Full course description
This course covers a broad range of topics in the field of brain functioning. The initial focus is on brain mechanism, to better understand how the brain is organized to support cognitive functions and the paradigms and methods that are used to study it. This knowledge will then be applied to understand the changes in brain functioning that arise during normal development, in abnormal aging, and acquired and neurodegenerative brain disorders. Important questions will include: What are the changes in brain structure and function underlying development and ageing? What neurobiological mechanisms determine whether a person develops normally or pathologically? What are the differences in symptomatology resulting from focal and distributed brain damage? To address these questions, students will critically reflect on influential theories, state-of-the-art research, established research methods, and clinical interventions. General themes are neural and cognitive ageing, neuropathology (mild cognitive impairment, dementia, Parkinson’s disease), and methodological issues in brain research.
- obtain knowledge about the history of brain and behaviour research, brain structure-function relationship, cognition and the brain, and brain lateralization;
- obtain knowledge about changes in brain functioning related to successful aging including processing-speed theory, white matter decline, decline of cognitive control, temporal and frontal lobe dysfunction, subcortical dysfunction;
- obtain knowledge and be able to explain different neuroimaging techniques (structural and functional MRI, EEG; resting-state vs task-related designs), brain connectivity, the default-mode network, and executive and attentional networks;
- be able to explain different research designs including comparative neuroscience (transfer animal-human studies) and methodological issues in brain research.