Psychophysiological Research Techniques




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  Psychophysiological Research Techniques

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Instructor: Richard A. Sherman, PhD

Concept:  This course is set at the depth and instructional level of a three credit post-licensure course and provides 45 hours of CE credit. It is intended for psychologists and other behavioral clinicians who have not had previous training in aspects of anatomy and physiology related to how the body and mind interact to control behavior and psychophysiological states.
            Each basic physical structure and organ system (including the nervous system) is discussed with regard to both anatomical structures and physiological functions as they change over time and in relation to both the external and internal environment. The main course objective is to provide the depth of knowledge behavioral clinicians require to understand the physical bases for psychophysiological problems and interventions. These must be understood before psychophysiologically oriented assessments and interventions can be effectively added to a behavioral clinician’s practice. The course is also intended to enhance communication with physicians and other medical professionals by providing common concepts, information, and vocabulary essential to understanding the discussion of medical disorders.
Clinicians having differing interests and patient populations take this course so it has been designed so you have slightly different materials available to you depending on what your interests are and the types of patients you see. The depth of knowledge you need on different topics depends on how the physiological bases of your patients’ problems relate to the types of assessments and interventions you provide. If you work in a setting where most of the patients have social interaction and anxiety problems rather than complex medical problems, the required text book will suffice to meet your needs. This level meets all requirements for BCIA certification. The lectures will provide sufficient medical material so you will recognize most of the physiological problems influencing your patients’ behaviors (hormones, respiration, senses, muscles, brain & nerve wiring, etc.). If you work in a setting where many of the patients have medical problems complicating their behavioral problems, or you are using biofeedback to treat medical / physiological problems, or you need to communicate with members of the medical community, understand results of medical tests, etc., an optional clinically oriented book has been provided for you to use in addition to the required book. If you are a health psychologist, a behavioral medicine specialist, or in a graduate program leading to one of these degrees, you should take this option. If you are doing muscular rehabilitation, working with people having muscular dysfunctions, or in a clinical psychophysiology graduate program or track, an optional book emphasizing kinesiology has also been provided.
You will learn by watching audiovisual lectures provided on the course web site or CDs, reading assignments both from materials provided on the course web site or CDs and one or more standard texts, watching a movie, and interacting extensively with the instructor via e-mail and, if you wish, by phone. You will answer short essay questions after each lecture rather than taking exams. Previous students have required between 45 and 95 hours of work (with a median of 65 hours) to complete this course. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Note to people primarily interested in EEG: Why we don't give a neuroanatomy- only basic course: The material on neuroanatomy you will learn in our A&P course and our EEG biofeedback / neurofeedback course provides the essential information you need to understand how brain structures and functions impact on EEG biofeedback. Of most importance, typical neuroanatomy courses do NOT include much of the crucial information you need to know about how hormones and other functions influence the brain and can overwhelm anything we do with neurofeedback. People who want more depth in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology should take our advanced psychoneurophysiology course.

Specific Course Objectives: As a result of taking this course, you should be able to:

  • Be able to discuss functional and structural bases of disorders.
  • Understand how the muscles function and contribute to functional disorders.       
  • Be able to discuss how immune dysfunction relates to functional disorders.                             
  • Be able to predict changes in functional disorders from changes in endocrine system function.

Relate pheromonal communication to behavioral changes.                  

  • Be able to describe genetic and environmental contributions to observed behaviors.

        6.    Have sufficient depth of knowledge of A&P to understand the psychophysiological bases of functional


Format:Home study supported by e-mail chats after each unit is completed. The course is divided into a series of units based on organ systems. You will progress through each unit by watching an introductory audiovisual lecture (on the course web site or CD) about an organ system followed by reading one or more chapters in the required book, text files on the course web site or CD, and, if you are using one or more of them, possibly in one of the optional books. After watching the lecture and reading the assigned material, you will answer a brief series of questions located in the review question file on the course web site or CD. The answered questions are then e-mailed to the instructor. You and the instructor will discuss each unit via e-mail or phone after your answers are assessed. You do not have to wait for the discussion to proceed to the succeeding lecture & chapters. You are more than welcome to spend extra time with the instructor discussing topics related to the course and biofeedback in general. The cost of the texts is not included in the course fee.
Accessibility: Hearing impaired people can view the slides only as virtually all of the material presented in the lectures is typed onto the slides. Visually impaired people can concentrate on the verbal lectures as the slide material is repeated in the lecture accompanying each slide.

Computer and Computer Knowledge Requirements:  Anybody with a modern computer and a bit of basic understanding of computer operation (at the level of being able to send e-mails) can play this course with minimal problems. You must have a computer (a) capable of connecting to the internet and running a typical internet program, (b) containing/running a modern word processor such as Microsoft word or Word Perfect, (c) the capability to play sounds such as music (has speakers and appropriate software which normally come with any modern computer), and (d) a slide viewing program such as Power Point (you can probably get a slide viewing program free off the internet if you don’t have one). Any modern (e.g., built within the last ten years), IBM style computer running Windows 98 and more recent platforms (e.g., XP or Windows 8) should be able to do this. Speed, hard disk size, and RAM are not factors for computers in the above category.
             Dozens of students have used recent Apple products (MACs etc.) for the course however they frequently have more difficulty playing the course materials than PC users do.
If you are using a MAC type of computer, you must have a current version of “quicktime”. If you do not have it, you can download it for free from the web.


Required Text:  (The cost of the text(s) is not included in the course fee.)


Elaine Marieb: Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology, either the 10th edition (ISBN 10: 0-321-69598-4), 2012 or the soft cover 9th edition (ISBN 10: 0-321-51342-8), 2009. There is also a much less expensive e-book version. A used copy of the soft-cover 8th edition will do if you can get it. Published by Benjamin/Cummings Science Publishers / Addison Wesley Longman of New York. The book comes with a CD but this is not to be confused with the audiovisual lecture CD discussed above. Do not get Marieb’s “Human Anatomy and Physiology” book (without “essentials” in the title) as this is a different book.

Optional Texts:
1. Gary Thibodeau and  Kevin Patton: The Human Body in Health and Disease, either the 3rd edition (ISBN  0-323-01338-4 - soft cover), 2002 or the 4th edition (ISBN 0-323-03162-5) 2005. Published by Mosby (Elsevier Science) of St. Louis, Missouri. This book is important if you assess and treat medical conditions, work in a medical setting, or are taking graduate training in health psychology or behavioral medicine.

2. Clinical Kinesiology for Physical Therapy Assistants, Third Edition by Lynn Lippert; F.A. Davis Company of Philadelphia, 2000.  ISBN 0836-0453x . This book is important if you plan to record moving subjects, work with musculoskeletal rehabilitation patients, or are in a graduate school psychophysiology track or program.


Faculty: The course is given by Dr. Richard Sherman, Ph.D.  He is certified by BCIA, approved by BCIA to teach the general biofeedback certification course, and currently teaches A&P, Pelvic floor disorders, pain, and other courses. He is a professional psychophysiologist with extensive training (his Ph.D. is in biology & psychology), has nearly 30 years of experience in the field, and has published over 130 books, chapters, and articles (mostly in peer reviewed journals). Dr. Sherman is Director of the psychophysiology doctoral specialization at Saybrook University and has held many positions within the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback including president. Full CV available upon request and on the course web site.

Topic Outline:
            (All readings in the Thibodeau - Patton and Lippert books are optional.)

1.  Concepts and Overview of the Body’s Organization + First Thoughts About Disease
            (About two hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
Audiovisual lecture:  Why you need to know A & P to perform psychophysiological
 assessments and interventions – and what you miss if you don’t know it.
MS Word Text file on your CD entitled “A&P Basic Concepts of Disease”.
Marieb book Chapter 1: Structural organization, atoms to organisms, overview of organ
            systems, what is life and what is needed, homeostasis, descriptive terminology
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd  Edition Chapters 1, 3, and 4 / 4th Edition 1,3, 4, and 5: Structure vs.            function, Organ systems; first look at disease mechanisms. NOTE: See the     appendices for examples of pathological conditions, medical terminology,        clinical             and laboratory values, and common abbreviations and symbols.
Lippert book Chapter 1: Descriptive terminology, types of motion, joint movements

2. Basic Chemistry:
 (About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
Audiovisual lecture: The basics of atoms and ions, the body as a bag of ions, body
 generated electromagnetic fields and behavior, recording the body’s electricity
Marieb book Chapter 2: Basic chemistry, matter and energy, composition of matter,
 molecules and compounds, chemic bonds and reactions, biochemistry – inorganic
 vs. organic
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Edition Appendix A – Chemistry of life / 4th Edition Chapter 2

3. Cells and Tissues:
            (About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
Audiovisual lecture: Evolution of communication systems, communication within and
 between cells and tissues, development of stress response systems, wound
 healing and stress
Marieb book Chapter 3: Cellular anatomy and physiology, epithelial, connective, nerve,
 and, muscle tissues, introduction to tissue repair / wound healing
Thibodeau/Patton book 3rd Ed. Chapter 2/ 4th Ed. Ch 3: Tissues and membranes

4. The Nervous System:
            (About four hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture: The overlapping types of communication systems in relationship to
 evolution, how the interaction between the chemical and nervous communication
 systems effects behavior, effects of stress on the nervous system, nervous system
 plasticity and change with behavioral and chemical interventions, changing the
 body through change in behavior and vice versa, biofeedback, pain, recording the             EEG, & addiction
            Marieb book Chapter 7: Organization of the nervous system, structure and function, the
                         CNS, brain dysfunctions, the spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed. Chapter 8 / 4th Ed Ch 9: Nervous system and its diseases
Read both biofeedback chapters which are on your CD
            Optional Lippert book Chapter 5:  The nervous system and movement: CNS, PNS

5. The Senses:
            (About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture:  Sensory abilities limit perception and training, the senses not
 usually taught including pheromones, ESP, etc.,
Marieb book Chapter 8: vision, hearing, balance, taste, smell
MS Word Text files on CD entitled “A&P p100” and “A&P Blind spot”.
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed. Chapter 9 / 4th Ed Ch 10: The senses and their disorders

6. The Glands – Exocrine and Endocrine systems:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture:  Chemical communication vs. behavioral therapy, pheromones and
                        community and sexual behavior, exocrine glands
            Marieb book Chapter 9: Functions, endocrine organs, hormone producing tissues
            Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapter 10/ 4th Ed Ch 11: Glandular disorders

7. The Skin – External and Internal:
(About two hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture: Oxygen and wound healing in relation to stress, effects of behavioral
 choices on skin function and diseases, skin cancer and the need for behavioral
 stimulation, behavioral interventions to speed skin / wound healing
Marieb book Chapter 4: More on membranes, basic structure and functions of the skin,
 skin color, homeostatic imbalances of the skin (allergies, burns, cancer,
 infections, etc.)
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapter 5 / 4th Ed Ch 6: Disorders of the integument

8. The Skeletal System:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture: The need for bones to continuously reshape themselves in response
            to behavioral challenges, stress and bone healing and change, behavioral
 interventions to speed bone healing
 Marieb book Chapter 5:  Functions of bones, the axial skeleton, the appendicular
 skeleton, joints, developmental aspects of the skeleton
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapter 6 / 4th Ed Ch 7: Skeletal disorders and fractures
Optional Lippert book Chapter 2: Skeletal system: functions, types, composition of bone,
             structure; Chapter 3: Joints / Articular system: types of joints, joint structure,
             planes; Chapter 6: Basic biomechanics

9. The Muscular System:
(About four hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture: Stress and muscle tension, muscle tension vs. pain, types of muscle
 tissue vs. training for different types of tasks – why you can’t train some muscles
 to perform some functions, muscle rehabilitation vs. type of training
            Marieb book Chapter 6: Types of  muscle tissue, muscle activity, motion, anatomy
            Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Ch 7 / 4th Ed Ch 8: Disorders of the musculoskeletal system
Optional Lippert book Chapters 7 & 8: The shoulder girdle and joint
 Lippert book Chapter 16: The Hip: Joint structure, motions, and
 muscle actions
Lippert book Chapter 12: TM / Jaw joint function
Lippert book Chapter 17:  The Knee: Muscles of the knee, muscle actions, motions
Lippert book Chapter 13:  The Neck and Trunk: Vertebral curves,
 explanation of terms, joints and ligaments, muscles of the neck and trunk
Lippert book Chapter 20:  Walking: Normal gait, stance,
 analysis of the swing and stance phases, determinants of gait properties
Lippert book Chapter 19: Posture

10. The Cardiovascular / Circulatory System:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture:  Effects of stress and anxiety on cardiovascular functioning and vice
 versa, behavioral interventions for cardiovascular problems
Marieb book Chapters 10 and 11: Composition of blood, hemostasis (clotting, etc.),
             blood types, the heart, blood vessels, the lymphatic system
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapters 11, 12, and 13 / 4th Ed Chs 12, 13, & 14: Disorders of the cardiovascular system 

11. The Immune System:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
             Audiovisual lecture: Effects of stress on the immune system, behavioral interventions for
                         immune system dysfunctions
             Marieb book Chapter 12: The lymphatic system, nonspecific body defenses, the immune
             Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapter 14 / 4th Ed Ch 15: Disorders of the immune system

12. The Respiratory System:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
             Audiovisual lecture: Poor respiration patterns cause anxiety, psychophysiological
                         assessments and behavioral interventions for respiratory disorders
             Marieb book Chapter 13: Anatomy, respiratory physiology
             Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapter 15 / 4th Ed Ch 16: Disorders of the respiratory system
             Optional Lippert book Chapter 14:  Respiration in relationship to motion,
                         muscles used during respiration and their tension patterns

13. The Digestive System, Metabolism, and Nutrition:
(About two hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
            Audiovisual lecture: The gut brain, stress and metabolism, stress and GI functions,
behavioral interventions for irritable bowel disease, etc., diet vs. weight
Marieb book Chapter 14: Anatomy and functions of the digestive system, nutrition and
 metabolism, body energy balance
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapters 16 & 17 / 4th Ed Chapters 17 & 18: Disorders of the
             GI system

14. The Urinary System, Waste Disposal, Fluid Balance Systems:
(About four hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
             Audiovisual lecture: Mechanisms of continence, psychophysiological assessment
 and treatment of urinary and fecal incontinence, reflexes
Marieb book Chapter 15: The kidneys, bladder, and urethra
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapters 18, 19 & 20 / 4th Ed 19, 20 & 21: Electrolyte balance, Disorders of the urinary system

15. The Reproductive System, Growth, and Genetics:
(About three hours of instruction including interaction with the instructor.)
             Audiovisual lecture: Mechanisms of orgasm, stress and sexual function, genetics,                                      and behavioral genetics
             Marieb book Chapter 16: Anatomy and physiology of the male and female reproductive
 systems, female reproductive functions
Thibodeau/Patton 3rd Ed Chapters 21, 22, & 23 / 4th Ed Chapters 22, 23, & 24: Disorders             of the             reproductive system and genetics

16. (Optional) Common Pathological Conditions, Medical Terminology, Common Abbreviations and Symbols, Clinical Laboratory Values, & Examples of Pathological Conditions.
            Thibodeau/Patton Appendices (There are no review questions about these sections.).

17. You aren’t quite done yet.
Fill out (1) the Foundation’s course evaluation form and (2) the BCIA evaluation form (MS Word file named “A&P BCIA evaluation form”) and send it to BCIA (
When all requirements have been successfully completed, your course completion certificate will be e-mailed to you and BCIA will be informed that you completed the course.

                        Administrative Information

Schedule: You can start the course whenever wish to within six months of the purchase date and work at your own pace as long as you complete the course within one year of purchase. Just contact us.
Duration of course validity: You must begin the course within six months of the purchase date and complete it within one year of the purchase date. Courses not completed by that time are void and must be repurchased if still available. No refunds are provided for courses not completed within one year of purchase.

CE Credit : Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved by the state of California to grant degrees. These are continuing education, not university accredited, courses. CE credits are given through (1) the state of California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval # PCE1895); (2) The National Board of Certified Counselors (Provider # 6270), and (3) the Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved to grant degrees by the state of California.

BCIA: This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for both certification and recertification.

Questions / further information? Contact Dr. Philip Brotman at 212-222-5665.

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