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

Postgraduate Course: Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYL11082)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis team taught introduces brain imaging and complementary techniques in the context of applications to the understanding of cognitive functions and dysfunctions. The methods range from functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography to electroencephalography and event-related potentials. Teaching is in a lecture format and provided by specialists in different applications of brain imaging in cognitive neuroscience.
Course description Lectures

Alex Mitchell The brain in action
This topic will focus on understanding how actions, such as eye movements, reaching and grasping, are processed in both cortical and subcortical brain regions. We will discuss how human neuroimaging has developed our understanding of the parietal cortex and how effective these techniques are at identifying brain areas associated with body movement.

Key readings:
Culham, J.C. & Valyear, K.F. (2006) Human parietal cortex in action. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 16.
Gallivan, J.P. & Culham, J.C. (2015) Neural coding with human brain areas involved in actions. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 33

Paul Hoffman - Semantic memory: The role of the anterior temporal lobes
In this lecture, we will consider how various brain imaging techniques (lesion-mapping, PET, fMRI and TMS) have informed our understanding of how semantic knowledge is coded in the brain. We will focus particularly on the function of the anterior temporal lobes, using this region as a case study to contrast the advantages and limitations of each technique.

Key readings:
(1) Lambon Ralph, M. A., Jefferies, E., Patterson, K., & Rogers, T. T. (2017). The neural and computational bases of semantic cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18, 42-55.
(2) Binder, J. R., & Desai, R. H. (2011). The neurobiology of semantic memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15(11), 527-536.

Dan Miram - Mapping the neural organization of language.
Studying associations between the location of brain damage and cognitive deficits is a foundation method in cognitive neuroscience. Contemporary advances in noninvasive neuroimaging methods and analysis techniques have provided new insights into the neural organization of cognitive systems, especially language. This lecture will cover the basics of voxel-based and multivariate lesion-symptom mapping, the neural organization of language processing as revealed by these techniques, and the translational implications of these developments for diagnosis and treatment of aphasia.

Two key references:
(1) Karnath, H. O., Sperber, C., & Rorden, C. (2018). Mapping human brain lesions and their functional consequences. NeuroImage, 165, 180-189.
(2) Mirman, D. & Thye, M. (2018). Uncovering the neuroanatomy of core language systems using lesion-symptom mapping. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 455-461.

Jasna Martinovic - Steady-state visual evoked potentials in perception and attention research
Transient events elicit event-related potentials (ERPs), but sustained, periodic stimuli drive sustained neural activity that oscillates at the same frequency as the driving stimuli - the so-called steady-state evoked potentials. This lecture will discuss the role of such steady state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) in the study of perception and attention. More specifically, the lecture will look at the underlying oscillatory nature of the EEG signals, present the basics of the SSVEP method and compare it to transient ERP methods, and discuss the main contributions of SSVEP studies to our understanding of perceptual and attentional mechanisms.

Key reading:
M. Norcia, L. G. Appelbaum, J. M. Ales, B. R. Cottereau and B. Rossion, "The steady-state visual evoked potential in vision research: A review", J. Vis., vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1-46, 2015.

Hilary Richardson - Investigating how the brain thinks about minds
Humans have unique, sophisticated social capacities. How is this kind of reasoning implemented in the brain? This lecture will discuss evidence from a range of neuroscience methods (primarily fMRI, but also PET, TMS, EEG, and fNIRS) that informs this question. We will discuss the strengths and limitations of each method as well as tips for critically evaluating neuroimaging studies.

Key reading:
Koster-Hale, J., & Saxe, R. (2013) Functional neuroimaging of theory of mind. Understanding other minds: Perspectives from developmental social neuroscience, 132-163.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Two 1500-word essays (each 50%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. gain knowledge of the main brain imaging techniques (EEG/ERPs, fMRI, TMS), their uses in cognitive neuroscience, and their limitations
  2. gain knowledge of how brain imaging is used to study normal and impaired cognition
  3. gain understanding of current research in key domains of cognitive neuroscience
  4. read brain imaging papers critically
Reading List
These are provided separately for each topic running in a given year.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserMs Alex Mitchell
Tel: (0131 6)51 3232
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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