Course Offerings - Catalog 2012-13

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Behavioral Neuroscience

Division of Science and Mathematics

Behavioral neuroscience is a multidisciplinary science that encompasses a wide variety of scientific pursuits. The field is unified around the common goal of investigating and understanding the biological basis of behavior and cognition.
Centre's behavioral neuroscience curriculum includes a strong emphasis in psychology and biology with additional courses in chemistry and mathematics. Those students interested in the cellular mechanisms of behavior are encouraged to take courses in biochemistry and molecular biology to complement their major requirements. This multidisciplinary approach provides students with a broad foundation for understanding how behavior and thought processes are governed by neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychopharmacology.
The course work and research experiences behavioral neuroscience majors undertake include, but are not limited to, the following topics; human and animal behavior, brain-behavior interactions, nerve cell structure and function, chemical neurotransmission, the mechanisms of sensation and perception, and the neurological and behavioral effects of both therapeutic and recreational drugs. Overall students learn how fundamental concepts and principles in these areas are related to both normal and abnormal behavior.
Centre students that earn a behavioral neuroscience degree often pursue careers that require quantitative and analytical thinking and expertise in understanding human and animal behavior. They also are well prepared to pursue advanced graduate and/or professional training in neuroscience, psychology, human and/or veterinary medicine, pharmaceutical science, and animal research.


Melissa Burns-Cusato (chair fall), Brian Cusato (chair CentreTerm and spring), Stephanie Fabritius, Aaron Godlaski, KatieAnn Skogsberg


Chelsea Benham, Nathan Horrell

Recommendations for Students Planning to Major in BNS

Students contemplating a major in behavioral neuroscience (BNS) should take PSY 110 and BIO 110 in their first year. MAT 130 should be completed no later than the fall term of the sophomore year, and PSY 205 and BNS 210 should be taken during the fall and spring semesters of the sophomore year, respectively. BNS 295 and CHE 131 (or for qualified student, CHE 135) should be completed no later than spring of the sophomore year. Prospective BNS majors with specific graduate/professional school aspirations should consult with a member of the BNS faculty early in their academic career to determine the most appropriate course selection and scheduling options. Students interested in maximizing their professional school preparations should complete additional coursework beyond what is required in the categories above. In some cases, classes not included in these categories (e.g. BIO 350 and BIO 385) may be appropriate choices for students that have completed the necessary prerequisites. It is also recommended that BNS majors with professional school aspirations contact the appropriate pre-health career advisor sometime during their first year on campus. Access the health professions advisory committee's website for more details.

Requirements for the Major

Foundation Requirements: BIO 110, BNS 210 and 295 and 300, CHE 131 or 135, MAT 130, PSY 110 and 205;
Brain and Behavior courses (choose 3): BNS 315, BNS 330 or BIO 371 (not both), BNS 360, 370, 390, 450;
Psychology courses (choose 2): PSY 300, 305, 320 or 325 (not both), 370, 380;
Cell and Molecular courses (choose 2): BIO 210, BIO 225 and 350L, BIO 305, BMB 210, CHE 241;
Capstone (choose 1): BNS 350 or BNS 351 or BNS 500.

NOTE: A double major with Psychology is not permitted.

Requirements for the Minor

MAT 130;
BIO 110;
PSY 110;
PSY 205;
BNS 210, or PSY 210 and an additional BNS course numbered 300 or higher;
BNS 295 or 370;
Two additional courses selected from among the following: BNS 295*, 330 or 335 (not both), 360, 370*, 390, 450.
(* if not used above)

Behavioral Neuroscience Courses

BNS 210 Experimental Design: Behavioral Neuroscience (four credit hours)
A study of the critical components of behaioral neuroscience experiments with human and non-human subjects: literature review, experimental design, methodology, data analysis, data interpretation and research ethics. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: PSY 110 and 205.

BNS 250 Introduction to Research (one credit hour)
A course intended to provide first-years and sophomores with an opportunity to engage in research under the close supervision of faculty. Students gain the experience needed to successfully conduct independent research projects in BNS/PSY 350 and 351. Offered on a pass-unsatisfactory basis only. Prerequisite: By invitation.

BNS 295 Physiological Psychology (four credit hours)
An introduction to the biological basis of behavior. This course begins with a detailed study of anatomy and function of cells in the nervous system. These concepts are then used to understand the relationship between neural function and specific behaviors, including vision, sleep, reproduction, emotion, as well as neurological and psychological disorders. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: PSY 110; BIO 110 or NSC 120 is recommended.

BNS 300 Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience
Students will apply knowledge of neuroanatomy and neural function to make connections between behavior and underlying brain mechanisms. Emphasis will be placed on the methods used to elucidate neural control of movement, sensory systems, ingestive behavior attention, learning and memory, and language. Physiological and behavioral implications of a disordered brain also will be considered in depth. Prerequisite: BNS 295; BIO 110 or NSC 120 is recommended.

BNS 315 Health Psychology
An overview of the theory, research, and practice of health psychology from a biopsychosocial framework. Students will actively learn how psychological factors relate to both pathological and positive outcomes in physical health. Major themes will include the role of psychologists in the research and treatment of stress, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and nutrition, in integrative healthcare settings. Prerequisite: PSY 110; BIO 110 or NSC 120 is recommended.

BNS 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: PSY 110, and BIO 110 or NSC 120. BIO 225, BNS 210, and PSY 305 are recommended.

BNS 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. Research projects and seminar meetings are extended over two long terms. Prerequisite: BNS 210 and permission of the instructor of record and the faculty research supervisor.

BNS 351 Advanced Research Topics
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. Research projects must be completed within one long term. Prerequisite: BNS 210 and permission of the instructor of record and the faculty research supervisor.

BNS 360 Drugs, Brain, and Behavior
An exploration of psychopharmacology. The course covers the use and abuse of recreational, therapeutic, and experimental psychoactive substances. The behavioral effects of these drugs are related to the nervous system and other physiological processes. Topics include addiction, tolerance, and drug interactions for a wide range of psychoactive drugs. Prerequisite: BNS 295 or 370, or permission of the instructor.

BNS 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: PSY 110, and BIO 110 or NSC 120.

BNS 390 Human Neuropsychology
A comprehensive introduction to the field of neuropsychology. Topics include basic neuroanatomy, nueropsychological discorders related to memory, sensory and perceptual systems, motor movement and coordination, language and aphasia, mood and emotional discorders, and problems related to attention and executive control. Neural development, plasticity and degeneration are also discussed. Prerequisite: BIO 110, BNS 295 or 370 or permission of the instructor.

BNS 450 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. Conducted in Barbados.

BNS 500 Senior Seminar
An in-depth study of current research topics in behavioral neuroscience. Students read extensively from the primary literature, critically analyze published findings and the views expressed by their peers, lead and participate in class discussions, and present their research findings on a regular basis throughout the term. Prerequisite: senior BNS or PSY major or permission of the instructor.