Brain, The: A User's Guide

The Brain: A User’s Guide is a course about how the brain works to produce behavior and mind. So, it is a neuroscience and behavior course for any student. In this UCO 1200 section we will: explore some basics of how the brain works and how this informs us about the nature of behavior and mind; talk about specific things the brain does like producing sensory experience and perception, emotion, learning and memory, creative and critical thinking, and a sense of self; and, learn how scientists study the brain, and present and justify ideas and theories. We’ll use a small selection of “readings” and texts that explore brain and mind. Students will be expected to generate a good question from the reading for most class periods, engage in discussion and some in-class work, write three or so short papers, and probably take a couple of exams. We will engage in a hands-on activity or two and make use of local visual and/or performing arts to enhance our discussions. There will be a course project designed to explore some aspect of how the brain works to produce behavior and/or mind.

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
119: TR 2:00-3:15pm
Fall 2023
Undergraduate Research

Mark Zrull

Mark Zrull is a professor in the Dept. of Psychology at Appalachian State University. In addition to teaching a first year seminar about the brain, which he loves to do, Dr. Zrull teaches courses in biological psychology, other areas of neuroscience, and assorted seminars exploring connections between neuroscience and other disciplines. He also spends lots of time collaborating with students in his behavioral neuroscience research lab. Dr. Zrull and his research team investigate the impact of environmental enrichment during adolescence on risk taking, preference, and recognition behavior as well as neural activity in relevant brain structures of rats. Mark typically collaborates with a number of undergraduates researchers and advises these and other students who often continue their training in neuroscience and related disciplines. In addition to teachers, lawyers, business people and working in many other professions, a number of his former students are now faculty, research scientists, or working in the health professions. Mark has also worked on projects that integrate aspects of undergraduates' residence life and academic experiences such as Community of Science Interest (a Residential Learning Community, RLC), being a Residence Hall Faculty Fellow, and most recently taking a lead role in the Brain Matters RLC. Dr. Zrull received his B.S. from Georgia State University and took his Ph.D. training in General Experimental Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison before joining the Appalachian State faculty in 1992.