Course Offerings | Psychobiology

Division of Science and Mathematics

Jack Thompson (chair), Michael Barton, Donald Brown, Mykol Hamilton, Brent White; student: Ashley Jagar

The Psychobiology Program assists students as they develop a thorough understanding and integration of key ideas, works, persons, events, and issues within the disciplines of psychology and biology. Students enhance their understanding of scientific psychobiology by developing their research skills in a variety of settings ranging from laboratory to independent research projects conducted in natural or controlled environments. In addition, students enrich their understanding of applied psychobiology through internships and course work. Finally, students strengthen and diversify their critical and creative thinking skills and their multidimensional communication skills in each of the above contexts.

The Psychobiology Program seeks to provide students with a thorough understanding of the biological bases of behavior, particularly neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuro-pharmacology. Second, the program seeks to provide students with effective research skills and experience in the critical analysis of research. Finally, the program seeks to provide students with the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the scientific enterprise as undergraduates through their own research.

The program provides students with a fine background for advanced training and work in both applied and scientific areas.

Requirements for the Major

BIO 110, PSY 110, CHE 131;
PYB 210;
MAT 130;
BMB 210 or BIO 210 or BIO 225 or PSY 220;
PYB 310, 320;
Two of PYB 330, 340, 350, 370;
One of PSY 310, 320, 370;
One of BMB 210*, BIO 210*, BIO 225*, BIO 320, BIO 370 (* if not used above).
Completion of senior tests as determined by the psychobiology program

NOTE: BIO 110, PSY 110, PYB 210, and MAT 130 should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.

Requirements for the Minor

MAT 130, PSY 110, PYB 210;
Four additional courses selected from among the following:
A. A maximum of two: BMB 210, BIO 210, BIO 225, PSY 220, PSY 380;
B. PYB courses numbered above 300.

Psychobiology Courses

PYB 210 Experimental Psychobiology (four credit hours)
A general introduction to research design and methodology employed in contemporary psychobiology. Emphasis is placed on the ethical and theoretical issues involved in conducting psychobiological research with human and nonhuman subjects. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110 or PSY 110 or NSC 110, 120. MAT 130 or the equivalent is strongly recommended.

PYB 310 General and Comparative Animal Physiology (four credit hours)
A study of the integrative function of animal organ systems with emphasis on the vertebrates. Adaptive physiological responses of organisms to environmental change is also considered. Prerequisite: BIO 110 or NSC 110, 120; PSY 110 and BMB 210 are recommended. (Also listed as BIO 350.)

PYB 320 Physiological Psychology (four credit hours)
An investigation of the physiologic correlates of behavior, including neuroanatomy and neurophysiology as they relate to such areas as learning, memory, perception, motivation, and cognition. Laboratory experience is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and PSY 110, or NSC 110, 120.

PYB 330 Animal Behavior
An examination of behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Behavior is studied as a product and a means of adaptation to ecological conditions. Emphasis is given to predatory action; predatory defense; foraging; and social behavior which includes sex, aggression, and communication. Consideration is also given to the application of ethological principles in the study of human behavior. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and PSY 110, or NSC 110, 120. BIO 225, PYB 210, and PSY 220 are recommended.

PYB 340 Emotion
An examination of the neural and neurohormonal correlates of emotional behaviors and emotional experiences. Emphasis is placed upon the similarity between the emotional behaviors of humans and other species and on the role of culture in determining both normal and abnormal human emotional experiences. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and PSY 110, or NSC 110, 120.

PYB 350 Advanced Research Topics (four credit hours)
Students meet in seminar format to discuss key problems of effective experimental research. Students also conduct a research project supervised by department faculty on an individual basis. Prerequisite: PYB 210 and permission of the instructor.

PYB 370 Sensation and Perception (four credit hours)
An examination of basic sensory and perceptual processes, including the structural and neurological bases of awareness and the role of cognitive processes in perception. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and PSY 110, or NSC 110, 120.

Special Topics Offered 1998-2001

PYB 15 Drugs, Brain and Behavior
An exploration of psychopharmacology, emphasizing the use and abuse of recreational, therapeutic, and experimental psychoactive substances. Course relates the behavioral effects of these drugs to the nervous system and other physiological processes. Topics include addiction, tolerance, and drug interactions for a wide range of psychoactive drugs.

PYB 45 Conservation Biology: Monkeys of Barbados
Selected topics in conservation biology are studied as they apply to the island context of Barbados. Field work employs basic methodological, observational, and analytical skills in a study of the Barbados green monkeys. The history and geography of the island provides cultural and physical contexts for conservation topics.

PYB 45 Research in Primate Behavior
Students define an appropriate research question and conduct systematic observations of the behavior of the Barbados green monkeys. These projects apply sampling techniques and statistical analyses common to behavioral research.