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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: The Functional Organisation of Visual Cortex - A Cognitive Neuroscience Approach (PSYL10164)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the fundamental organising principles of visual cortex, how they were discovered using different neuroscience techniques, and what questions remain to be answered. The course will focus on different neuroscience methods applied to both humans and non-human primates.
Course description In this course we will explore the functional organisation of visual cortex. The course will cover animal and human studies that have revealed, through multiple neuroscience techniques, fundamental facts about visual cortex organisation.

The course will review early invasive studies in humans and non-human primates before providing a more contemporary account of visual cortex that draws upon recent advances in cognitive neuroscience (e.g. fMRI, MEG, ECoG) and computational modelling.

Students will be encouraged to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different neuroscience techniques in answering questions regarding brain function and the importance of convergent evidence.

Throughout the course, students will learn about both historical and cutting-edge neuroscience approaches to studying brain function. Students will develop skills in critical thinking, presentation skills and scientific writing.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

**Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the historical context, importance and limitations of early neuroscience approaches to uncovering brain function.
  2. Identify and appreciate the strengths and limitations of contemporary cognitive neuroscience approaches for investigating brain function.
  3. Compare, contrast and evaluate the predominant theories about visual cortex organisation.
  4. Critically evaluate research studies in the field of visual perception and cognition.
Reading List
Each lecture will have a short reading list of two or three papers. A full reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course. The following are indicative of this reading:

Wandell, B. A., Dumoulin, S. O., & Brewer, A. A. (2007). Visual Field Maps in Human Cortex. Neuron, 56.

Kravitz, D. J., Saleem, K. S., Baker, C. I., Ungerleider, L. G., & Mishkin, M. (2013). The ventral visual pathway: an expanded neural framework for the processing of object quality. Trends in cognitive sciences, 17(1), 26-49.

Kravitz, D. J., Saleem, K. S., Baker, C. I., & Mishkin, M. (2011). A new neural framework for visuospatial processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 12(4), 217-230.

Though not a compulsory text, the following textbook provides a background to a majority of the course content.

Farah, M.J. (2000). The Cognitive Neuroscience of Vision. Blackwell Publishers Limited.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will encourage students to think critically and use their curiosity to investigate the different methods that have been used to explore cortical organisation. The course also provides students with the opportunity to enhance their personal and intellectual autonomy by encouraging them to explore wider reading and ask pertinent questions. The course will also provide opportunities to improve their communication skills through presentations.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Edward Silson
Tel: (0131 6) 51 7112
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Anderson
Tel: (0131 6)50 9870
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