BSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Neuroscience RSM

Unit code BIOL20922
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This Research Skills Module is designed to develop your experimental design, report writing, and practical skills. You will develop a range of skills relevant to Neuroscience and/or Cognitive Neuroscience research including electrophysiological, biochemical, and histological methods. You will work with cells, human subjects and interactive computer simulations.

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Sensory Systems BIOL21341 Co-Requisite Compulsory
Motor Systems BIOL21332 Co-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL20922 Pre & Co-requisites are BIOL10832, BIOL21332 & BIOL21341

Aims

To provide practical experience of a range of techniques and data analytical procedures relevant to current neuroscience and/or cognitive neuroscience research. The techniques will mainly be drawn from the disciplines of anatomy, pharmacology and physiology. Students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of biological preparations, from cells to whole humans, and with interactive computer simulations.

Learning outcomes

To be proficient in the use of a range of technical skills, including the application of selected electrophysiological, psychophysical, biochemical and histological methods, and to possess the abilities to find and understand information, to analyse complex data sets and to write scientific reports.

Syllabus

Core practicals for Neuroscience and CogNeuro:
• Neurophysiology computer simulations
• Virtual rat (Sniffy) behaviour
• Human neuroanatomy
• Human visual function - the Electroretinogram
• Human visual function -the Visually Evoked Potential
• Motor function
• Statistics

Neuroscience-specific practicals:
• Neuropeptide Pathways
• Nitrous oxide and human performance

CogNeuro-specific practicals
• Emotional arousal (galvanic skin response)
• Psychophysics

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students undertake both experimental laboratory and data analyses.
Group/team working
Students work in small groups (3-4) when undertaking a range of laboratory experiments and associated data analyses.
Innovation/creativity
Students are encouraged to design experiments to test specific hypotheses.
Leadership
Different members of small groups are encouraged to take the leadership role for coordinating the running of different experiments.
Project management
Small groups of students collaborate in the design, running and analysis of a series of laboratory experiments, allocating different tasks amongst group members.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to answer questions during experimental classes.
Problem solving
Students undertake assessments based on solving both numerical and conceptual problems.
Research
The unit is based on students performing a series of laboratory research experiments to collect novel data that allow biological hypotheses to be tested.
Written communication
Students write a detailed report of a laboratory experiment and a series of short note answers to questions on each of 9 practical classes.
Other
Computer and IT skills in running and analysing laboratory experiments.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

Short reports on individual classes (60%) and one full practical write-up (40%).

RSM Attendance guidelines

Students are expected to attend all scheduled RSM sessions on time (N.B. Health and safety information will be delivered at the start of practical sessions, and students who are not present at the start may be asked to leave the lab). Students who arrive late will be marked as absent for that session.

Failure to attend a session (an unauthorised absence) will result in a 10% (i.e. 10 mark) penalty being applied to the overall RSM mark (i.e. a student obtaining a mark of 65% overall will instead receive a mark of 55%). Furthermore, any students who miss a practical session will not receive a mark for any associated post-lab assessment (N.B. this mark will be removed before calculating the average post-lab mark to avoid a student being penalised twice).

Further absences will result in further penalties (i.e. 2 absences = a penalty of 20% (as described above)).

Feedback methods

Written comments on assessment exercises and lab reports and Feedback session with staff in lecture theatre.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 7
Practical classes & workshops 56
Independent study hours
Independent study 37

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kenneth Grieve Unit coordinator

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