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Cognitive neuroscience is the study of how the brain gives rise to mind and behaviour. Using a variety of imaging and sensing techniques, it is now possible to measure the functional activity of the brain during mental processing. Married with good experimental design, and including insights from clinical populations, this approach holds great potential for illuminating mind and behaviour. This course will begin with a brief description of cognitive neuroscience techniques and an overview of basic structural and functional brain organization. Each week, a current research issue (e.g. the nature of consciousness, the link between perception and action, the representation of objects) will be discussed in detail via the use of recent journal articles. Class participation in presenting and critiquing these papers will be expected. The module will be assessed via written assignment.
This is the central teaching component of the Masters programme. It involves the practical application of skills acquired in the other components of the course. Across TB1 and TB2 students design, execute, analyse, and provide a written report on 3 projects of their own choosing drawing on their own interests. The students experience working in (a) a large group; (b) smaller groups of three to four, and (c) individually. Each project is supervised by a member of staff with appropriate research interests. Throughout TB1 and TB2 students attend a weekly one-hour seminar/workshop where they discuss all aspects of research design, data analysis and interpretation, and the project write-up.
The module will involve planning, conducting, and reporting a substantial piece of cognitive neuroscience research of relevance to any discipline within cognitive neuroscience. It is intended that the dissertation will take the form of a scientific paper combined with a reflective review of the process of conducting the research.
Students design, execute, analyze and report on projects of their own choosing based around a particular cognitive neuroscience application, drawing on the workshops/seminars which include cognitive psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, eye tracking, electrophysiological, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and brain stimulation techniques. This core module is appropriate to students wishing to pursue a career in cognitive neuroscience.
The module provides an in depth look at the cognitive processes underlying important higher level functions such as language, thinking, problem solving, reasoning and making decisions. The module will start covering a series of topics within perception and attention such as visual perception, biological motion, auditory perception, chemical senses, touch and proprioception, multisensory experiences, attentional mechanisms, and attention in driving. This will be followed by the most important and hotly debated issues in psycholinguistics, including how children acquire language, how language is processed in the adult mind with particular emphasis on reading, spelling dyslexia and bilingualism. The last part of the module will deal with the way in which humans make judgments, reach decisions and resolve problems and puzzles by examining the research evidence and exploring the classical and current theories.
The goal of this module is to understand how cognitive neuroscience techniques are used to address particular research questions concerning vision, memory and consciousness. Aside from background reading to gain some familiarity with brain structure/function and the available techniques, the focus will be on critiquing professional journal articles. Students are required to read the assigned papers each week and be prepared to discuss them in class. Key questions and topics include: (1) What role does colour play in perceiving, recognizing and remembering common objects, such as a chair or canary? (2) The N170: Understanding the time course of face perception in the human brain (3) What cognitive and brain mechanisms underpin perceiving and imaging objects? (4) How might we explain category-specific memory deficits such as impairment solely for the category of animals or tools? (5) Can electrical brain stimulation enhance or inhibit cognitive processing? (6) What is consciousness and how may we study it empirically?