Robin McGovern


Course Descriptions and Objectives


Behavioral Neuroscience

Course Description: This course is intended as an introduction to the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. It is my hope that you will gain an appreciation for the biological basis of everyday behaviors, such as sleeping, thinking, moving, and learning. Additionally, you will learn about the physiological correlates of many psychological and neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia and drug addiction. The aim of the class is for students hoping to have careers in many different areas of psychology to gain an appreciation of the pervasive impact of physiological variables on psychological functioning.

Course Objectives:
After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Describe some of the various methods used to study the biological basis of behavior.
  • Use scientific terminology appropriately in reference to biology and behavior.
  • Identify the divisions of the brain and nervous system and describe their functions.
  • Describe the structure of neurons and how neural impulses are generated.
  • Describe the structure and functioning of synapses.
  • Identify the major neurotransmitters and discuss the impact of each on behavior.
  • Discuss the role of the brain and nervous system in health and disease.
  • Apply the principles of biopsychology to better understand behavior.
  • Discuss how biopsychological knowledge can be used to address a wide range of behavioral and physiological problems.
  • Demonstrate and describe proper care and handling of laboratory animals.
  • Discuss some of the ethical challenges of conducting research with animal models.
  • Develop further competency in accessing and understanding the primary literature in science fields.


Learning and Memory

Course Description: This course provides an analysis of the variety of mechanisms by which our behavior and our representations develop from experience. An integrated approach to the study of classical and instrumental conditioning, reinforcement and memory in animals and humans is used.

Course Objectives:
By the end of this course, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How big are the roles that learning and memory play in our everyday lives?
  • How do scientists study learning and memory?
  • What are the major forms of learning and memory in humans and animals?
  • What are the fundamental behavioral characteristics and components of different types of learning and memory?
  • What are the molecular and cellular processes of various types of learning and memory?
  • How can extraordinary abilities in various types of learning and memory be demonstrated in a clinical setting?



Contact Information
Department of Psychology
Westminster College
319 South Market Street
Hoyt Science Resources Center, Room 136
New Wilmington, PA 16172-0001
Phone: 724-946-7358
Fax: 724-946-6232