Cognitive neuroscience bridges two seemingly distinct but closely related disciplines. On one side, there is cognitive psychology and on the other side biology, or more specifically, neuroscience. In terms of research, this relatively young field aims to explain such diverse mental processes as thinking, perceiving, feeling, and reasoning by exploring their underlying biological or neural mechanis
This course explores selected topics of cognitive neuroscience. The course begins with a basic introduction to the field covering neural anatomy and brain physiology. Contemporary methods used in neuroscientific research (e.g., fMRI, EEG) will also be introduced and their benefits and limits critically reviewed. Using this knowledge, we will discuss some of the classic works in neuroscience in visual perception, memory and emotion. This will be accompanied by some famous cases of patients demonstrating problems in these domains (e.g., people with agnosia or amnesia). Further topics will include the cognitive and neural processes involved in pain processing, the placebo effect, as well as spatial representation and navigation. This course targets students at the Bachelor level with no previous experience. The main requirement for this course is an open and critical mind. By the end of the course, the student will be able to identify the major brain structures and to explain the basic functioning of neurons as well as some of the fundamental principles of how our brain works. Students should have an understanding of the methods used to generate the various findings reported in the literature and the media. The course aims to enable and encourage the students to critically evaluate these findings, and what can and cannot be answered with neuroscience techniques. For each of the topics, students should be able to identify the phenomenon, give examples, and discuss one or two of the main theories explaining it.