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MSci Zoology / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
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.’
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
Introduce students to the discipline of cognitive neuroscience and examine how CNS regions in invertebrates, simple mammals, monkeys and humans interact to produce behaviour.
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.
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.
The unit benefits from an excellent learning resource on episodic memory and we are developing a number of other relevant eLearning resources.
- Analytical skills
- MCQ eLearning exam
- Problem solving
- MCQ eLearning exam
- Written communication
- Written examination in which students must choose two essay titles to answer
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)
The eLearning MCQ exams will provide feedback on students’ progress and highlight key areas for improvement.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|John Gigg||Unit coordinator|