Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation

Neuroscience

www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/neuroscience/

Advisers — Professors BERTRAND, ERDAL, HORNER, JACOBS (co-director); Associate Professor DRISCOLL (co-director); Assistant Professors DAUGHERTY, HUANG, KILLIAN 

The neurosciences investigate the development, organization, and function of the nervous system. The ultimate goal is to understand behavior in terms of underlying neural structure. Neuroscience at Colorado College is an interdisciplinary major, rather than an independent department or program. The major is a challenging undertaking with required courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology.

THE MAJOR — REQUIREMENTS:

Students wishing to major in neuroscience complete a minimum of 15 courses (16 units) across four different departments. Required courses are: PSYCHOLOGY 100 (or 101 or 111) Introductory Psychology; 202 Research Design; 297 Neuroscience I, 298 Neuroscience II; one 300-level Psychology core course (309 Social Psychology; 344 Cognition; 332 Learning and Adaptive Behavior; 362 Abnormal Psychology; or 374 Lifespan Developmental Psychology); and two of the following: 412 Neuropsychology; 417 Advanced Neuroscience Seminar; 420 Cognitive Neuroethology; 433 Neuropharmacology. BIOLOGY 131 Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology; 231 Genetics (or Chemistry 382 Biochemistry I). CHEMISTRY 107 General Chemistry I; 108 General Chemistry II; 250 Structures of Organic Molecules; 251 Reactions of Organic Molecules. MATHEMATICS 126 Calculus I. SPORT SCIENCE 206 Exercise Physiology (or 207 Human Anatomy).

Although they are not required, the following courses may useful for graduate study in Neuroscience: BY280 Population Genetics; BY332 Animal Behavior; BY 350 Advanced Genetic Analysis; BY356 Mathematical Models in Biology; BY366 Comparative Animal Physiology; BY380 Advanced Cell Biology; BY466 Developmental Biology; PC 141/142 Introductory Physics I, II (or PC 241/242 Introductory Classical Physics I, II); PC151 Biophysics: Physics and Living Things. Note that some of these courses have prerequisites that are not part of the neuroscience major requirements.

Note: Before a student can declare a major in neuroscience, s/he must first complete five of the above courses, two of which must be PY 297 Neuroscience I and PY298 Neuroscience II. 

In addition, students who wish to pursue graduate studies in the neurosciences are strongly encouraged to complete at least one block of relevant independent laboratory research under close faculty supervision from one of the following: PY 251/451–454; BY309/409; CH201/301/403. Note that such research projects must be conducted with one of the neuroscience advisers. If PY451-454 research is desired, the student must complete a proposal the academic year before the research is to be conducted. Proposal forms are available on the psychology webpage.

www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/neuroscience/

Advisers — Professors BERTRAND, ERDAL, HORNER, JACOBS (co-director);
Associate Professor DRISCOLL (co-director); Assistant Professors DAUGHERTY, HUANG, KILLIAN

The neurosciences investigate the development, organization, and function of the nervous system. The ultimate goal is to understand behavior in terms of underlying neural structure. Neuroscience at Colorado College is an interdisciplinary major, rather than an independent department or program. The major is a challenging undertaking with required courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology.

THE MAJOR — REQUIREMENTS:

Students wishing to major in neuroscience complete a minimum of 14 courses (16 units) across four different departments. Required courses are: PSYCHOLOGY 100 (or 101 or 111), Introductory Psychology; 202, Research Design; 299, Neuroscience; 344, Cognition (or 332, Learning and Adaptive Behavior, or 362, Abnormal Psychology); and two of the following: 412, Neuropsychology; 417 Advanced Neuroscience Seminar; 420, Cognitive Neuroethology; 433, Neuropharmacology. BIOLOGY 106, Biology of Animals; 131, Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology; 231, Genetics (or Chemistry 382, Biochemistry I). CHEMISTRY 107–108, General Chemistry I, II; 250, Structures of Organic Molecules; 251, Reactions of Organic Molecules. MATHEMATICS 126, Calculus I.

Although they are not required, PC141/142, Introductory Physics I, II (or PC241/242, Introductory Classical Physics I, II) is highly recommended, especially for students planning to attend medical school. In addition, the following courses may also be useful for graduate study in Neuroscience: BY280, Population Genetics; BY332, Animal Behavior; BY350, Advanced Genetic Analysis; BY356, Mathematical Models in Biology; BY366, Comparative Animal Physiology; BY380, Advanced Cell Biology; BY466, Developmental Biology; PC151, Biophysics: Physics and Living Things. Note that some of these courses have prerequisites that are not part of the neuroscience major requirements.

Students who wish to pursue graduate studies in the neurosciences are strongly encouraged to complete at least one block of relevant independent laboratory research under close faculty supervision from one of the following: PY451–454; BY309/409; CH201/301/403. Note that such research projects must be conducted with one of the neuroscience advisers. If the adviser is in the psychology department, the student must complete a proposal the academic year before the research is to be conducted. Proposal forms are available on the psychology webpage.

Note: Before a student can declare a major in neuroscience, s/he must first complete five of the above courses, one of which must be PY299, Neuroscience.

Psychology Courses

100 Introduction to Psychology: Bases of Behavior

Examination of psychological phenomena from biobehavioral and sociobehavioral perspectives. Contemporary issues in psychology such as intelligence, development, perception, learning, abnormal behavior, language, and social behavior are explored. Scientific methodology and its application to psychological phenomena are stressed. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) (No credit if taken after 101.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

1 unit —

101 Introduction to Psychology: Enduring Ideas and Present Principles

Psychological concepts traced from Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, through the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, to the 19th and 20th centuries. Current psychological data and theory, ranging from brain mechanisms to learning, motivation, cognition, personality and social psychology. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for the natural sciences.) (No credit if taken after 100.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement.

Prerequisite: No credit if taken after 100.

2 units —

107 Brain and Society

Explorations of the individual and society from a brain-based perspective. Humans are relatively large, hairless, social primates with large brains. This course explores how humans fit in the natural world and shape their social environment from a neutral-based perspective. Research from neuroscience, evolutionary, and behavioral biology is examined to provide scientific insight into topics such as social behavior, poltics, racism, religion, love, and psychiatric disorders. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

109 Social Psychology

(Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

111 Introduction to Psychology: General Laws and Individual Diff

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: First Year Experience Course.

2 units

116 Cultural Psychology

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: First Year Experience Course, Must take Anthropology 102 for credit.

1 unit

120 Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: Discovering the Unconscious

Major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. Emphasis on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Reading from such authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut, and Yalom.

Also listed as Comparative Literature 200 and Philosophy 262.

1 unit —

135 Introduction to Behavioral Game Theory

Whenever people make decisions that depend upon what others do or are expected to do, they are playing games. Game theory explores how people should play games in order to achieve the best outcome. However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making. This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why people fail to make optimal decisions. (Cannot be taken for credit after PY 435.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.

Also listed as Psychology 435.

1 unit —

143 Psychology of Gender

An examination of research and theory on psychological gender differences and similarities. This course will explore the ways in which gender is a system of meanings that operate at the individual, interactional, and cultural level to structure people's lives. Special attention is made to methodological issues, and to feminist critiques of traditional methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101 or 111 or consent of instructor.

1 unit

151 Readings in Psychology

Independent readings in areas of psychology with close faculty supervision; designed for non-majors.

Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.

1 unit —

160 Women & Madness

What does it mean to be 'mad'? Is madness in the eyes of the beholder? This course examines the concept of madness as it has been applied to women from historical, psychological, social and feminist perspectives. Our goal will be to critically examine the diagnostic criteria used by the psychiatric community and popular culture to define deviance. Using case material we will investigate the 'logic' of madness, asking to what extent madness might be a reasonable response to unreasonable conditions? The course will include a careful consideration of the rising use of psychopharmacology, particularly in the treatment of depression in women. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

178 Topics in Psychology:

Introduction to a problem of classic or contemporary interest covering source material in depth, and stressing history, theory and method.

1 unit —

181 Attitudes, Persuasion, and Social Influence

The goal of this course is to help us understand the psychology behind persuasion and social influence. Content will include topics such as: What is an attitude? How are attitudes formed? Under what conditions are attitudes changed (or remain resistant to changes)? How well does our behavior correspond to our attitudes? What effects do persuasion tactics have on our behavior? Students will learn about psychology theories, examine real life examples, and conduct research on persuasion. Students will also reflect on the role of persuasion in society and the ethics associated with using psychological research in applied settings such as in marketing and politics. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

183 Psychology of Environmental Conservation

Introduction to how psychological processes influence behaviors that help or hurt the environment, and how psychology can help encourage environmental conservation. Readings will be drawn from all areas of psychology. Investigates psychological theories relevant to environmental conservation and how to design research-based interventions to promote conservation. (Not offered 2013-14).

.5 unit

202 Research Design

Introduction to basic statistics and to research methods in the context of psychological research. Principles of experimental designs and analysis will be taught, especially the use and interpretation of inferential tests. Also included will be psychological topics that rely on correlation and linear regression, and principles of psychological testing. Students design, conduct, and write up their own experiment. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101 or 111.

1 or 2 units —

207 Measuring Individual Differences with Psychological Tests

The course introduces students to principles of psychological tests that are used in making decisions in educational, business, legal, and medical settings. Principles to be considered include test reliability, validity, ethics of assessment, and steps in developing psychological tests. Some specific aptitude, achievement, intelligence, and personality tests will be studied in addition to behavioral assessment. An aim of the course is to make students critical consumers of methods of psychological assessment. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: One of Biology 220, Economics 200, Mathematics 117, Psychology 202 or Sociology 228.

1 unit

251 Psychological Investigations:

Research in an area supervised by a faculty member. The project may be a review of the literature or a research apprenticeship with a faculty member.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Psychology 100 or 101.

1 unit —

270 Educational Psychology: The Science and Art of Teaching

Theory, research, and the reality of the everyday classroom are examined to evaluate important issues teachers face: cognitive development, social-emotional issues, motivation, sex roles, management of problematic classroom behaviors, skill enhancement for both teachers and students, and other topics of current controversy and interest. Enrollment is open to all students interested in the theory and practice of teaching. The course may be taken for graduate credit with consent of the Assistant Dean (AD) of the Summer Session (SS). (Cross listings: ED 321, PY 521, ED 521. Contact Charlotte Mendoza [cmendoza@ColoradoCollege. edu; ext. 6472] in the CC Department of Education for enrollment and consent information. For the AD of SS, contact summer@coloradocollege. edu). (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

281 Personality

This course will be an in-depth exploration into the lives and theories of a number of influential personality theorists. We will cover several theories from their earliest versions, through changes and modifications with time and research, in order to explore the process of theory-building with respect to understanding people. We will also delve into a number of scientific controversies surrounding personality. For example, what units shall be used to measure personality? Are humans more the product of their dispositions or of the situations in which they find themselves? Is the concept of the self useful and necessary? What is the unconscious? Why do or don't people change?

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101 or 111.

1 unit —

297 Neuroscience l

An introduction to the neural foundations of behavior. Explores the anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological underpinnings of topics such as development, movement, sensation, and cortical processing. Laboratory work emphasizes gross neuroanatomy, neurohistology, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101 or 111 or Biology 131 or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

298 Neuroscience ll

A direct extension of topics covered in Neuroscience I (PY297), with emphasis on integrative neural systems. Explores complex aspects of neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, motor systems, auditory systems, language, memory, emotions, and neuroplasticity. Laboratory work emphasizes comparative neuroanatomy and systems neuroscience. PY298 is designed to be taken immediately after completion of PY297.

Prerequisite: Psychology 297, Neuroscience I.

1 unit —

300 Topical Issues in Psychology:

Provides students with the opportunity to explore topical areas of psychology in depth, study the current literature, and conduct empirical research. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202.

.5 to 1 unit

309 Social Psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of the way people think, feel, and behave in social situations. Topics include attitudes and persuasion, conformity and obedience, social cognition, aggression, prejudice, self-justification, and attraction, with emphasis on critical thinking about integrating theory, research, and everyday situations. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202.

1 unit

318 Topical Issues in Neuroscience

This half-block course provides students with the opportunity to explore topical areas of neuroscience through current publications. These readings will consist of recent trade books, review articles, journal articles, and/or neuroscience information in the popular press. The course will be conducted in a seminar format with heavy emphasis on discussion of the relevant readings. May be repeated multiple times for credit. (Half block) 0.

Prerequisite: Psychology 299. Does NOT count toward Neuroscience major.

.5 unit —

332 Learning & Adaptive Behavior

Functional relations between animal and environment that defines learning. The course emphasizes the significance of behavior and plasticity in adaptation and concentrates on learning and how evolutionary processes affect learning. Experimental work involves a range of animals. Lecture, discussion and laboratory.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202 or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

344 Cognition

The process of knowing explored from an empirical perspective. Topics include remembering, thinking, categorizing, meaning, representing, problem solving, imaging, sensing, perceiving and acting. The course has a significant laboratory component of original research using human subjects.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202.

1 unit —

362 Abnormal Psychology

Surveys major psychological disorders as scientific as well as sociocultural constructs. Prevalence, assessment, causal factors, treatment approaches, and the legal and ethical implications of 'abnormality' are addressed.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101, 202.

1 unit —

363 Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology

An investigation into the efficacy claims of controversial assessment techniques, diagnoses, and forms of psychotherapy. Assessment of whether claims are empirically supported according to scientific as well as legal standards of evidence. The Commercialization of mental health treatments will also be addressed.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100. Psychology 362 recommended or consent of instructor.

.5 unit —

374 Lifespan Developmental Psychology

A research-based analysis of perspectives, issues, and influences on human development from conception to death. Content areas to be examined include aspects of cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. Course combines lecture, discussion and laboratory work.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202.

1 unit —

406 Topical Seminar:

For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest.

Prerequisite: Psychology 201, & 374 or 382.

1 unit —

407 Topical Seminar:

For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest.

Prerequisite: Psychology 201, & 374 or 382.

1 unit —

408 Topical Seminar:

For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202.

1 unit

409 Social Cognition

An examination of three important areas of social cognition: (1)basic cognitive processes such as automatic perception, and schematic versus controlled thinking; (2)stereotyping and prejudice from the perceivers' and targets' perspectives; (3) social cognitive processes related to culture, power and well-being. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or 101, 201, 332 or 344 or consent of instructor.

1 unit

412 Human Neuropsychology

An in-depth consideration of the functional organization of the human central nervous system. General topics explored include neurology (e. g., language, spatial memory, sensorimotor, and emotional disorders), brain imaging techniques, and neuropsychological assessment. Field experience with brain-damaged/impaired individuals.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202 & 299 or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

413 Developmental Psychopathology

An empirically-based survey of the prevalence, etiology, course and treatment of child and adolescent psychological disorders. Biological and sociocultural aspects of psychopathology are addressed and ethical implications of common treatment strategies are discussed. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 374 (362 or 299 recommended).

1 unit

417 Advanced Neuroscience Seminar

An in-depth, student-centered exploration of advanced issues in fundamental areas of neuroscience. Topics may include but are not limited to cellular and molecular neuroscience, nervous system development, sensory and motor systems, regulatory systems, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202 or Biology 220, Psychology 299 (Biology 210 recommended).

1 unit

420 Cognitive Neuroethology

This course provides an overview of cognitive ethology (the study of animal behavior/cognition in the natural environment), with a focus on the underlying neural structures and non-human animal communication systems. Several species will be examined, including, birds, non-human primates, elephants, and cetacea. In addition, the course will explore attempts to teach non-human animals human-based artificial languages.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 299, or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

421 Perception

A research based analysis of perceptual processes including vision, audition, the skin senses, pain, and the integration of these processes. Emphasis will be placed on psychophysical methods, experimental techniques used to investigate perception, and changes in perception over the lifespan. Lecture, discussion and laboratory. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202 or declared Art Major with at least 5 courses in Art or consent of instructor.

1 unit

422 Emotion

An in-depth exploration of the scientific research on emotion, paying particular attention to new theoretical frameworks, and new experimental investigations into the nature of emotional experience and expression.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 281 or 309, or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

423 Psychology of Morality and Conflict

This course will examine questions of morality, moral behavior and conflict in humans and non-humans from a wide variety of angles within psychology. We will place special emphasis on social psychology's efforts to unravel the causes and consequences of 'evil. ' Finally, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of a current area of moral and political conflict - capital punishment, abortion, global sustainability, etc. - in an effort to apply the lessons learned from psychology to its resolution. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 281 or 309.

1 unit

425 Depression

An examination of the etiology, course and treatment of affective disorders. Risk factors in the onset of depressive disorders are investigated, including biological and genetic contributions, environmental and familial factors, and individual differences or personality factors. Distinguishing features of the multiple forms of depression are examined, as well as differences in the prognosis and treatment of these various forms. The impact of depression on health, relationships and family systems, and cultural and gender issues in etiology and treatment are explored. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 362 or consent of instructor.

1 unit

426 Sport Psychology

An exploration of psychological variables that impact sport participation and behavior in sport settings. Applied, experimental, and clinical aspects of sport psychology are covered in a discussion-based format. Specific topics, which originate from core psychological principles, include but are not limited to sport-related motivation, superstition, and anxiety, the use of imagery and drugs, and how age, gender, race, and spectators impact sport. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 3 core courses in PY.

1 unit

427 Moral Reasoning in Context

This course is a community-based learning experience in which students examine the psychology of morality from developmental, social and clinical perspectives. Readings range from historical and philosophical renderings of morality to recent empirical investigations of moral development and prosocial behavior. A 6-8 hour/week internship combined with journal entries, short papers, and a final research paper provide opportunities for students to integrate psychological research as it is reflected in community practice. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 374 or 309.

1 unit

430 Adolescence

Is 'storm and stress' a normal part of adolescence? Is adolescence a discrete developmental stage or a social construction? This course examines the adolescent experience from theoretical, empirical, cross-cultural, and biographical perspectives. A case analysis approach is used to examine the implications of cognitive, socio-emotional and physical changes that occur during adolescence. The course investigates the nature of the adolescent passage in its typical and atypical forms and examines socio-cultural factors that contribute to healthy or maladaptive adolescent development.

Prerequisite: Psychology 362 or 374.

1 unit —

433 Neuropharmacology

Neuroscience is based on the premise that thoughts, sensations and actions are, at some level, encoded in chemical and electrical signals. This course explores central nervous system pharmacology at multiple levels, including the cellular and molecular bases of neurochemical signaling and its modulation, mechanisms of action of pharmacological agents on neurotransmitter system dynamics, and foundations of behavioral pharmacology. Having covered these fundamentals, the course explores current topics, including cellular models of learning and memory, pharmacology of neurological diseases and their treatment, and drug abuse and dependence.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 299.

1 unit —

435 Behavioral Game Theory

Game Theory is used in a variety of fields to explore how people (and other animals) should make decisions when the actions of others are involved in the outcome. Game theory can tell us the optimal solution in these kinds of interactions. However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making. This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why organisms fail to make optimal decisions. (Cannot be taken for credit after PY 135.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, and either 209, 332 or 344.

Also listed as Psychology 135.

1 unit —

437 Evolutionary Psychology

This course explores the impact of natural selection on human and animal behavior. It begins with an overview of evolutionary processes and covers such topics as: emotion, morality, mate selection, learning, altruism, parent-offspring interaction, ownership and irrationality. The course focuses on primary reading from Darwin through contemporary scholarship in biology and psychology. Critiques of this approach are also discussed. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202, 3 core courses in Psychology, or consent of instructor.

1 unit

449 History and Systems of Psychology

Modern and contemporary scientific issues as they pertain to psychology. Historical origins of these issues. Topics such as mathematical models, psychophysics, cognitive psychology, CNS theories, the logic of science and Gestalt theory discussed within the context of the correspondences between constructs and events. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Psychology 202 & 3 core courses in PY or consent of instructor.

1 unit

451 Final Project:

In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Psychology 202.

1 unit —

452 Final Project:

In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Psychology 202.

1 unit —

453 Final Project

In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Psychology 202.

1 unit —