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Behavioral Neuroscience

The Neurobiology of Learning & Memory

(PSYC 222 Online) Fall 2011 Instructor
Matthew Campolattaro, PhD Dewey Hall 304 Office Hours: By Appointment Office Phone: 656-4705 E-mail:

Biopsychology (PSYC 121), Physiological Psychology (PSYC 221) or Instructors permission

Course Summary
This course will survey the fundamental concepts, facts and methodologies for examining how the brain learns and remembers information. Discussion will center on the molecular-, cellular- and neurobiological systems-level approaches that are used to investigate memory formation, retention and expression. Memory neuropathology will also be discussed.

Course Sections
Module 1 (Weeks 1-5) Memory and Synapses Module 2 (Weeks 6-10) Molecular Memory Module 3 (Weeks 11-15) Memory Systems

Learning Goals
Memories contain information about our past, help us engage in the present and plan for the future. The goal of this course is to gain an appreciation and understanding about the neurobiological basis of memory formation and expression.

Learning Outcomes
By the completion of this course students will: Know the cellular mechanisms that can strengthen synapses. Know the major molecules and brain areas (e.g., hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum, neocortex) that are involved in different forms of learning. Know how animal and human research is used to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms of learning. Understand how animal research is pivotal to unlocking the mysteries of brain function. Understand how to locate, summarize and integrate findings obtained from peer-reviewed publications. Be able to create and deliver a research presentation Be able to think critically about research

Blackboard Information
I will be using Blackboard to manage the course. The syllabus and basic information regarding the semester plan are available online. In addition, the supplemental readings will be made available. Weekly PowerPoint lectures will be made available Monday afternoon each week.

Rudy, J.W. (2008). The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Emperical Paper Readings Supplement papers will be made available on BB. You will need to participate in an online discussion of each paper. Ian J. Kirk, Nicolas A. McNair, Jeffrey P. Hamm, Wesley C. Clapp, Daniel H. Mathalon, Idil Cavus and Timothy J. Teyler. (2010). Long-term potentiation (LTP) of human sensory-evoked potentials. WIREs Cognitive Science, 1, 766-773. Takehara, K., Kawahara, S., and Kirino, Y. (2003). Time-dependent reorganization of the brain components underlying memory retention in trace eyeblink conditioning. The Journal of Neuroscience, 23(30), 9897-9905. Save, E. Cressant, A. Thinus-Blanc, C. T., and Poucet, B. (1998). Spatial firing of hippcampal place cells in blind rats. The Journal of Neuroscience, 18(5), 1818-1826. Medina, J. F., Repa, C. R., Mauk, M. D., & Ledoux, J. E. (2002). Parallels between cerebellum and amygdala-dependent conditioning. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3, 122-131.

I will post videos (or links to videos) that will introduce you to information related to the neurobiology of learning and memory.

Exam format will be some multiple-choice, fill-in and short essay. Exams will cover lectures, videos, assigned readings (i.e., Textbook and Papers), and online discussions. Exams are not cumulative in content per se, but are cumulative conceptually. Exams will be available on Blackboard from 6:00am to 11:59pm the day of exam. Exam dates are September 30, November 4, and December 7. You will have 1 hour 20 minutes to complete each exam and you must finish the exam in one sitting. Make-up exams must be arranged with me at least 48 hours prior to the exam. In the event of an illness, make-up exams will be administered only if a medical excuse is provided by the Deans office. If you have a medical condition that may interfere with taking an exam sometime in the semester, you must contact me in the first week of class to discuss it.

Term Paper
A term paper topic of your choice will be due midnight Sept 27 and Abstract + Bibliography due midnight on Oct 25. This can be on any topic NOT extensively covered in class or in the text and must be approved by me. Papers must be written in APA citation and reference format and cover the topic in a comprehensive manner. (Minimum: 8 pages, double space, 1" margin). You may use some information from the Web but the majority MUST come from research material published in standard scientific journals and texts. Be sure to reference all sources cited in the paper (minimum 8 references). Final paper is due midnight on Dec 14. Points (out of 120 points total) will be awarded based on the following criteria: 1. Quality and organization of your paper 40pts 2. Understanding of the topic 50 pts 3. Critical review and future directions 30 pts

You will be required to submit a PowerPoint presentation on your term paper topic. Your Powerpoint presentation should be 10-15 slides. Please do not copy and paste long passages of an article. You should include notes at the bottom of your slides for clarity and also a slide listing your references at the end. This presentation will help you with writing your final term paper. Presentations are due midnight on Nov 15. Points (out of 60 points total) will be awarded based on the following criteria: 1. Quality and organization of Powerpoint slides 20 pts 2. Understanding of the topic 25 pts 3. Critical review and future directions 15 pts

Student-Authored Exam Questions

Most weeks (= weeks 2-4, 6-9, 11-12 & 14) during the semester you will be required to author and submit TWO exam questions derived from the material covered that week. These can be multiple choice (with 5 choice options), short answer, or essay questions. You will also need to provide an answer for each question you submit. Quality, correctness, originally, and thoughtfulness of your question are important. Your lowest score will be dropped from grading. Up to 5 points will be award for each question you submit (= 10 points each week due). Outstanding questions worth 5 points; good questions worth 4 points; Fair questions worth 3 points; Poor questions worth 2 pts; No questions worth 0 points. Student-authored exam questions need to be submitted by midnight on the due date.

Late Policy
Late assignments will be accepted, however you will automatically lose 10% each day that the assignment is late. After 5 days late your assignment will continue to be worth up to half credit.

Course Grading Breakdown

Exams: 50% Term Paper with Presentation 30% -Abstract and Bibliography = 20pts - Presentation = 60pts -Final Term Paper = 120 pts Student-Authored Exam Questions: 10% Paper Reading Postings - 10%

Course Grading Scale

A+ A AB+ B B100% 93-99% 90-92% 87-89% 83-86% 80-82% C+ C CD+ D D77-79% 73-76% 70-73% 67-69% 63-66% 60-63% F <60%

Student Learning Accommodations

If you have a formal accommodation plan developed in conjunction with UVMs ACCESS Office or would like to discuss the supports that you need in order to learn well in this class, please contact me in the beginning of the semester. Adaptations and instructional supports are available through consultation with the instructor and the ACCESS Office. ACCESS Office: UVMs policy on disability certification and student support:

Religious Holidays
Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. If you need to miss class to observe a religious holiday, please submit the dates of your absence to me in writing by the end of the second full week of classes. You will be permitted to make up work within a mutually agreed-upon time.

Academic Integrity
The policy addresses plagiarism, fabrication, collusion, and cheating.

Grade Appeals
If you would like to contest a grade, please follow the procedures outlined in this policy:

For information on grading and GPA calculation, go to and click on Policies for an A-Z listing.

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities

FERPA Rights Disclosure

The purpose of this policy is to communicate the rights of students regarding access to, and privacy of their student educational records as provided for in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974.

Final exam policy

The University final exam policy outlines expectations during final exams and explains timing and process of examination period.

Course Schedule
Week 1 Dates & Topics Aug 29 Sep 2
Foundations & Fundamentals

Chapter Reading 1

# Lectures 1

Paper Reading



Term Paper

StudentAuthored Exam Questions

Sep 6 Sep 9
Synaptic Plasticity


Due Sep 9

Sep 12 Sep 16
Synapse Strength


2 Yes Post Due Sep 23

Due Sep 16

Sep 19 Sep 23
Calcium Signaling

Yes Exam 1 Sep 30 Yes Paper Topic Due Sep 27

Due Sep 23

Sep 26 Sep 30
Dendritic Spines

Oct 3 Oct 7
Study of Memory

Due Oct 7

Oct 10 Oct 14 7
Memory Formation

1 Yes Post Due Oct 21 Yes Abstract and Bibliography Due Oct 25 Exam 2 Nov 4 Yes Yes Post Due Nov 18 Presentation Due Nov 15

Due Oct 14

Oct 17 Oct 21 8
Memory Consolidation

Due Oct 21

Oct 24 Oct 28 9
Memory Modulation


Due Oct 28


Oct 31 Nov 4
Memory Retrieval



Nov 7 Nov 11
Hippocampus I


Due Nov 11


Nov 14 Nov 18
Hippocampus II


Due Nov 18


Nov 21- Nov 25

No Class

Thanksgiving Break!!!!!! Yes Post Due Dec 2


Nov 28 Dec 2
Emotional Memory


Yes Exam 3 Dec 7

Due Dec 2


Dec 5 Dec 7 Motor Memory


***Term Paper due December 14 by midnight