Deric Bownds

Psychology, Anthropology, Neuroscience, and Zoology 619 - Spring 2004

Course Mechanics

The classes will be lecture/discussion. The text for the course is "The Biology of Mind - Origins and Structures of Mind, Brain, and Consciousness", M. Deric Bownds, Fitzgerald Science Press, 1999. Fitzgerald Press has folded, and Wiley Publications has taken over distribution. The discussion/lectures will proceed on the assumption that you have assimilated the assigned chapters and will not repeat their material except to deal with questions of comprehension and debate that they generate. The text draft on this website has detailed references not available in its printed version.

The course grade will be based on approximately seven pop quizzes on material covered either in lecture or the book and also seven brief essays (~ six pages in length) due every two weeks. Missed quizzes or late essays can not be made up. The quiz and essay with the lowest grade will be deleted to yield a total of twelve grades that will determine your course grade.

The essays are your presentation, commentary, critique or alternate version of topics from the book or lectures that interest you. Your own critical opinions are central. Don't worry about being encyclopedic. Make yourself the authority (for example, not "Dr. Bownds said....X, then said Y," but rather "X and Y are alternate ideas about.......I prefer Y because...."). Be sure to cite references that you use. Picture yourself as an independent scholar, co-learner, or collaborator in this course, not as a passive recipient of revealed knowledge. Imagine that you are trying to teach or explain the material to someone else.


Here are a few points to use in evaluating your work, as well as the work of others. (These are modified from comments Prof. Shena Rogers has developed for use in Psychology 225).

An unacceptable paper often only reports the work and ideas of others. The paper will have little organization. Sentences and paragraphs can be cut and moved elsewhere without altering the effectiveness of the text. There will be few if any generalizqation drawn, and no analyses of ideas, or analyses of the results of studies.

An OK paper will be similar to the unacceptable one in its organizational problems, but there will be evidence that you have tried to think or reflect about the ideas and finding that you encountered, to draw some inferences and generalization about them in a bottom-up way.

A good paper will show some use of your own ideas to organize and analyze the problems and literature. This is top-down, deductive reasoning. Organization may still be weak, with some obvious holes in the reasoning.

A very good paper will definitely show top-down (deductive) thinking. Your ideas will be central to the paper. There will be careful analyses of the problem and of the literature, breaking down the ideas, consideration of counter-arguments and so on. The paper will be tightly organized, with hardly a sentence out of place. All of this with some theory-building, abstract comparison of ideas, etc. is a definite A.

Grading Scale:

C = significant incomprehension of the material, difficulty in formulatingideas, reports only the work/ideas of others, little organization, sentences and paragraphs could be moved around without altering the effectiveness of the text, few generalizations if any are drawn, no analysis of ideas

B = reasonable rendition or rearrangement of ideas, writing paragraphs with content, expressed in student's own voice with a few points of commentary or analysis, evidence of reflection by the student, drawing some inferences, "getting it right."

A/B = effort to develop and critique a topic, perhaps use of outsidesources or definition of an interesting topic, use of some of your own ideas to organize and analyze the problem (top-down deductive reasoning).

A = clearly original thinking, proposals, critiques, clear deductive reasoning, student's ideas are central to the paper, careful analysis of the problem and the literature, breaking down the ideas, consideration of counterarguments, tightly organized, some theory building and abstract comparison of ideas.

You can send an email to everyone in the course (on course-related matters only!) at I will be using this address to send you information on the course.

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