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Natural Sciences Degree
Globe on leaf

Life Sciences - Brain, Behaviour and Cognition

Stream Representative
Dr Hugo Spiers: h.spiers@ucl.ac.uk

Aims
To study the ways in which biological processes taking place in the brain give rise to complex, high-level mental phenomena such as thinking, feeling, action and consciousness. This stream will consider neural function across many "levels of description" ranging from low-level processes such as gene activation, synaptic transmission and neural plasticity, all the way up to high-level processes such as attention, perception, memory and motor control. The stream will also examine some of the ways in which such processes can go awry, leading to disorders of mental functioning.

Objectives

Students who have completed this stream will be able to describe:

  • The anatomical organisation of the central and peripheral nervous system, and how this arises during development
  • The biology of a typical neuron including its structure, the generation of nerve impulses, the ways in which neurons send signal both within and between themselves, and the ways in which neural connections can change
  • The fundamental processes underlying behaviour including perception, representation, learning and memory, attention, action, decision-making and emotions/mood
  • Some of the ways in which the properties of neurons and their circuits are thought to mediate the above processes
  • The basics of computational neuroscience including how neural networks are structured and how they may process information, form representations and be modified on the basis of past activity
  • The ways in which neural processes sometimes go awry, as a result of mal-development, accident or disease, leading to disorders of functioning such as Alzheimer's disease, addiction, psychosis, autism and many others


Page last modified on 23 jan 14 13:38