Body and Behaviour
Full course description
What causes jetlag? Why do you feel like having a cup of soup? How come smokers are so hooked on their cigarettes? These and other questions will be answered during the course Body and Behaviour. This course mainly studies biological explanations for behaviour based on themes such as sexuality, eating and drinking, sleeping and waking, medication, movement, and addiction. Knowledge of the biological basis of behaviour is essential for psychologists. The most important structure for explaining human behaviour is our brain. However, establishing a link between electrical and neurochemical activities in our brain to behaviour is no easy task. You need sound knowledge of neuroanatomy (how parts of the brain are in connection to one another), neurophysiology (how brain cells operate), and neurotransmission (how brain cells communicate). During the first few weeks of the course, special attention will be paid to the (further) development of this basic knowledge. Students will also learn that knowledge of the biological basis of human behaviour does not only come from research on humans, but also on animals. Finally, research methods used by psychologists to study the biological basis of behaviour will be touched upon. Today, psychologists are able to carefully study the structure and function of the brain using these methods. The most important methods will be discussed and the pros and cons will be compared.
- can reproduce the basic (neuro)anatomy and anatomical views and positions;
- can explain the function of a neuron and the foundations of neurotransmission;
- can provide definitions of the terms systems neuroscience and basic genetics;
- can explain the sensorimotor system and the reflex arc;
- can explain circadian rhythms and can connect concepts such as sleep and sleep stadia, hunger and thirst, homeostasis, hormones, and sexual development;
- can explain concepts, such as mechanisms of specific medication, conditioning, and addiction, based on their basic knowledge on neuroscience;
- understand that there are different research methods in neuroscience and know how these differ.