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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Neurobiology of Cognition (BIME10010)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryProgress in contemporary neuroscience is beginning to give us a handle on the network, cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie ¿cognition¿. This course is intended to complement the Learning and Memory course of Neuroscience 4, and will cover related but different material.

It will consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars, led by RM with occasional contributions from colleagues, including Chancellor¿s Fellows, senior postdoctoral staff and guest-lecturers.

Research using both humans and animals will be covered. Key ideas to be covered include, in Section 1: identifying cognition as a fundamental aspect of brain function; the importance of innovative new techniques for novel analyses of neural circuits and neural plasticity; Section 2: the concepts of attention, working-memory and executive function ¿ with a digression into mirror neurons; Section 3: scientific hypotheses such as the idea that activity-dependent synaptic plasticity (such as LTP and LTD) may play a role in memory, the synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis of memory persistence, systems consolidation and schemas, and the possibility of active processes of forgetting; Section 4: social cognition and its disorders, notably neurodevelopmental disorders, and the need for ¿effective¿ new animal models of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer¿s. Thus, the course will cover both normal cognitive function, and how cognition can suffer and might be ameliorated in genetic abnormalities of a neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative nature.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Neural circuits for learning and memory (BIME10011)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 38, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 144 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 33 %, Coursework 67 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 67% in-course assessment and 33% degree examination
Feedback Formative feedback will be given following quizzes at the end of a teaching theme and also from a 'mid term exam'. Feedback on summative in course assessment (presentation and essay) will be given in semester 1.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Neurobiology of Cognition1:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. research a particular topic in depth and write a detailed essay with diagrams about it.
  2. develop an understanding of what cognition is and how it enables us to understand the world around us and to react appropriately.
  3. develop an appreciation of how new techniques in neuroscience developed in the last 10-15 years are transforming the subject.
  4. acquire mastery of two or more areas within the domain of cognition as well as a working knowledge of the scope of the subject and develop skills for reading advanced scientific papers, distilling the essence of this work, and presenting it to their student colleagues.
  5. attend and sit an examination covering the range of material of the course.
Reading List
General textbooks of neuroscience that include sections on the neurobiology of cognition
Kandel, ER, Schwartz J and Jessel T (2012) Principles of Neural Science, Elsevier, 5th Edition.
Gazzaniga, M (2009) The Cognitive Neurosciences III MIT Press.

More specialised monographs and texts that may prove useful
Anderson P, Morris R, Amaral D, Bliss T and O¿Keefe J (2007). The Hippocampus Book. Oxford University Press.
Blakemore, S-J and Frith, U. (2005) The Learning Brain: lessons for education. Blackwell Publishing.
Fuster, J (2008) The Prefrontal Cortex. Academic Press.
Rizzolatti, G and Sinigaglia, C (2008) Mirrors in the Brain. Oxford University Press.
Squire LR and Kandel ER (2000) Memory: From mind to molecules. Scientific American Library.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Tara Spires-Jones
Tel: (0131 6)51 1895
Course secretaryMs Sarah Larios
Tel: (0131 6)51 1514
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