Brain and Behaviour I

PSYC 271/3.0


PSYC 271 is a course designed to introduce you to the field of Behavioural Neuroscience. This course initially focuses on the basics of how neurons function, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, behavioural neuroscience methods, genetics and evolution. This will be followed by an examination of the sensory and motor systems and finally, topics relevant to lateralization of function will be covered.

Please note that this course requires a considerable amount of memorization of scientific definitions and concepts.  If it has been some time since taking PSYC 100, it would be beneficial to go over the biopsychology section of your introductory psychology textbook, especially focusing on the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, before the course begins.

Biopsychology is very multidisciplinary and our body of knowledge comes from various fields of study, including physiological psychology, neuropsychology, neurology and neuroimmunology. By combining research ideas from all of these disciplines, a more complete picture of the brain is beginning to emerge. I say beginning because the brain is truly a challenge for scientists to understand, as its ability to evolve and adapt is so great. I believe understanding the brain and its role in behaviour is the ultimate challenge for science!

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  1. Summarize the foundations of biopsychology including evolution, neuroanatomy, and neuropharmacology.
  2. Describe the process of neural communication.
  3. Explain the neural mechanisms of learning and memory.
  4. Outline Primary research methods in biopsychology.
  5. Recall and recognize sensory processing in visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, and somatosensory systems. Relate motor system function to sensory processing in humans


Winter 2023
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


7.5% - Essay Part 1
15% - Essay Part 2
5% - Discussion Forum 1
5% - Discussion Forum 2
17.5% (3.5% each) - Bi-weekly Quizzes (best 5 of 6)
50% - Proctored Final Exam

Students must pass the final exam in order to pass the course.

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Proctored Exams

If a student is enrolled in ONLY online courses (section 700), they may choose either of the following options to write the exam:

  • Write the final exam online: you will write in onQ with Examity proctoring. A $100 online exam fee will be charged to your SOLUS account.  
  • Write the final exam in-person: you will write on Queen’s campus in Kingston. You will not be charged an extra fee to write on campus. 

If a student is enrolled in ANY in-person courses (section 001, 002, etc), you MUST write all your final exams in-person on Queen’s campus, including for an online course. You may not choose to write your exams online. 

Location and Timing of Final Examinations 

Once the exam schedule has been finalized the exam date will be posted on your SOLUS account. The exam dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates." Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted via SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should delay finalizing any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations.

Instructor Information

Dr. Hans Dringenberg (

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Course Notes

Students will obtain their lesson notes, assignments, and any supplementary material from the course onQ site beginning the first day of term.

Required Textbook

Available from the Queen's Campus Bookstore:

  • Biopsychology, 11th Edition, by John P.J. Pinel & Steven Barnes, with accompanying REVEL access

Time Commitment

A course such as this on campus would have three lecture hours per week. Students can expect to spend, on average, about 9-10 hours per week (120 hours per term) on the course.