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NRSC 4032 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Instructor Contact:

Jerry W. Rudy


About the Course:

As a scientific enterprise, the field of learning and memory has existed for a little over 100 years. For about the first 80 years, this field was essentially the sole province of experimental/cognitive psychologists. However, in the last 25 years the methods and concepts of biology and its sub- discipline, neuroscience, have been increasingly applied to the study of learning and memory. Scientists working in this multidiscipline field have produced a staggering amount of information about where and how experience leaves its mark on the brain, and new discoveries are made every week. So, we now have an exciting field that can be called the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

I created this course to introduce you to the methods, facts and concepts that are central to this field. This was a challenging task because it requires the integration of psychological methods, facts, and theory with the methods, facts and concept of neuroscience. The primary goal of this field of science is to reduce personal experience to brain products. It is fundamentally about where and how the brain stores the wealth of experiences that make us what we are as individuals.

Required Texts:

The textbook, The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, is required and is the core of the course. It presents everything you need to know with the exception of a several supplements that cover new material presented in the lectures be The lectures are designed both to cover and amplify the material in the textbook. So the textbook and lectures are tightly coupled. One way in which the lectures amplify the text is by the use of animations that I created to bring to life some of the content presented in the textbook illustrations. Make sure you get the 2nd edition.

I have made PDFs of the PowerPoint lectures available on D2L These can be downloaded onto your computer and printed out. The recorded lectures however cannot be downloaded.


Reading Assignment: Memories are Made of This and Research Papers

5% or your final grade is based on the summaries of the Bourtchouladze book; Memories are Made of This. You will have to hand in a 1-page word summary of each chapter. Summaries will be graded pass/fail. Summaries should be sent to my email address,, as a word file. You should title you document file using your last name and assignment number. Thus, for the first assignment if your name is John Doe, your document should be titled Doe Assignment 1.doc. The assignment due dates are presented in the table below. The due dates for the assignments are in the table below.

5% of you grade will also be based on summaries of the 3 research papers. Instruction will be provided at a later date.

Table 1. Schedule for Reading Assignments

Assignment Material Due Date
1 Chapters 1 & 2 Jan 23
2 Chapters 3 & 4 Jan 28
3 Chapter 5 Feb 5
4 Research Paper 1 Feb 27
5 Research Paper 2 April 3
6 Research Paper 3 April 24


90% of you Final Grade will be determined by your performance on the 5 exams. The Schedule of exams is presented in the table below.

Table 2. Tentative Exam Schedule* and Values

Exams Material Date Value
1 Chapters 1-2 Jan 30-Feb 2 5%
2 Chapters 1-8 Feb 19-23 20%
3 Chapters 4-14 March 19-23 20%
4 Chapters 9-17 April 16-20 20%
Final All material May 4-7 25%


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Monday – Friday
7:30am to 4:30pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado