (least
rewarding case) the wall.
Active rehearsal: Use the new terms (there are lots of them), play with them, thereby network
the new information in your brain. Active rehearsal thats the trick.
Its like learning a new language you need to practice actively.
I thought I knew it all and I did
not have any questions. I cannot
understand why I got a C. This
statement summarizes the (limited)
outcome of a passive learning style. If
you actively think about something,
there are always questions.
The exam is near - will you
provide a study guide? Asking for
additional resources for passive
exposure? Not a good idea. You got
the slides, and you got the book. You
absolutely need nothing else. In fact,
you could do fine with the slides alone
- if you are able to cover the slide and
reconstruct it, talk about, ask
questions about, and so forth.
Active rehearsal: You know you do it right if it feels like hard work, makes you sweat and tired (at
least this is true for most of us, including myself).
Your grades will reflect your performance and not necessarily your effort. For information on the
biological basis of behavior, you will need to study every week and keep up with the material. Much
like Organic Chemistry (except that it is more fun), concepts build on one another and falling behind
early will create difficulties for you for the remainder of the term.