Biological Basis of Behavior – PSYC 750

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

Advanced exploration of the anatomical structures and physiological processes that determine behavior.  Focus on the structure and function of the vertebrate nervous system, the cellular basis of neuronal activities, the neural control of movement, the acquisition and processing of sensory information, and the biological bases of motivated behaviors and higher-order mental processes.




This course is designed to provide advanced exploration of the major concepts, theories, methodologies, and empirical findings in the field of behavioral neuroscience.  Students will develop the skills needed to design original scientific research and to communicate in the scientific community. Finally, students will learn to integrate basic and applied neuroscience theory and practice with a Biblical perspective and a Christ-centered approach to the role of researcher in professional psychology.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explore the physiological foundations of behavior, cognition, motivation and emotion.
  2. Evaluate current research in the field of neuroscience/biopsychology as it relates to real-world applications.
  3. Examine the scientific methods used by psychologists, neuroscientists and neurobiologists to investigate the complex relationship between the brain and behavior.
  4. Develop the skills needed to create original scientific research and to communicate in the scientific community.
  5. Examine a biblical worldview as it relates to critical issues surrounding topics of brain and behavior.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations (MLO’s A, B, C, D, E)

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to post an original thread of at least 450 words using course-related knowledge to address the assigned topic as well as to post replies of at least 250 words to two other classmates’ threads. Appropriate citations must be made in APA format. (MLO’s A, B, C, D, E)

Research Proposal

Throughout the course, the student will complete 5 cumulative writing assignments that are designed to guide him/her in composing a well-developed Research Proposal addressing an original scientific hypothesis concerning a research question in the field of behavioral neuroscience.  The 5 elements of the proposal must adhere to current APA formatting guidelines, and are described below. (MLO’s A, B, C, D)

Topic Paragraph

The student will write a current APA-formatted paragraph that provides a general idea of the research question that he/she intends to pursue in his/her Research Proposal. This paragraph will include a topic sentence, 3 to 5 sentences that represent supporting ideas, and a concluding sentence. At least 3 primary, peer-reviewed research articles must be cited.

Hypothesis and List of References

The student will write a formal scientific hypothesis that describes the question he/she intends to answer in his/her Research Proposal.  The student will also create a current APA-formatted title page and a working references page that contains the bibliographic information for 20–25 potential peer-reviewed, primary sources that directly address the proposed hypothesis/research question.

Outline of the Introduction

The student will write an outline of the Introduction section of his/her Research Proposal in order to provide a detailed, organizational plan for the information that will be covered in the Introduction of the final paper [i.e., state the problem under investigation, build a conceptual context in support of the hypothesis(es), and specify the design and the relevant hypothesis(es)]. While there are no specific formatting guidelines for presenting an outline in current APA style, the student will utilize all applicable current APA formatting elements (e.g., title page, running head, page numbers etc.) for this assignment. A current APA-formatted references page with at least 10-12 scholarly, peer-reviewed resources must be included.

Method Section

The student will write a draft of the Method section of his/her Research Proposal that includes the following elements: subjects/participants, apparatus/materials and procedure.  Students will describe their proposed methodology in sufficient detail so that readers can evaluate the adequacy of the methods and replicate the design of the research.  All elements of the Method section must adhere to current APA formatting guidelines.

Final Draft 

The student will write a 6–8-page Research Proposal that addresses an original, scientific research question in the field of behavioral neuroscience.  All elements of the Research Proposal must adhere to current APA formatting guidelines.  10 to 12 scholarly, peer-reviews resources must be included in the references page.

Virtual Conference Presentation and Discussion Board

The student will create a 5 to 7 minute narrated PowerPoint presentation that provides a comprehensive overview of his/her Research Proposal.  Next, the student will post his/her presentation in the Virtual Conference Discussion Board for the professor and his/her classmates to view.  Finally, each student will view his/her classmates’ presentations, and post replies of at least 250 words to two other classmates’ presentation threads that address the prompts identified in the assignment instructions.  The presentation will be graded based on its content, aesthetics, and adherence to current APA formatting guidelines.  The replies will be graded based on the criteria delineated in the associated grading rubric (MLO’s A, B, C, D, E)

Tests (8)

The student will complete 8 open-book/open-notes tests that will cover the Reading & Study material for the module/week in which it is assigned.  Each test will have a 1-hour time limit and will comprise some combination of multiple choice, true/false, identify, and/or short answer questions.  The tests are not cumulative in the sense that questions about previously covered chapters will not be asked, but the student may need to use material learned in a previous section to aid in understanding of subsequent information.  (MLO’s A, B, C, D)