Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation

The Neuroscience Course

Course Syllabus

Course Description

No, nor nowhere else but in your brain.  (Shakespeare,The Merry Wives of Windsor, IV, ii, 139)

Shakespeare was right--there is, in a sense, nothing that exists outside your brain. Almost all areas of psychology require at least a working knowledge of the brain. It is indeed doubtful if one can truly understand behavior without knowledge of the neural substrate that makes all behavior possible. Psychology 297-298: Neuroscience I and II provides you with an opportunity to learn about the basic structure and function of the human brain. The term neuroscience refers to investigations of the development, organization, and functioning of the nervous system.

Matriarch Neuron

In order to provide you a guided tour of the brain, the course follows primarily a lecture format with an extensive laboratory component designed to give you "hands on" experience with human tissue. Emphasis is placed on fundamental neurobiological principles, including an overview of the relevant neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and especially neuroanatomy (e.g., embryology and histology, sensory processing from the spinal cord/brain stem to thalamo- cortical systems, the cerebral hemispheres, the limbic system, etc.). For most of you, this will be the only course where you can obtain a good foundation in neural structure, and therefore the course is organized neuroanatomically.

Although the course does not assume any specialized scientific knowledge, it remains a challenging course, requiring the same commitment as would any study of a foreign language. Indeed, learning neurobiology means that you must learn the "language of the brain"; there is no getting around this. [see: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neuroroot.html] Without a core knowledge of the neural substrate, any subsequent discussion of function quickly loses contact with reality.

As noted recently by Damasio (1994):

. . .neuroanatomy is the fundamental discipline in neuroscience. . . .There can be no hope of understanding the many levels of brain function if we do not have a detailed knowledge of brain geography at multiple scales (p. 25).

The course should not be viewed as an end to itself, but rather as a window to a new perspective. The knowledge obtained in the course should both guide and constrain future thinking about issues related to the human brain and mind, be they in the linguistic, philosophical, psychological, social, or political domain. The course provides the tools with which you can continue your exploration of psychology, biology, and/or neuroscience. In fact, the knowledge of the brain you gain in this course will profoundly affect your perception and appreciation of everything you do.

Tutorial and Reference Links 

 

What is neuroscience?

Quiz yourself on tracts--highly recommended

 Very useful neuroanatomy website

Neuroanatomy tutorial--good overview

Neuroanatomy tutorial--very comprehensive

Brainmaps--wow!

Neuroscience terminology--Greek and Latin meanings

Another useful tutorial page--good place to begin with different topics

Quiz yourself on neuroanatomy

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Human Brain in MRI slices

Comparative Neuroanatomy

Neuroscience resource guide--links and databases and more

Auditory transduction--video

Brain overview

Comprehensive Neuroscience links and resources

General neuroscience tutorial

Summary of Brodmann's areas

Visual system--very comprehensive

Changing brains--how the brain develops

Virtual encycloportal about the brain

Interesting collection of neuroscience articles


Histology overview

How neurons work

Ion channels, resting membrane potential, action potential dynamics, and the synapse

Note: This Online Multitmedia Teaching Tool was developed by John Walsh, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California. The text and animations are a very nice review of some of the material covered in the Neurophysiology and Neuropharmacology lectures. To use the resource, follow the directions for creating a "guest" account.

Nernst equation etc.

Behavioral pharmacology, etc.

Pharmacology-1

Pharmacology-2

Medical pharmacology

Biochemical pathways

Fun: rats and drugs