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Neuroscience of Behaviour & Cognition A (NEUR90013)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeNEUR90013
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is an intensive 5 consecutive day overview of the range of research methodologies used to understand how different structures, chemicals and neural response within the brain work together to achieve complex behaviour and cognitive functions. Through exposure to a selection of current research topics and available experimental methodologies the subject explains how the interplay between clinical populations’ studies, healthy subjects’ studies combined with animal models of behaviour contribute to advances in the field. The multi-disciplinary nature of this fast-developing field is emphasised through the various collaborations between the presenters from disciplines spanning Biomedical and Health Sciences, Psychology and Electrical Engineering. Seven themes are discussed as follows:

  1. Behaviour measures in healthy populations: Uncovering mechanisms underlying perception and behaviour.
  2. Clinical brain lesion populations: Providing insights into anatomic regions involved in cognition.
  3. Computational modelling: Understanding the auditory system to create artificial hearing devices.
  4. Rodent models: Understanding the genetic, physiological and pharmacological factors underlying human cognition and behaviour.
  5. Human electrophysiology: Explore the neural dynamics of perception.
  6. Neuropharmacology: How neurotransmitters modulate brain function.

A group project will focus on reward-encoding to demonstrate how an interdisciplinary approach played a critical role in informing our current understanding of how the brain processes reward. This example will also illustrate how a single element of brain function can have a vast array of consequence ranging from complex patterns of global economic behaviour through to clinical symptoms of addiction. Students are split into multi-disciplinary groups to analyse a set paper, each representing a different investigative technique for the same problem. Class presentations at the end of week allow each group to discuss their conclusions and share a class discussion illustrating the points outlined above.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Gain knowledge of the major research approaches currently used to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processes.
  • Develop an awareness of current topics in cognitive neuroscience relevant to language, memory, vision, audition, attention, mood multi-sensory integration and executive function.
  • Develop a basic understanding of how clinical populations can be used to inform our understanding of healthy cognitive processing and how studying healthy cognition can inform clinical research and potential treatment strategies.
  • Develop a basic understanding of how rodent models can provide insights into human cognition.
  • Appreciate what is required on a practical level to use different research approaches in cognitive neuroscience.
  • Acquire a capacity to critically evaluate which approach / technology is best suited to investigate a particular aspect of cognitive function and to understand the benefits and limitations associated with each methodology.
  • Read research papers with a greater awareness of the conceptual, theoretical and practical context in which the research was conducted.
  • Become aware of the potential to initiate fruitful research collaborations with cognitive neuroscientists.
  • Demonstrate the application of the principles learned in the subject to their research project.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, students will have developed the following generic skills:

  • Understanding of and critical reading skills in a wide range of research methodologies.
  • Oral communication skills ranging from public speaking to interpersonal communication.
  • High-level written communication skills.
  • Team work skills and becoming aware of the value of collaborating with other disciplines.
  • High organisation and time management skills in the short and loner term.
  • The capacity to apply concepts learned in their own area of research.

Eligibility and requirements




Students enrolled through the Florey Department in this subject must also enrol in the following subjects at the same time:

NEUR90007 Design and Analysis for Neurosciences A (12.5)


NEUR90009 Brain Imaging and Neural Networks A (12.5)


NEUR90010 Brain Imaging and Neural Networks B (6.25)

NEUR90011 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience A (12.5)


NEUR90012 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience B (6.25)

Non-allowed subjects

Students cannot enrol in and gain credit for this subject and:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
NEUR90014 Neuroscience of Behaviour & Cognition B

Recommended background knowledge

Three years of an undergraduate third-year sequence in a relevant biomedical science, psychology or engineering discipline.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Attendance taken twice daily. Full 5 days attendance of the subject throughout the course and full participation in class exercises, group project, presentation and discussion are required. A minimum 85% attendance is required (= x 1); a pro rata attendance multiplier will apply to total assessment.
  • One oral group presentation (total 20 min; 5 min per student) plus class discussion, equivalent to 1,000 words (at the end of the week-subject), worth 20% times attendance multiplier
  • One written literature review on the chosen research topic related to this area, of minimum 4,000 words excluding cited references,to be submitted by the first week in September, worth 80% times attendance multiplier.

Dates & times

  • April
    Principal coordinatorKathelijne Lefevere
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours32 hours, 20 hours of lectures, 12 hours of tutorials
    Teaching period 8 April 2019 to 12 April 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 April 2019
    Census date10 May 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail19 July 2019
    Assessment period ends 9 September 2019

    April contact information

    Dr Robyn Brown
    T: +61(0)3 9035 6592
    E: robyn.brown@florey.edu.au

    Dr Kathy Lefevere
    T: +61 3 9035 7082
    E: lefevere@unimelb.edu.au

Time commitment details


Further information

Last updated: 6 August 2019