Drugs and Behaviour
If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.
1.0 CALENDAR DESCRIPTION
Survey of the major drugs of abuse, including, but not limited to alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates, stimulants, inhalants, sedative-hypnotics. For each drug there will be discussion of historical and current patterns of use and abuse, behavioral and psychological effects of both acute and chronic use, psychological processes involved in drug effects, neurochemical bases for action, and treatment issues.
3 lecture hours, 0.5 course
2.0 COURSE INFORMATION
Instructor: DR. RILEY HINSON
Office, Phone Number, Email: 7308 SSC 519-661-2111 EXT 84649 firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY, 2:00-2:30
Times and Location of Lectures: MONDAY 2:30-4:30
SSC 2050 BOTH DAYS
Website: There is an OWL site for this course. Access to this site is via your id name and password (this is typically your last name and the code involving a combination of numbers and upper and lower case letters). Important course information will be posted at the website, and this is the main method of communicating information to students. It is the student’s responsibility to check the web site regularly for important course information. If you miss a course component (test, make up test, etc) when the information for that course component has been posted on the web site, then you will receive a grade of zero (0) on that course component.
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.
Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.
There is no required text for the course. I will cover in lectures most of the material that will be on tests. A lot of material is presented in lecture, consequently I make a printed version of my lecture notes available if you wish to purchase them. Psychology 2020A Text Notes is available in the Graphics Building located at the foot of the hill leading to Saugeen Maitland residence. The text notes are NOT in the bookstore. You are not required to purchase these notes. We may not cover everything in these notes, and I may present material not in these notes during lecture (NOTE: Most of the pictures that I will be presenting in class are not in the Text Notes. You may take screen shots of any material during lectures. Any material presented in class may possibly be on tests), but the notes cover approximately 90% of what will be on tests.
Optional Text: Drugs, Behavior and Modern Society, 1st Canadian Edition (2015) by C.F. Levinthal and T. Hamilton is available in the book store if you would like a more traditional style textbook. This is an optional textbook, and you are not required to purchase it. This text covers much of the same material as in the Text Notes, but there is also a lot of material in the Text Notes that is not covered in this text. This text should be viewed as a supplemental text. You may buy it at your discretion.
4.0 COURSE OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the major drugs of use and abuse. These include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates, marijuana, sedatives, hallucinogens, stimulants, inhalants, steroids and other
miscellaneous drugs. The history of use of the different drugs will be presented. The current use of drugs will be described. The behavioral effects will be presented. Behavioral and biopsychological research aimed at identifying factors involved in drug use will also be discussed.
By the end of this course, the successful student should be able to
- recognize and identify major drugs of abuse when they are discussed texts, news, public forums
- recognize and identify major concepts related to drug addiction
- recognize and identify major experimental procedures related to the study of drug addiction
- compare, classify, and interpret information about drugs and drug addiction as presented in texts, news, media or public forums
4.1 STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
Student Learning Outcomes, Activities and Assessment
Course Learning Outcome
There will be three equally-weighted tests. Two will take place on Saturdays and will be 2 hour in length. The third will be scheduled by the registrar’s office. The tests will not be explicitly cumulative, although general principles introduced during earlier parts of the term will be relevant throughout the course. The tests will use multiple choice questions graded without a correction factor and true/false questions graded with a correction factor. The exact format of each test will be posted on OWL a few days before the actual test. I try to use as many MC questions as I can, but some material is best asked in a T/F format.
T/F questions will be graded as follows
Questions left unanswered will NOT be considered wrong, and thus you would not lose any marks for unanswered questions. However, the denominator in the calculation will always be the total number of T/F questions on the test regardless of how many questions you answer. Here are two illustrations of how this correction factor works.
For ease of presentation let’s just assume a test has 180 T/F questions (Most test will not have 180 questions since MC question take more time than T/F questions. Most test have about 150 questions, with maybe 60 being T/F and 90 being MC. NOTE: this is just general information and does not mean that tests are composed exactly like this. Again, the information will be posted on OWL before the test.) Imagine one student who feels that she knows 144 questions and does not have any idea about the remaining 36. She correctly answers the 144 questions and leaves the others blank. Her grade would be calculated as follows
Note that although she left 36 blank, the denominator remains 180---leaving questions blank does not change the denominator, it just means that cannot gain or lose any points in the numerator for blank questions. By leaving the 36 questions blank, she is saying that she does not have enough confidence in her knowledge of these questions to risk losing marks.
Now imagine another student who also feels she knows the answer to 144 questions but decides to guess at the other 36 questions. Let’s look at 3 scenarios: she gets all 36 correct, she gets all 36 wrong, or a more likely outcome since she is guessing, she gets 18 right and 18 wrong.
If she gets the 36 “unsure” questions correct, then she would have 180 correct and get 100%.
Here’s the calculation where she gets all 36 “unsure” questions wrong
Here’s the calculation where she gets 18 right and 18 wrong
Generally speaking, it is to the student’s advantage to guess as it is unlikely that you will miss every one of the guessed-at questions. However, the student is ultimately responsible for deciding whether to guess or not. So, in taking the tests you should obviously answer all questions about which you feel confident. You must then decide what to do about the questions about which you are uncertain. You may leave them blank, and you will neither get marks nor lose marks for unanswered questions, or you may try to answer them, and if they are correct you will get a mark, but if they are incorrect you will lose 0.3333 mark for each wrong answer.
In order to pass the course you MUST pass at least 2 of the 3 tests. Passing is an unrounded grade of 50%. Grades are not rounded, so any grade below 50.0% is a failing grade. If you fail 2 of the 3 tests, you will fail the course, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE AVERAGE OF THE 3 TESTS WOULD BE AND THIS WILL NOT BE WAIVED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS.
THE TESTING FORMAT AND MARKING SCHEME ARE FULLY EXPLAINED HERE AND ABSOLUTELY NO CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO ARGUMENTS THAT THE TESTING FORMAT OR MARKING SCHEME WERE NOT UNDERSTOOD. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TESTING FORMAT OR MARKING SCHEME SEE ME BY THE END OF THE FIRST WEEK OF CLASSES.
Here is some information on the grade distribution from previous years. This is for information purposes only and is not intended to suggest that this year’s class performance will be similar to last year’s: mean grade around71-72 with 30% A or A+ and 25% B.
Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:
70% 1000-level and 2000-level courses
72% 2190-2990 level courses
75% 3000-level courses
80% 4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/general/grades_undergrad.pdf ):
A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average
B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements
D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable
F below 50 Fail
---SEE BELOW UNDER 7.0
6.0 TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE
M September 11: Discussion of course outline and start of Introductory Concepts
W September 13: Introductory Concepts
M September 18: Introductory Concepts and Alcohol
W September 20: Alcohol
M September 25: Alcohol
W September 27: Alcohol
M October 2: Opiates
W October 4: Opiates
M October 9: NO CLASS
W October 11: NO CLASS
M October 16: Opiates
W October 18: Opiates
TEST 1 WILL BE ON SATURDAY, OCT. 21, 2:30 to 4:30 PM IN HSB 40 AND MAY INCLUDE ANY MATERIAL COVERED BY THE END OF THE CLASS ON OCTOBER 18
M October 23: Cannabis
W October 25: Cannabis
M October 30: Stimulants
W November 1: Stimulants
M November 6: Stimulants
W November 8: Caffeine
TEST 2 WILL BE ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2:30 to 4:30 PM IN NS1 AND MAY INCLUDE ANY MATERIAL COVERED FROM OCT. 23 THROUGH THE END OF THE NOV. 8 CLASS
M November 13: Sedative-Hypnotics
W November 15: Sedative-Hypnotics
M November 20: Sedative-Hypnotics and Inhalants
W November 22: Nicotine
M November 27: Nicotine and Hallucinogens
W November 29: Hallucinogens
M December 4: Hallucinogens
W December 6: Steroids
Final Exam Scheduled by Registrar (December 10-21)
8.0 STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES
Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf
As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and Turnitin.com http://www.turnitin.com
Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.
9.0 POLICY ON ACCOMMODATION FOR MEDICAL ILLNESS
Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:
Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:
10.0 OTHER INFORMATION
Office of the Registrar web site: http://registrar.uwo.ca
Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca
Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:
- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References
No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.
In the case of a missed test for any reason, the student must go to academic counseling in their faculty of registration. Academic counselling will contact me as to whether you are to be excused from missing a test. If academic counselling indicates you are to be excused, then you will be allowed to write a make up. If academic counselling does not support you having missed the test, you will be given a zero on the missed test. There will be only one make up date and you must write on that date, otherwise you will receive a zero for the missed test. If you write a test, the grade on the test will stand and you will not be allowed a rewrite, so if you feel that you have some legitimate reason for not taking the test, go to academic counselling before the test.
SOME ADVICE ON STUDYING FOR THIS COURSE
Much of the material in this course involves straightforward facts, e.g., the active component in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Because the material is largely straightforward facts, many students tend to study too little and when they do study, they study ineffectively. In order to get the highest grade you can in this course you must come to lectures and you must carefully read all the lecture material. If you fail to do either of these, you will not make a good grade in this course. But simply attending lectures and reading the material is not sufficient to achieve the best mark you can. I recommend the following steps.
- Take through notes during class. I do not ask a lot of questions on people’s names and dates and when I do, I tend to emphasize the importance of the name and date during lecture. However, there are many facts presented during every lecture. True/false questions are typically based on separate bits of factual information, so this is how I will make up the questions. You must know all the facts.
- Ideally, after a lecture you would immediately examine your notes to identify material that is unclear. During this time, you should try to recopy or reorganize your notes. If you have access to a word processor it would be ideal to type your notes. This would allow you to fill in missing information since it should still be fresh in your mind, and this is also a way of studying.
- If you could form a study group, of about 4 people, then you could use what students have found to be the most useful way of studying. Each member of the group makes up true/false questions as they review their notes (again ideally immediately after lecture). Each question is written on a separate 3 x 5 index card with the correct answer on the back if the question is false (this allows you to see what the right answer is). Ideally, your group could meet once a week and you could play a game in which some token prize is identified (e.g., a dinner, or movie pass, or maybe everybody contributes $5 to a pot) and questions are asked in some systematic fashion (e.g., clockwise) and the person who answers the most questions gets the prize. Even if you cannot form a group, you could make up questions yourself and subsequently use these like quiz cards. This strategy allows you to determine if you do, in fact, know all the factual information. Most often students simply read over the text and their notes, and this does not lead to good retention of information and consequently results in poor grades.
In studying, the goal should be to understand and remember the material, and NOT to “study” for a certain time or number of pages. Too often, students set the goal of a study session as to spend a certain amount of time or cover a certain number of pages, and this is ineffective. Instead you should strive to understand and retain material regardless of how long it takes or how little you cover in a study session. Also, do not wait until the day before the test to look at the notes.