BSc Anatomical Sciences

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL31692
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Learning, Memory and Cognition will introduce you to the discipline of cognitive neuroscience and examine how central nervous system regions interact to produce behaviour in animals ranging from invertebrates to humans. You will study the neural bases for learning and memory and explore how different types of memory are supported by different neural systems. Insight will be gained into how human neurological cases and experimental approaches extend our understanding of normal brain function and how these functions are localised across animal species. Examples of the lecture topics covered are ’Learning, memory and amnesia’, ’Neurones and memory storage’, ‘Song learning in birds’, ‘Amnesia in monkeys and man’ and ’Human memory circuits.’

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Sensory Systems BIOL21341 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Motor Systems BIOL21332 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

Introduce students to the discipline of cognitive neuroscience and examine how CNS regions in invertebrates, simple mammals, monkeys and humans interact to produce behaviour.

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to understand the neural bases for learning and memory in neural systems and explain how different types of memory are supported by different brain systems. Students will also gain insight into how neurological cases and experimental approaches extend our understanding of normal brain function and how those functions are localised across animal species. The course will also focus on how synaptic changes provide the cellular bases for learning and memory.

Syllabus

Introduction to Cognition – Discussion of early models for animal memory, such as behaviourism and cognitive mapping, and how these evolved into the more recent field of cognitive neuroscience. Introduction to the concepts of learning, memory formation and memory retrieval.

Neuronal circuitry and the cellular mechanisms for memory acquisition and storage - How synaptic plasticity provides a model for memory processes within cell assemblies. This will help students link these cellular processes to learning and behaviour topics covered in earlier lectures. A particular focus will be on how different EEG rhythms can support the representation of information in rodent and human brain.

Learning, memory and amnesia - Discussion of song learning in birds, where reward prediction error will be examined as a feedback mechanism for song learning. Evidence from mammals that different forms of learning are supported by discrete neural systems. Consideration of the neural bases for memory loss across species. How memory is used to direct and control behaviour with particular focus on the role of striatum and hippocampus in both goal-oriented activity and incidental memory.

How we can study memory processes in human brain. Specific coverage here will be on how functional imaging in the human brain can reveal the neural circuits responsible familiarity or recall.

eLearning
The unit benefits from an excellent learning resource on episodic memory and we are developing a number of other relevant eLearning resources.
 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
MCQ eLearning exam
Problem solving
MCQ eLearning exam
Written communication
Written examination in which students must choose two essay titles to answer

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 90%

The Unit mark breaks down as follows:
1.    eLearning MCQ (10% of Unit mark). This component consists of three MCQ exams presented during the course. Each MCQ covers material from the previous 2 weeks of the course. Thus, one MCQ will be made available at the end of weeks 2, 4 and 6 of the course.
2.    Final exam (90% of Unit mark). The Final Exam consists of two components: one written essay (from a choice of 5 titles; 70% of Final Exam mark) and one MCQ (30% of Final Exam mark)  

Feedback methods

The eLearning MCQ exams will provide feedback on students’ progress and highlight key areas for improvement. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 82

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
John Gigg Unit coordinator

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