PSYCH402: Neuropsychology

Course Syllabus for "PSYCH402: Neuropsychology"

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How does the brain function? How does it interact with the body in order to control and mediate behaviors and actions? Though psychologists have long studied these questions, the workings of the brain remain, in large part, a mystery. In this course, we will explore the field of psychology devoted to the pursuit of these questions: neuropsychology or the study of the structure and function of the brain as it relates to psychological processes. We will study significant findings in the field, noting that technological improvements have often enabled substantial advancements in field research. You may, for example, take MRIs or PET scans – devices used to diagnose medical problems – for granted, but these have only relatively recently enabled researchers to study the brain in greater detail. While a formal background in biology is not required for this course, you will find that neuropsychology relies heavily on the discipline. In fact, psychologists and biologists have often explored similar issues, though typically from vastly different perspectives. Accordingly, you may find supplemental biology materials useful if you are entirely unfamiliar with the brain and the nervous system. This course will begin with a brief history of neuropsychology. We will then study the nervous system and the structure of the brain, identifying its different lobes and cortices, before concluding with a discussion of how the brain provides us with higher functioning abilities (i.e., learning, remembering, and communicating).

Learning Outcomes

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

  • explain the development course of the science of neuropsychology;
  • describe the basic organization of the nervous system;
  • explain the mechanisms of communication within the nervous system;
  • explain the mechanisms of communication between the nervous system and other parts of the body;
  • describe historical and modern research techniques for investigating nervous system structure and function;
  • describe the basic operation of each of the five (5) primary sensory systems;
  • describe the basic operation of the motor system;
  • discuss the importance and role of asymmetry in cerebral structure and function;
  • describe the basic functions of each of the four (4) lobes of the cerebral cortex; and
  • discuss the neuropsychology of higher behavioral functions, such as language, emotion, learning, and consciousness.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:
√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    be competent in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.