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MSc Taught Modules

During the taught modules, you will learn what cognitive neuroscience is, how mind-brain relations can be studied, what techniques are currently available to study brain structure and function, what is currently known about the neural underpinnings of a number of mental processes, and how mind-brain relations change across the life span and after neurological damage. The taught modules include case demonstrations of brain-damaged patients, insights into 'virtual' lesion approaches (transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation), and experience with functional neuroimaging techniques. An outline of each module can be found below:

Theories and Paradigms in Cognitive Neuroscience

This module introduces you to some of the theories and methodologies found in cognitive neuroscience. Specific papers and ICN seminars will be used as the basis to interrogate some of the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches, and as a way of identifying and distinguishing theoretical frameworks and models.  You will learn different approaches that researchers take when investigating the relationship between the mind and the brain. Throughout the module, key transferable skills will be developed.

This module will be assessed with a 2,000-3,000 word written essay.

Research Skills (Statistics)

This module discusses various issues associated with experimental design and statistics. A wide range of statistical tests will be taught (e.g. t-tests, ANOVA, chi-square, regression, correlation). The module will explore the methodology and selection of statistical tests, and will teach the use of software such as SPSS. Students will learn how to summarize raw data effectively in graphs and tables and how to carry out statistical analyses of data. The module will train students how to critically evaluate the quantitative methodology of studies in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

The module will be assessed with three, one hour long exams.

Structure and Function of the Brain

This module outlines basic neuroanatomy and function of the brain. Students will be taught physiological and structural principles underlying the anatomical organization of the brain and the functional segregation of higher cognitive functions, starting from the cellular level (synapses, action potentials) and working up to a more detailed consideration of the major anatomical divisions. Neurotransmitter systems and their role in defining functional architecture will be described. Major functional circuits will be outlined, with an emphasis on their anatomical organization and connectivity. Aspects of how to measure the brain will be discussed.

The module will be assessed with a 2-hour unseen written exam.

Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience I: Lesions Approaches

This module teaches students how lesion approaches can be used to advance the field of cognitive neuroscience. A series of case demonstrations will be given, each of a patient with a circumscribed brain lesion and associated functional deficit. Theoretical issues surrounding neuropsychological data, and how to use magnetic resonance imaging to characterize structural and functional aspects of brain lesions, will be discussed. The module also considers 'virtual lesions', brought about by transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation. Practical, theoretical, and methodological aspects of this technique will be explored. Lesion techniques in humans will be discussed alongside work using animal models.

The module will be assessed with one 2,000 – 3,000 word written report in two parts

Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience II: Neuroimaging

This module focuses on modern techniques for imaging the human brain. Students will be taught the key principles of a range of neuroimaging techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The methodological limitations of these techniques will be discussed and there may be an opportunity to observe the techniques in action. The module explores how each technique can be used to understand mind-brain relations in patients and healthy individuals, emphasizing their relative advantages and disadvantages. Students will practice the analysis and interpretation of neuroimaging data, and how to disseminate findings.

The module will be assessed with one 2,000 – 3,000 word written report in two parts

Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience I: Fundamental Processes

This is the first of three modules on the current state of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience. This module focuses on our understanding of lower-level, fundamental cognitive processes. Examples include perception, attention, action, motor control, object recognition, face processing, the mirror system, and consciousness. Experts in each field will describe past and present findings on the topic, using their own research as a guideline and highlighting current controversies and debates. The module will explore findings from a range of neuroimaging techniques and lesion approaches.

The module is assessed with a 2,000-3,000 word written essay.

Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience II: Elaborative and Adaptive Processes

This is the second of three modules on the current state of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience. This module focuses on our understanding of elaborative and adaptive processes. Examples include memory, speech, language, number processing, social cognition, executive functions and cognitive control. Experts in each field will describe past and present findings on the topic, using their own research as a guideline and highlighting current controversies and debates. The module will explore findings from a range of neuroimaging techniques and lesion approaches.

The module is assessed with a 2,000-3,000 word written essay

Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience III: Translational Research

This is the third and final module on the current state of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience. This module focuses on our understanding of translational research. Examples include cognitive neuropsychiatry, recovery and rehabilitation after neurological damage, cognition across the life span, genetic underpinnings of cognition, and language in the deaf. Experts in each field will describe past and present findings on the topic, using their own research as a guideline and highlighting current controversies and debates. The module will explore findings from a range of neuroimaging techniques and lesion approaches.

The module is assessed with a 2,000-3,000 word written essay

Page last modified on 04 mar 13 14:42