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.
Type of Material:
The site can best be described reference material, although some of its components could be employed as tutorials.
This site may be used as a text, reference material, or supplemental material for a course on drugs or biological psychology.
Identify Major 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.
Evaluation and Observation
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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.