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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Drugs, Brains and Behavior

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.8 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 14, 2004 by Psychology
Overview: As stated by the authors, "Most of the material that is included in the current
iteration of this textbook was previously published in hard copy (Hamilton, L.
W. & Timmons, C. R., Principles of Behavioral Pharmacology, Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1990)." This site offers an online version of a behavioral
pharmacology text and could be used as a course text for a course on drugs and
behavior or as a reference for any course addressing any aspect of the
interaction between neurochemistry, drugs (prescription and street), and
behavior.
Learning Goals: This text enhances student understanding of behavioral pharmacology. The
student will acquire a greater comprehension of the interaction between drugs,
behavior, and brain processes. It provides extensive information on drugs and
their effects.

Target Student Population: Upper division college students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A basic understanding of biological psychology would facilitate the
student's understanding of the material presented on this site. The site is
written for a college population.

Type of Material: The site can best be described reference material, although some of its
components could be employed as tutorials.
Recommended Uses: This site may be used as a text, reference material, or supplemental material
for a course on drugs or biological psychology.
Technical Requirements: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The chapters are well-organized and thorough. This online text covers very valid
and important information about the basics of psychopharmacology and explains
complex material in an accessible manner. The graphics are well-placed and do an
excellent job of illustrating the concepts addressed.
Concerns: The language used may be above the level of some college students. In addition,
some of the text needs updating in light of recent discoveries (such as the
finding that neurogenesis does occur in the human adult hippocampus).

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: An instructor could refer students to this site for further assistance on the
subjects covered. Alernatively, some of the chapters could be used as course
readings. The authors have used web technology to add functionality which would
make the site especially useful for students. The student can, for example,
instantly link to graphics from one chapter while reading from another, aiding
the student in seeing the connections between the different topics.
Concerns: Additional guidance and explanation from the instructor is probably necessary
for the student to fully understand the subject matter. It is unfortunate that
the authors did not include any form of online testing or incorporate animations
to illustrate concepts where appropriate. Although well-written and
well-organized, this is not an original or creative way to present the material.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: All links seemed active and the site is easy to navigate. The material is
explained well and when new concepts are presented, there is a link to the
chapter end glossary (which is also linked to an overall glossary).
Concerns: Some of the content is complex and the use of highly technical terms may
discourage students who are not intrinsically engaged by the subject matter.

Other Issues and Comments: Very nice - and very generous! I was pleased to see this readily available to
the public.