Psych 3FA3

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

(Winter 1999)


Dr. Hongjin Sun, Room 415, Psychology Building, Ext. 24367,

Tutorial Leaders:

Dan Bosnyak, Ext. 24052,

Bin Xu, Ext. 22022,

Course description

This course will explore empirical and theoretical contributions to our understanding of the neural basis of learning and memory. The neural mechanisms will be discussed from several perspectives ranging from cognitive neuroscience to synaptic physiology. Students will be provided with some understanding of the rationale and methodology of a variety of strategies that are used in the investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory.

The course will start with a historical perspective and an overview of the multiple memory systems. This model emphasizes that memory is composed of multiple, separable systems that are associated with specific neurobiological substrates. A number of brain mechanisms subserving learning and memory will then be discussed at systems, cellular and molecular levels.

The lectures, in conjunction with the required and supplementary readings are meant to provide students with an overview of some of currently "hot" areas in the field and some basic tools for approaching the issues which form the core of the subject matter.

Topics to be covered and required readings

Custom courseware (a collection of required readings) is available from the Campus Bookstore. There is no single textbook that covers all the material in this course. But the following books or journals are useful resources as supplementary readings that are on reserve in Mills or Health Science Library.

Supplementary readings

Course format

Lectures, General Sciences Building 102

Monday & Wednesday: 11:30 - 12:20, Friday: 13:30 - 14:20


Assignment (20%)

Mid-term exam (1 hour): short answer format (30%)

Final exam (3 hours): short answer and essay format (50 %)

The exams will cover the lecture and required readings material.

The assignment will be to write a two page precis of one experimental paper published within the last five years that is relevant to the material covered in the course. The first page of the precis should summarize the paper (do not copy or paraphrase the abstract or any other part of the paper!), and the second page of the precis should discuss the relevance of the paper to the theoretical issue raised in the course.

Grades will be assigned according to the following conventional scheme:
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
77-79 B+
73-76 B
70-72 B-
67-69 C+
63-66 C
60-62 C-
57-59 D+
53-56 D
50-52 D-
0-49 F

The instructor reserves the right to adjust final marks up or down, on an individual basis, in the light of special circumstances and/or the individual's overall performance in the course.

Message from the Chair of Psychology

The instructor cannot be responsible for returning long distance calls from students. Any student wishing to reach an instructor is invited to e-mail the instructor.

Policy Reminder

Attention is drawn to the Statement on Academic Ethics and the Senate Resolutions on Academic Dishonesty as found in the Senate Policy Statements distributed at registration and available in the Senate Office. Any student who infringes one of these resolutions will be treated according to the published policy.

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