last updated:

Feb 7, 2021

[Brain Image]    

PSY 340 Brain and Behavior

Class 01  Introduction to Biological Psychology (Outline)


Brain and  Behavior

Let's start with behavior

What behaviors do you expect of dogs because they are living creatures?

What other behaviors do you expect of dogs because they are dogs?

What other behaviors do you expect of humans because they are human?
(= How are dogs and humans different in their behaviors?)

1. All living creatures exist within a complex environment and must cope with that complex environment.

2. All living creatures have fundamental needs to stay alive & reproduce.

3. Each living creature copes with environments using their own kind of body

4. The bodies (including the brain and nervous systems) of each type of creature share many similarities because all creatures share similar challenges

5. BUT, each creature copes with environments (that is, BEHAVES) in ways that are specific and peculiar to that creature and its type of body.

The brains of dogs and human beings share many similarities, but also profound differences because brains are the fundamental means by which each type of multi-cellular living creature successfully interacts with the environment. We have no access to the environment directly except through the information our brains receive from the rest of the body.
  • We have brains in order to cope with the world.
  • For humans, the world is not only physical but highly social as well
  • Behaviors are the actions that the brain takes in order to cope.
Fundamentally, this course studies the ways in which the brain allows us to cope with the world by generating and modifying all the behaviors that we humans engage in on a daily basis.

What do you know about the brain and behavior already?

Let's explore how much you may already know about the brain and behavior by taking a short True/False quiz on 16 questions here. Please do NOT take this quiz until we are actually in class.

In light of how you answered the questionnaire, look over those answers that you got wrong.
  • Why might you have gotten a question wrong?
  • Some issues in the study of brain and behavior are complex and require special knowledge
  • But, there are also many beliefs that biological psychologists call "neuromyths." This term refers to commonly-held false beliefs about how the brain and the mind work.

What kinds of questions or challenges have I faced in practice that relate to biological psychology?

1. School/Clinical Psychologist

2. Priest/Counselor


  • What kinds of questions or concerns do you have? Do you have any experience of brain-behavior issues in family members or friends?

Practical Issues

1. Course Website: accessed via <http://web.lemoyne.edu/~hevern/>. Has links to everything in the course. Even easier:  www.hevern.com

2. Textbook

3. Syllabus

  • 4 tests, no quizzes
  • 5 absence limit: penalized if more, rewarded if perfect or near perfect
  • Extra credit options include (a) 1 book review to substitute for one bad test,  (b) up to three research experiences; and (c) perfect or near perfect attendance.
  • Attendance = C+; a higher participation grade requires that I actually hear your voice during the semester.

4. Course Schedule

5. Notes

A. Lecture Notes - Not everything will be there. You must also use the chapter outlines.

B. Vocabulary & Concept Lists - Will be distributed after chapters to help prepare for tests

C. 3-Ring Notebook - Very very strongly suggested. There will be about 260 pages of notes in this course.


This page was first posted January 18, 2005.