New Features for the Third Edition

Students have told me that the narrative of the textbook is “packed,” and that skimming paragraphs is usually a recipe for disaster, as each sentence “counts.” In defense, I respond that we have so much to say and so little room to say it in that there is little space for “fluff.” At the same time, psychological science shows that spaced learning is superior to massed learning, so it is a good idea to provide regular breaks in the narrative to allow students to catch their breath and digest what they have read. We like to think of these breaks as cool stepping stones in the flow of lava.

One type of break that we used in the previous editions and continue here in the third is the use of interim summaries that include section summary points and review questions. Most also feature tables that pull together chunks of material in a way that makes it easy to learn. Any complex field like the neurosciences entails a bit of simple, rote memorization to form a foundation for later analysis and critical thinking. The more quickly we can bring students up to speed on the basics, the faster we can move onto higher levels of discussion.  Chapter summaries include thought questions designed to push students to think more actively and deeply about what they have read.

In addition to the interim and chapter summaries, each chapter of the third edition includes four types of features. We recognize that “boxing” material often encourages students to overlook content unless expressly instructed to read the boxes, but we trust instructors to use these in ways consistent with their personal style. Obviously, we hope that the content is sufficiently engaging that students will read the material regardless of “what’s on the test.”

Thinking Ethically

features introduce controversial, contemporary questions that require the students to use the information in the chapter in critical ways. Our students will graduate to become community leaders, and they need to be able to think ethically about future cultural choices related to the neurosciences.


Connecting to Research

features highlight either classic or very contemporary single studies in behavioral neuroscience. This provides students with a “soft” segue into the scholarly literature, which might otherwise seem somewhat intimidating. The feature emphasizes the type of critical thinking and creativity required to advance science.


Behavioral Neuroscience Goes to Work

features expose students to some of the many real-world career paths that relate to behavioral neuroscience. In my experience, many students are unaware of a number of these options. They love the material, but have no idea how they can meld this passion with their need to find employment.


Building Better Health

features provide an additional opportunity for students to think critically about behavioral neuroscience in the context of real-world health problems.