Brain, body & behaviour

0HV40

About this course

These are exciting times for studying the brain. Scientific understanding of the brain, and its relation to human behaviour, continues to grow at an exponential pace. In no small measure, this is enabled through significant progress in technology. For example, advanced non-invasive imaging technologies, such as fMRI, are allowing us to look inside the living, functioning brain, without the need for opening the skull and inserting electrodes. At the same time, brain science is contributing to the creation of new classes of technology. For example, electronic brain implants are being developed that enable paralysed patients to move a robotic limb just by thinking about it.

In this introductory course, students will become familiar with the fundamental mechanisms of nervous system function, and its relation to human behaviour and human bodily processes (immune system, endocrine system). We will cover the history of neuroscience as an academic discipline and will discuss the research methods at its disposal. We will address the basic structure of neurons, the electrochemical propagation of nerve impulses, and transfer of information between nerve cells. We will cover the development of nerve cells into the brain and spinal cord. We then move to brain structure and functional specialization of sensory and motor areas of the brain: the areas that serve vision, hearing, olfaction, and touch, and control voluntary movement. We will cover the brain systems that control cognition, motivation, emotion, and memory, and will discuss basic mechanisms of brain plasticity and learning. Furthermore, the effects of drugs and hormones, and the brain bases of major behavioural disorders will be addressed. Finally, the relevance and applicability of technology within brain science will be highlighted throughout the course.
These are exciting times for studying the brain. Scientific understanding of the brain, and its relation to human behaviour, continues to grow at an exponential pace. In no small measure, this is enabled through significant progress in technology. For example, advanced non-invasive imaging technologies, such as fMRI, are allowing us to look inside the living, functioning brain, without the need for opening the skull and inserting electrodes. At the same time, brain science is contributing to the creation of new classes of technology. For example, electronic brain implants are being developed that enable paralysed patients to move a robotic limb just by thinking about it.

In this introductory course, students will become familiar with the fundamental mechanisms of nervous system function, and its relation to human behaviour and human bodily processes (immune system, endocrine system). We will cover the history of neuroscience as an academic discipline and will discuss the research methods at its disposal. We will address the basic structure of neurons, the electrochemical propagation of nerve impulses, and transfer of information between nerve cells. We will cover the development of nerve cells into the brain and spinal cord. We then move to brain structure and functional specialization of sensory and motor areas of the brain: the areas that serve vision, hearing, olfaction, and touch, and control voluntary movement. We will cover the brain systems that control cognition, motivation, emotion, and memory, and will discuss basic mechanisms of brain plasticity and learning. Furthermore, the effects of drugs and hormones, and the brain bases of major behavioural disorders will be addressed. Finally, the relevance and applicability of technology within brain science will be highlighted throughout the course.

Students will be expected to plan their studies in such a way that they are able to keep up with the reading through independent study of the textbook with support from online video lectures and knowledge clips. Selected additional readings will be made available on specific topics not covered in the textbook (e.g., brain-computer interfaces). Interactive discussion lectures and workshops will support the motivation of students by offering patient video material and hands-on demonstrations, as well as applications of the knowledge to daily-life situations of the student. During the lectures there will be opportunities for Q&A, exam training and individual coaching. Project group work will be aimed at social interaction and discussion of brain science with practical applications from a technology domain.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge

  • The student has an appreciation of the academic roots of cognitive neuroscience and its main research methods.

  • The student is familiar with the building blocks of the human nervous system, and its core organizing principles, such as functional specialization and brain plasticity.

  • The student has an appreciation of the intimate connections between brain, body and mind.

  • The student is able to understand the role of technology in brain science, as well as understand the basic mechanisms and current limits of brain-computer interfaces.

Skills

  • The student is able to plan and organize their study activities in various phases of the course, keep track of task dependencies, priorities and progress.

  • The student is able to reflect on own planning and organizing skills and to define an action plan accordingly.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

  • Registered for a degree programme other than
  • HBO-TOP Applied Physics, Pre-Master

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.

Offering(s)

  • Start date

    22 April 2024

    • Ends
      23 June 2024
    • Term *
      Block 4
    • Location
      Eindhoven
    • Instruction language
      English
    Enrolment period closed
  • Start date

    21 April 2025

    • Ends
      22 June 2025
    • Term *
      Block 4
    • Location
      Eindhoven
    • Instruction language
      English
    Enrolment starts in 171 days
For guests registration, this course is handled by TU Eindhoven