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University of Rhode Island — Psychology
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PSY 381 - Physiological Psychology
Course Information

Professor: Lisa Weyandt, Ph.D.
Semester: Fall, Spring
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Junior standing

Catalog Description: Physiological mechanisms operative in human behavior. Sensory, neural, endocrine, and response systems as related to sensation, perception, attention, emotions, motivations, and learning.

Course Goals & Outcomes

Physiological psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology that takes a biological approach to understanding behavior. Physiological psychologists, also referred to as "biopsychologists", study biological factors (e.g., genetic, neurological, endocrine, neurochemical) that underlie our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • Provide a definition of physiological psychology and explain how physiological psychology differs from other major areas within the field of psychology.
  • Describe the various methods used to study the biological bases of behavior.
  • Use appropriate scientific terminology when referring to physiological psychology and behavior.
  • Identify the main divisions and subdivisions of the brain and nervous system.
  • Describe the structures and associated functions of each structure contained with in the main brain divisions.
  • Describe the basic principles of the sensory and motor systems.
  • Describe the structure of neurons and how neural impulses are generated.
  • Identify the classes and subtypes of cells of the CNS and PNS and explain the function of each.
  • Explain the process of neurotransmission.
  • Describe major neurotransmitters and discuss the impact of each on behavior.
  • Explain the process of brain development.
  • Define plasticity.
  • Apply the principles of physiological psychology to better understand behavior, including clinical disorders.
  • Describe the principles involved in drug addiction and explain the mode of action of various drugs.
  • Explain lateralization.
  • Describe the nature and function of the endocrine/motivational systems as they relate to hunger, sexual behavior, sleep and dreaming.
Course Syllabus

Class Topics:

  • Overview and historical perspectives of biopsychology
  • Genetics and Neuroanatomy
  • Anatomy and Function of the Nervous System
  • Neurotransmission
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Drug Action and Substance Use Disorders
  • Movement
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Learning and Memory
About The Professor

Dr. Weyandt is a School Psychology Professor. Her research interests include the study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and young adults as well as the study of executive functions in clinical and nonclinical populations.

Reasons To Take This Course

This course meets the Psychology major requirement for a topics course. Majors are required to take 3 topics courses.

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