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February 1, 2021
PSY/BSC 340 Brain & Behavior
         Syllabus  Spring 2021

ďNeuroscience is by far the most exciting branch of science because the brain is the most fascinating object in the universe. Every human brain is different - the brain makes each human unique and defines who he or she is.Ē Stanley Prusiner (Nobel Prize Winner)

"Our kind of brain isnít the biggest in the animal kingdom, and itís not the best in any objective sense. But itís ours. Itís the source of our strengths and our foibles. It gives us our capacity to build civilizations and our capacity to tear down each other. It makes us simply, imperfectly, gloriously human.Ē Lisa Feldman Barrett (2020)

Summary of Major Points in Syllabus

Course Format
The course will be offered "at a distance" online via live Zoom sessions. The Zoom link for each class section can be found within the course's CANVAS page.

I will NOT require that you have your video on during Zoom. But, I strongly urge you to do so. Why? Three reasons: (1) teachers are better in doing their jobs when they can see the non-verbal cues in the faces of their students and can adjust their presentations accordingly; (2) there is research that shows that students learn better when there is a greater interaction between themselves and the teacher; and (3) by being visible to your classmates, students build up a greater sense of personal relationship with other students.

I WILL require that you use your actual name on the screen (and not your telephone number or some other ID).

Office Hours (ONLINE: See instructions below)
Direct contact with students outside of class time on Zoom will be either (a) via email if you wish to send me questions or concerns or (b) through face-to-face online meetings either in Zoom or, as I actually prefer, by FaceTime (FT). In general, I will be available after lunch on Tuesdays and Thursday and, after 3:50 pm, on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Required Textbook
Kalat, James W. (2019). Biological psychology (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/CENGAGE. (This is not the 12th/2016 edition)
Course Webpage
Everything related to this course will be found either on the PSY 340 webpage that can be accessed via my webpage at or at
Schedule & Assignments are all listed at
  • Chapter readings are listed in the right column and are due on the day of the assigned class
Lecture Notes: are available at or listed in Canvas for each day

I will be offered live via Zoom. You can access both the Zoom links and course notes in on the day the class is scheduled.

Components of Course
(% of final grade)
  • Four 1-period tests (each worth 22.5% of final grade)
  • Class Participation (10%) Attendance without active participation is equal to a participation grade of C+. Participation will involve making comments, asking questions, contributing examples via Discussion board on Canvas.

Class Attendance. 5 cut limit.

Extra Credit

  • One book report can substitute for one weak/poor test (see below)

Now, read the rest of the syllabus below

Faculty Webpage

Email Address

Office Hours
My faculty webpage: http://www.hevern.com


Office Hours

Direct contact with students outside of class time on Zoom will be either (a) via email if you wish to send me questions or concerns or (b) through face-to-face online meetings either in Zoom or, as I actually prefer, by FaceTime (FT). In general, I will be available after lunch on Tuesdays and Thursday and, after 3:50 pm, on Mondays and Wednesdays.

  • Using FaceTime (which I prefer if possible) and contacting me for a FT session via my email address:
  • Using email itself in which you and I can exchange in real time messages back and forth.
  • Using Zoom which I'm open to, but you'll need to specify a day/time via email so that I can set up the Zoom session
Required Text Kalat, James W. (2019). Biological psychology (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/CENGAGE. 
  • ISBN-10: 9781337408202 [ISBN-13: 978-1337408202]
  • Used copies of this book are widely available since it was actually first printed in 2018 and has been used for two years in schools.
Format of Course As I've previously told you in an email, this course is being offered at a distance (that is, online) but in real time (synchronously). As someone who is above 70 years old and lives with many other Jesuit priests even older, I am being as cautious as possible during this pandemic.

The link to each class section's ZOOM session can be found within CANVAS. You may want to bookmark that link since it will be the one that will be used for every one of our classes.

I will NOT require that you have your video on during Zoom. But, I strongly urge you to do so. Why? Three reasons: (1) teachers are better in doing their jobs when they can see the non-verbal cues in the faces of their students and can adjust their presentations accordingly; (2) there is research that shows that students learn better when there is a greater interaction between themselves and the teacher; and (3) by being visible to your classmates, students build up a greater sense of personal relationship with other students.

I WILL require that you use your actual name on the screen (and not your telephone number or some other ID).

Lecture Notes, Schedule, Syllabus. My complete lecture notes for each class and an outline of each lecture (or a PowerPoint presentation) will be posted online via my faculty webpage [ =] and all links will also be available within CANVAS. The class schedule and assigned readings are also found there. Finally I also include a copy of this syllabus in pdf form. Lecture notes will be available by the morning of the assigned class.

  • Obviously, because this is an online course, all students are expected to be able to access the course homepage and associated materials on the Internet.
  • A student's Le Moyne e-mail account is considered to be an official mechanism of communication between the school and a student. I will usually communicate to the class or to individual students outside of class time by means of e-mail messages. Hence, you should check your e-mail regularly (at least once a day).
  • I will try to respond to all student email messages within 24 hours. Occasionally, over weekends or during holidays, it may take me up to 48 hours to do so.
  • As I note above, I will regularly post outlines of my class lectures and more detailed lecture notes online at this link. Students do not have to download copies of these, but many students find that access to these notes helps them study for class and for examinations.
College COVID-19 Guidelines Though this course is being taught at a distance online, we faculty have been asked to alert students to the College's COVID-19 policies, particularly regarding behavior on campus, in buildings and classes. Here is a link to the formal College guidelines regarding COVID-19.


Catalog Course
A study of the relationship of the brain and body to behavior. Emphasis is on the central nervous system. Topics include neuroanatomy, neural cell processes, hemispheric functions, hormonal regulation of behavior, physiological mechanisms involved in attention, arousal and sleep, and the neural bases of emotions learning and memory and psychological disorders. Prerequisites: PSY 101 or permission of the instructor.

 Learning Objectives

This upper-level course is designed primarily for psychology majors as a general survey of psychology from the neuroscientific, physiological or biological perspective. It has been designed under the conviction that no psychologist can think of serving productively within the many specialties of the discipline over the next decades without a competent and broad understanding of the functioning of the central nervous system.

At the end of this course, students are expected to be able to demonstrate

  • a general understanding of the basic physiological structures and processes involving the human central nervous system;
  • a general understanding of several key topics and issues which currently serve to direct the research efforts of physiological psychologists including evolutionary psychology, brain plasticity, and the effect of damage to the nervous system in altering behavior; and
  • a general knowledge of the ways in which biological psychology offers explanations for or causal models of a range of human behaviors including receptive and expressive language functions, everyday activities such as sleep and eating, sexual development and sexual orientation, and mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.


 Requirements & Guidelines
Class Attendance
and Absences

Your are expected to participate in class by joining in each of the three weekly class lectures offered via Zoom.

What about absences, that is, your not participating in the class lecture?  When I hold my classes face-to-face, I give students the right to miss up to 5 classes ("cuts") before their grade is penalized. I will use that same standard in this distance course online. I will use the Zoom record of your viewing the class lectures both to record if you are "absent" and as a partial guide to your participation grade. I will begin "taking attendance" on Wednesday, Feb. 17, the middle of the  the second week of the semester.

If you miss 6 or more lectures (without a serious and compelling reason in my judgment), 10 points may be deducted for each of those missed classes. Examples of a serious & compelling reason for additional absences would be a documented visit to a physician's office or participation at a funeral. If you are absent from school to attend a funeral, you must file a notice with either the Dean's Office or the Campus Ministry Office and submit to me a letter or email with the name and address of the deceased and that person's relationship to you.

Observance of Religious Holidays
As provided in New York State Education Law Section 224-a, any student who is unable to register for class, attend class, or participate in any examination, study or classwork requirements on a particular day because of his or her religious beliefs is eligible for an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any missed examination, study, or classwork requirements, without penalties or additional fees. Students who require such an opportunity must contact the registrar (for registration) or their instructor (for examination, study or classwork requirements) at least two weeks in advance. A full copy of the College's policy on the observance of religious holidays can be found at either dean's office.

 Reading Assignments When you come to class, I expect that you will be prepared. This means that you will have completed the readings assigned for the class. Assignments are due on the first date indicated for each topic on the accompanying "Schedule of Classes and Assignments".

 Course Tests Four (4) summary examinations will be given in this course as noted on the accompanying "Schedule of Classes and Assignments". Each test will be worth 22.5% of your final grade. Absence from any exam without proof that attendance at that exam was extremely difficult or impossible will result in a grade of F for that examination. Ordinarily such proof would require authorization from the Dean of Students, a signed explanation by a physician, or the like. A "made-up" exam may include both a written and an oral section. Tests are only given on scheduled dates; there are no "early" tests.


The Le Moyne College Student Handbook describes a broad range of behavioral expectations and guidelines for students. You should be aware of the importance of ethical behavior as you begin the study of psychology.

Psychologists are expected to follow the guidelines of the American Psychological Association in regard to their professional conduct. These norms can be found online at <>.

 (1) Dealing with Personal Issues arising from class

This is an undergraduate course in biological psychology; you are not finishing a postdoctoral fellowship at Upstate Hospital's Neurology Service. Even though we will discuss many issues involving the relationship between the brain and behavior, you will not be in a position to "diagnose" the problems of another person (including yourself). Beware of the "Harvard Medical School Syndrome" which involves 1st year medical students who become convinced that they "have" any number of illnesses covered in their Introductory Pathology class.

If any material in this course evokes difficulties or unease in you, please feel free to consult me confidentially. It is conceivable that we may discuss medical or other materials which mirror what you may be experiencing in your own family. Perhaps, some family member faced an illness or problem in the past and you are still upset about this. Perhaps you yourself have faced the issue. I would like to be able to help you find ways of coping with such matters.

(2) Students with Personal Problems
Students who encounter personal problems of any kind, especially  problems that might affect their academic performance, are encouraged to contact the Wellness Center for Health  and Counseling ( The Center is  located in Romero Hall; appointments may be arranged by phone at 445-4195. The Center provides both individual and group counseling on a strictly confidential basis. The professional staff is also available on an emergency basis. When the Wellness Center is closed, for example, at night, the Le Moyne Security office (315-445-4444 or ext. 4444 on campus) can contact the professional staff for an emergency. 

(3) Disabilities or Special Needs Your access in this course is important. Any student who feels s/he may need an  accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss your specific needs. You should also meet with someone from Disability Support Services (DSS) about your disability and  accommodation needs. The DSS office is located on the first floor of the library (315-445-4118; This should take place within the first 2 weeks of the semester.

(4) Issues of Cheating and Plagiarism 

Cheating and lying are unacceptable at Le Moyne as stated clearly under "Academic Standards" in the Student Handbook. Plagiarism or cheating in any form is simply wrong. Please reread the section on "Academic Standards" in the Student Handbook to review what is meant by these terms.

Recall that plagiarism involves the submission of any thoughts or formulations of other people without their being cited or given credit for those thoughts/formulations. For this reason, in any written materials submitted to me:

  • You must put quote marks (" ") around any direct quotation of another person's writings and you must cite the source and page number (in APA format).
  • You must cite the source (in APA format) for any thoughts or, even, for ways of expression which you have changed "into your own words".
(5) Confidentiality and Sensitive Matters  It is possible that we may discuss materials in class that elicit autobiographical statements of some depth and sensitivity from a class member. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of classroom matters that involve another student who speaks about any personal experience or difficulty (unless that student openly gives you permission to break the confidence). Similarly, I should tell you that, to illustrate a point, I will make statements in class from time to time which involve my past contact with clients in my professional work. In all instances, such statements will disguise or otherwise alter the identity of that client so that, while the educational point of the statement will be true, some essential personal fact(s) about the client will be false. I will regularly distort descriptions of any past clients.

Components of Final Grade

Your grade in this course will be determined as a weighted average calculated from your performance on the following five evaluative components which add up to a total of 500 points.

  • Four hourly exams (each test's weight = 112.5 points, i.e., 22.5% of your grade)
  • Class Participation (= 50 points, i.e., 10% of your grade; see further below for grading criteria)
Because the actual work of a course sometimes changes or deviates from an original plan, I reserve the right to change, add, or drop, within reasonable bounds, any weight or grading component listed above. Such a change, addition, or elimination will apply to all members of a class section, not just to an individual.

 Conversion Criteria in Grading Your final grade will be based upon the following conversion criteria (as the sum of all of your work):

A  = 450-500 points
A- = 440-449 points
B+ = 415-449 points
B  = 400-414 points
B- = 390-399 points
C+= 365-389 points
C  = 350-364 points
C- = 340-349 points
D  = 315-339 points
F  = below 315 points

Class Participation and Discussions

What do I mean by participation? You demonstrate participation in ways such as the following:

  • regular attending class as described above (which, by itself, is only equal to a participation grade of C+)
  • during classes on Zoom, you ask may questions, give examples, raise objection, etc., either by raising your hand and speaking or via the "chat" feature.
  • contributing to small group discussions when I ask the class to use the "breakout rooms" in Zoom.
  • responding to the polls that I will regularly ask class
  • responding to short in-class quizzes that I will add to the lectures to be sure that you are paying attention.
  • by means of the Discussion area on Canvas, making comments, raising objections, or giving observations about topics in the course, particularly those which tie in the classroom material to "real world" problems, link current with past topics, or otherwise try to integrate the content of the course
  • by means of the Discussion area on Canvas, providing examples to support or challenge the issues talked about in class
  • dealing with other students and/or me in a respectful fashion
  • I will also count as participation your submitting questions or comments to me via email. Note that all email sent to me should have a Subject: line which begins with the number of the class, namely, "SUBJECT: PSY 340 xxxxx" where "xxxxx" tells me the content of the message.

In general, a participation grade of A- or A is given to students who make contributions (asking questions, making observations, etc.) in at least half the classes. A participation grade of B or B+ is given to students who make contributions at least once in every 5 to 6 classes. 

Privacy & Copyright
Both other students and I have an expectation that classroom discussions and presentations are meant only for class participants. We also have a reasonable expectation that students and the instructor will respect each others' privacy including, as noted earlier, maintaining confidentiality about personal matters discussed in class.

This course is being administered online. The college's policy is that students must receive written permission from an instructor before sharing or posting in any other location any recording of class lectures or distributing comments or discussion materials involving the instructor or any students in the class. The penalties for unauthorized recording, sharing, distribution or retention of materials may range up to expulsion from the college. Note that this policy is college-wide, that all my own class lectures and presentations are Copyright © 2021 by me, and that violation of this policy allows me to penalize an offender with a failing mark in the course.

 "Extra Credit"

Students can receive "extra credit" according to the following option

Option A: Substituting for One Low Exam Grade

Students may read one non-fiction book directly related to the issue of brain and behavior. Preference is given for the books of Dr. Oliver Sacks, Dr. Temple Grandin, or Dr. Alexander Luria. Until his death in 2015 Dr. Sacks was a famous neurologist who has worked with people with brain injury. He has written a number of books which are excellent adjunct readings to the materials of this course. In order to gain extra credit, you would be expected to read the book and write a 5 to 10 page book review (typed with according to APA standards as described here). See me if you elect to take this option. The grade on this option can then substitute for the lowest grade on any of the exams. The titles of the eligible books are

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Sacks)
  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Sacks)
  • An Anthropologist on Mars (Sacks)
  • The Island of the Colorblind (Sacks)
  • Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf (Sacks)
  • Awakenings (Sacks)
  • Migraine (Sacks)
  • The Mind's Eye (Sacks)
  • Hallucinations (Sacks)
  • Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism (Grandin)
  • Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Grandin)
  • The Mind of a Mnemonist (Luria)
  • The Man with a Shattered World (Luria)
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog [focuses on childhood trauma & abuse, loss, love, and brain development] (Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz)

For a more detailed description of what I want you to do for Option A, please go to this webpage/link

"Early Tests"  A test is never given before or in anticipation of its scheduled date.

Please Note... Students have the right to voice opinions contrary to those offered by the instructor and/or other students. Equally, a faculty member has the right - and the responsibility - to ensure that all academic discourse occurs in a context characterized by respect and civility. The accepted level of civility would not include attacks of a personal nature or statements denigrating another on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, national/regional origin or other such factors. Students who are not respectful, not civil, or disruptive in any way may be asked to leave the class.

Bias-Related Incidents Le Moyne College defines a bias-related incident as behavior that constitutes  an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the targeted personís race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, or disability. Bias-related incidents include, but are not limited to, non-threatening name calling and using degrading language or slurs that are directed  toward a person because of his or her membership or perceived membership in a protected class and that create a hostile environment for that person.

Students who believe they have experienced bias or discrimination are encouraged to report the incident. Please refer to Le Moyneís Bias-Related Incident Reporting webpage to submit a report and for further information.

Title IX Students who believe they have been harassed, discrimination against, or involved in sexual  violence should contact the Title IX Coordinator (315-445-4278) for information about campus resources and  support services, including confidential counseling services.
Le Moyne faculty are concerned about the well-being and development of our students and we are available to discuss your concerns.  As faculty, we are obligated to share information with the Collegeís Title IX coordinator to help ensure that the studentís safety and welfare are being addressed, consistent with the requirements of the law.  These disclosures include, but are not limited to, reports of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Please refer to Le Moyne's Sexual Misconduct Resources webpage for contact information and further details.