Neuroscience II: Higher brain function

Course content

Higher brain functions are characterized by strongly involving the cerebral cortex; examples include attention, executive function, memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, emotions, high-level processing of visual and other sensory information, and language. The objective of the course is to convey extensive knowledge of the neuronal mechanisms and brain circuitry that underlie these functions in the healthy brain, derived from brain research within multiple disciplines. Moreover, students will come to apprehend how brain damage associated with injury, disease or addiction affects higher brain functions such as memory, executive functions, and the expression of motivated behavior and personality.

The course is based on a lecture series offered by researchers with expertise in advanced cerebral functions in both the healthy and diseased brain. Moreover, at journal clubs students will study, present and discuss original research articles representing the most important recent advances in the field. Within specific topics such as memory, emotions, or language, students are presented with the current scientific opinion derived from diverse lines of research, including studies in non-human primates, functional brain imaging, and psychological and electrophysiological techniques. Considerable emphasis will be given to case studies where consequences of specific lesions have helped to elucidate the mechanisms governing normal brain function.

Education

MSc in Neuroscience - compulsory course

Not open for credit transfer students or other external students

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:

Knowledge

Demonstrate knowledge about: 

  • Advanced sensory processes, e.g. speech comprehension or object recognition
  • Attention and consciousness
  • Memory
  • Emotion and social cognition
  • Executive functions and decision making
  • Brain disease and the workflow in the clinical assessment of neurological and psychiatric patients
  • Methods used for studying higher brain function
  • Hemispheric specialization

 

Skills

  • Discuss and evaluate the principles underlying the multitude of methods employed in cognitive neuroscience
  • Master the role of specific brain areas and networks in specific cognitive functions (structure-function relationship)
  • Discuss the relationship between localized or extensive brain damage and neurological deficits

 

Competences

  • Independently identify the most important frontiers in higher brain function research
  • Design novel experiments addressing higher brain function in both humans and animals.
  • Systematically and independently be able to critically assess scientific literature covering higher brain function.

The course is composed of a series of lectures, journal clubs and case studies. During the course students will do a small thematic project (mini-review) and write a report to present.

See Absalon

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
ECTS
2,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 4 days
Thematic report (Mini-review) up to 15 pages long (max), including figures and references. In addition to the report, the students are expected to give a short presentation (15 min) of the main points of their report for the supervisor.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the grade Passed, the student must adequately be able to: 

Knowledge

Demonstrate knowledge about: 

  • Advanced sensory processes, e.g. speech comprehension or object recognition
  • Attention and consciousness
  • Memory
  • Emotion and social cognition
  • Executive functions and decision making
  • Brain disease and the workflow in the clinical assessment of neurological and psychiatric patients
  • Methods used for studying higher brain function
  • Hemispheric specialization

 

Skills

  • Discuss and evaluate the principles underlying the multitude of methods employed in cognitive neuroscience
  • Master the role of specific brain areas and networks in specific cognitive functions (structure-function relationship)
  • Discuss the relationship between localized or extensive brain damage and neurological deficits
ECTS
2,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes under invigilation
Including 30 minutes preparation
The exam will be based on one major and one minor question (weighed about 2:1). The exam will cover both Neuroscience I: Cells and circuits and Neuroscience II: Higher brain functions.
Aid
Only certain aids allowed

Preparation based on material provided by examiner, but no textbook
List of tentative exam topics (major and minor) will be available as examples

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student must be able to:

Knowledge

Demonstrate knowledge about:

  • Overall anatomy of the nervous system
  • Morphology and function of cellular components of the nervous system
  • Development of the nervous system
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Neurotransmitters and receptors
  • Sensation and sensory processing
  • Motor function
  • Autonomic functions and neuroendocrinology
  • Brain circulation and transport barriers
  • Advanced sensory processes, e.g. speech comprehension or object recognition
  • Attention and consciousness
  • Memory
  • Emotion and social cognition
  • Executive functions and decision making
  • Brain disease and the workflow in the clinical assessment of neurological and psychiatric patients
  • Methods used for studying higher brain function
  • Hemispheric specialization

 

Skills

  • Describe the relation between structure and function of the nervous system
  • Describe the nervous system from molecules and cells to sensory, motor and autonomic functions  
  • Combine knowledge of cellular components and functional systems of the nervous system
  • Discuss the rationale for neuroscientific experiments used to study brain cells and circuits
  • Describe the basic neurobiological processes underlying diseases of the nervous system
  • Discuss and evaluate the principles underlying the multitude of methods employed in cognitive neuroscience
  • Master the role of specific brain areas and networks in specific cognitive functions (structure-function relationship)
  • Discuss the relationship between localized or extensive brain damage and neurological deficits
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 26
  • Class Instruction
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 265
  • Exercises
  • 40
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Exam Preparation
  • 0,5
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • English
  • 412,0