This course is part of the interdisciplinary minor “Brain, mind, and consciousness” and offers an introduction to the main topics of brain and mind. After completion of the course the student should have a basic understanding of the functional anatomy, physiology, and cell biology of the brain. In addition, the student should be able to relate specific aspects of the mind (e.g. perception, emotion) to brain functions. The learning goals will be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach.|
The course offers the following seven main topics:|
• Mapping the brain -- Functional anatomy of the brain, brain cartography, the connectome, structural and functional connectivity, neural and neuronal networks.
• The cellular brain – Neuronal cells, glia cells, (sub)cellular structure and function.
• The electric brain -- Neurophysiology, electrophysiology, ion channels, voltage and patch clamp.
• The chemical brain -- Neurotransmitters/modulators, receptors, enzymes, drugs.
• Looking into the brain -- Neuroimaging, eye-tracking, EEG, (f)MRI, CAT, PET, MEG, DTI, observational (psychological) methods.
• Hacking the brain -- Possible interventions to alter brain function (e.g. chemical and psychological).
• From brain to mind -- Mind-body dualism, sensation and perception, thought, soul.
These topics will be studied in a nonsequential/integrated fashion and will be contextually linked to the following three phenomena: sensory processing, stress, and learning and memory. Additional context will be provided through a longitudinal project. Both the course topics and contextual phenomena will be approached from different disciplinary angles, including biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, and mathematics.
In this course, as in the other courses constituting the minor “Brain, mind, and consciousness”, skills are practised and employed that foster interdisciplinary understanding, i.e. critical thinking, collaboration and reflection.