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Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience brings together the experimental and modelling techniques of cognitive psychology with the measurement and imaging methods of neuroscience to explain how mental processes such as perceptions, memories, and thoughts are implemented in the living, functioning brain.
This subject comprises a series of seminars exploring the mind-brain as a system that can be investigated and explained at different scales and levels of complexity, from single-cell recordings of firing neurons, to the modular systems involved in visual, spatial and auditory cognition, to the networks of neural circuits that link regions of the brain and underpin complex cognitive processes involved in attention, learning, memory, language, decision-making, and consciousness. The seminars may also explore the ways in which neuroscience informs our understanding of how behaviour, cognition and neurobiology are influenced by internal and external factors such as emotions and personality traits, pharmacological substances, sleep states of consciousness, and psychopathology.
Students will gain an appreciation of the integrative nature of cognitive and behavioural neurosciences, and of the range of methods used within the field, including methods for stimulating and recording from living neurons, methods for imaging brain structure and functioning, and techniques for modelling cognitive processes and mapping these to the underlying neural circuitry. Students will learn to evaluate the strengths and limitations of the various methods, and to assess their applicability for addressing particular research questions.
Intended learning outcomes
Knowledge: On completion of this subject students should demonstrate an understanding of:
- current theories, models, experimental methods, and debates in the behavioural and cognitive neurosciences;
- the experimental and modelling techniques used in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience and how they are used to investigate and explain cognitive processes and behaviour at different levels of scale and complexity;
- The strengths and limitations of the different experimental techniques used in neuroscience research.
Skills: On completion of this subject students should have developed competency in:
- evaluating current perspectives on human cognition and its neurobiological underpinnings;
- identifying appropriate experimental techniques to conduct research into the biological basis of cognitive processes and human behaviours;
- communication: including written reports and research proposals in formats consistent with those commonly used within the field of cognitive and behavioural neuroscience.
Application of knowledge and skills: On completion of this subject students should be able to apply their knowledge and skills to:
- Critically evaluate neuroscience research studies and techniques;
- Write essays and research proposals that demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical basis and experimental assessment of the biological underpinnings of human cognition and behaviour.
Students in this subject will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to develop skills in:
- analysis and construction of arguments
- written communication in academic assignments and reports
- verbal communication in presenting information in small group formats
- workload planning and task management
Last updated: 3 November 2022