NSC 3361 Behavioral Neuroscience Spring 2007 Syllabus

Lecture Times:


Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 - 12:45PM


Lecture Location:


Hoblitzelle Hall 2.402






Dr. Michael P. Kilgard



Johnson Hall 4.304

     Office Hours:


Thursday 1:00 - 2:00PM & by appointment

     Office Phone:



     E-mail Address:


[email protected] 




Teaching Assistant:


Raniero Peru  (students A to K)

     Office Hours:


Green Hall 4.512 Tues & Thurs 10-11am

     E-mail Address:


[email protected]




Teaching Assistant:


Vikram Jakkamsetti (students L to Z)

     Office Hours:


Green Hall 4.604 Friday 4-5 PM


     E-mail Address:


[email protected]    






Undergraduate Teaching Assistants:

    Heather Horn  [email protected]    Tues and Thurs 2:30 – 3:30pm GR 3.420

    Ryen Maddox [email protected]    Mon and Wed 2:30-3:30pm FN 2.106



Product ImageTextbook
Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain (Third Edition)
By Mark F. Bear, Barry W. Connors, and Michael A. Paradiso
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2006

The textbook is available in both hardcover w/ CD and softcover. Either is fine.

Where to purchase: UTD Bookstore and Off-Campus Books (Campbell Rd.)



Course Content
The course is divided into three sections:

1) Foundations of the Nervous System 2) Functional Systems 3)The Brain and Behavior

The course begins with the study of nerve cells: their structure, the propagation of nerve impulses and transfer of information between nerve cells, the effects of drugs on this process, and the development of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. We also examine the overall structure of the nervous system and its development. We then move onto functional systems such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, balance, taste, and motor control. We will discuss how physical energy such as light is converted into neural signals, where these signals travel in the brain, and how they are processed. Finally, we will study motivation, language, attention, sleep, consciousness, mental illness, emotion, learning and memory. From this course, you should obtain a solid understanding of the basics of brain function and neuroscience.

 Student Learning Objectives:

After completing the course, students should be able to:          

1.1      Describe the importance of an multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the nervous system.

1.2      Describe how molecular, physiological, and behavioral studies have contributed to our understanding of the nervous system.

1.3      Integrate pathological findings from psychology and clinical neurology with basic scientific work in the neurosciences.

2.1      Identify and explain why research questions rather than methods ideally drive advances in the neurosciences.

3.1      Compare textbook, popular and peer-reviewed scholarly reports in the neurosciences.

5.1      Apply neuroscience concepts, theories, and research findings to issues in everyday life.

5.2      Identify appropriate applications of neuroscience knowledge in health, service, education, or business professions.

30.1   Describe how basic laws of nature relate to brain function. 

30.2   Set up neuroscience problems in feasible and solvable ways. 

30.3   Make reasoned arguments about major issues related to the nervous system.

Attendance and Readings
Your performance in this course will be greatly influenced by your attendance. Some material covered in lecture is not covered in the textbook. In order to help ensure attendance, occasional quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Therefore, don’t be late to lecture.


Exams (75%): There will be three exams during the course. Each exam will be worth 25% of your final grade and will cover the material from the third of the course preceding the exam. There will be no cumulative final exam. Material covered on the exams will be taken from the assigned readings and class lectures, as well as any additional material that may be provided. Exams will consist of 60 multiple choice questions.

Quizzes (25%): During the course of the semester, six quizzes will be given.  Quiz dates will be announced in the class prior to the quiz.  A quiz will only cover material presented in the lecture prior to the quiz.  Each quiz will consist of ten questions (multiple choice and true/false).  Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped and the remaining 5 will be used to calculate your total quiz grade.  As one quiz grade will be dropped, there is no make-up for a missed quiz.

Missed Exams: Missed exams may be made up only if you: 1) provide a valid excuse, and 2) notify the instructor BEFORE the exam.  Excuses must be accompanied by valid documentation (documentation that you sought medical assistance, a newspaper clipping of the obituary of your dead relative, or documentation from the police, AAA or an automotive garage that your car broke down).  Make-up exams will consist of short answer and essay-type questions.

Final Grades: Final grades will be based on the three exams and 5 quizzes. As this is an undergraduate course, pluses and minuses will be given in addition to letter grades. A final grade will be submitted for every student in the course. If you do not receive a final grade or an "NR", do not contact Dr. Kilgard. Please contact Kent Mecklenburg in Dean Buhrmester's office at x2360 (GR 4.528). Failure to receive a grade usually occurs when there is some question regarding your participation in psychology experiments.   A+ (98–100), A (92–97), A- (90–91), B+ (87–89), B (82–86), B- (80-81), C+ (77–79), C (72–76), C- (70–71), D (60–69), F (≤ 59)

Exam Reviews

Several days prior to each exam, the teaching assistants will hold review sessions to review material that will be included on the exam and answer any questions.  Attendance at these reviews is not required and new material will not be presented at these reviews.


Teaching Assistants

For routine questions outside of class, please use email to contact the undergraduate TA assigned to you (based on last name, see above), and contact your assigned graduate TA with more substantive questions.  All six teaching assistants will hold regular office hours and will give review sessions before each exam.  Although any of the TA’s will be happy to answer questions about course subject matter, only your assigned TA will give you information about your grades and assist you with any specific course concerns you may have.  As a result, you are encouraged to get to know the TA assigned to you by dropping by during their office hours and attending their review sessions.

Cell Phones, Pagers, Etc.
Cell phones and pagers have no place in class.  Please do not bring them to class or turn them off. Ringing cell phones will be answered by Dr. Kilgard. 


NSC 3361 Behavioral Neuroscience Spring 2007 Lecture and Reading Schedule




Lecture Topic


January 9


Introduction, Neurobiology of Autism

Chapter 1

January 11


Neurons and Glia

Chapter 2

January 16


Membrane Properties of Neurons

Chapter 3

January 18


The Action Potential

Chapter 4

January 23

Synaptic Transmission

Chapter 5

January 25


Synaptic Integration

Chapter 5

January 30


Neurotransmitter Systems

Chapter 6

February 1


Review Session


February 6


Exam 1


February 8


Structure of the Nervous System

Chapter 7

February 13


The Eye

Chapter 9

February 15


The Visual System

Chapter 10

February 20


Auditory and Vestibular Systems

Chapter 11

February 22


The Chemical Senses

Chapter 8

February 27


The Somatosensory System

Chapter 12

March 1


Review Session


March 13


Exam 2


March 15


Spinal Control of Movement

Chapter 13

March 20


Brain Control of Movement

Chapter 14

March 22


Chemical Control of Behavior

Chapter 15

March 27



Chapter 16

March 29


Sex and the Brain

Chapter 17

April 3



Chapter 18

April 5


Rhythms of the Brain (Sleep)

Chapter 19

April 10



Chapter 20

April 12


Wiring the Brain

Chapter 23

April 17


Learning and Memory

Chapter 25

April 19


Review Session


April 24


Exam 3 (11:30am)







Student Conduct & Discipline The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have rules and regulations for the orderly and efficient conduct of their business.  It is the responsibility of each student and each student organization to be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student conduct and activities.  General information on student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD publication, A to Z Guide, which is provided to all registered students each academic year.

The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and established due process.  Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System, Part 1, Chapter VI, Section 3, and in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures.  Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU 1.602, 972/883-6391).

A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship.  He or she is expected to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents’ Rules, university regulations, and administrative rules.  Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of conduct whether such conduct takes place on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also imposed for such conduct.

Academic Integrity  The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty.  Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work.

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts or omissions related to applications for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work or material that is not one’s own.  As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts:  cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or falsifying academic records.  Students suspected of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for details).  This course will use the resources of turnitin.com, which searches the web for possible plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

Email Use The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange.  The university encourages all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a UTD student account. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individual corresponding and the security of the transmitted information.  UTD furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T. Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts.

Withdrawal from Class The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any college-level courses. These dates and times are published in that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be followed. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend the class once you are enrolled.

Student Grievance Procedures  Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures.  In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of academic responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originates (hereafter called “the respondent”).  Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning grades and evaluations.  If the matter cannot be resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in writing to the respondent with a copy of the respondent’s School Dean.  If the matter is not resolved by the written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a written appeal to the School Dean.  If the grievance is not resolved by the School Dean’s decision, the student may make a written appeal to the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education, and the deal will appoint and convene an Academic Appeals Panel.  The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final.  The results of the academic appeals process will be distributed to all involved parties.  Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

Incomplete Grade Policy  As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for work unavoidably missed at the semester’s end and only if 70% of the course work has been completed.  An incomplete grade must be resolved within eight (8) weeks from the first day of the subsequent long semester.  If the required work to complete the course and to remove the incomplete grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of F.

Disability Services  The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to those of their non-disabled peers.  Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union.  Office hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is: The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22    PO Box 830688    Richardson, Texas 75083-0688    (972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY)

Essentially, the law requires that colleges and universities make those reasonable adjustments necessary to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability.  For example, it may be necessary to remove classroom prohibitions against tape recorders or animals (in the case of dog guides) for students who are blind.  Occasionally an assignment requirement may be substituted (for example, a research paper versus an oral presentation for a student who is hearing impaired).  Classes enrolled students with mobility impairments may have to be rescheduled in accessible facilities.  The college or university may need to provide special services such as registration, note-taking, or mobility assistance.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation.  Disability Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student has a disability and needs accommodations.  Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact the professor after class or during office hours.

Religious Holy Days  The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the travel to and observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated.

The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the absence, preferably in advance of the assignment.  The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the exam or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the length of the absence, up to a maximum of one week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student who fails to complete the exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment.

If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a religious holy day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the chief executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive officer or designee.

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.