PSY 252 Mind, Brain, and Behavior
Overview of Course
Wherever you go, you go with your brain and thanks to your brain, since brains are made for movement. This is true at every second, even when you are motionless, or sleeping, since to keep you breathing and thinking, the brain has to spend an enormous amount of energy, around 20% of what your body requires. In this class, we will devote our attention to how the brain works, or, in other words, how the wet machinery inside your skull produces our behavior, sensations, perceptions and thoughts, our dreams and desires. Biological psychology studies the physiological, evolutionary, and developmental mechanisms of behavior with the objective of understanding the underpinnings of our mind. We will cover territory that touches from the miniature cells to entire cerebral networks and systems. We start our analysis with the presentation and discussion of some big topics like the mind-brain relationship, the genetics of behavior and evolution, and the use of animals in research. Then we examine the structure of the nervous system and its main working units: the neuron and the glia. With this basic knowledge, we can approach more complex matters like sexual behavior, emotions, learning and memory, language, and psychological disorders. In addition, during our explorations around the world, we will have the rare chance of watching common brain mechanisms in action, the elements that we share with all of humanity on our planet.