Brain mechanisms underlying learning and memory.
Animals must learn to survive, and the brain is the learning machine that does the job. But how does it do it? In this paper, we investigate the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, with particular emphasis on the physiological, molecular and anatomical mechanisms. Model systems of study include the rodent hippocampus, cerebral cortex and amygdala, plus human studies.
|Paper title||Nervous System Plasticity|
|Teaching period||Full Year|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,256.92|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$5,151.03|
- Admission requires an average grade of at least B+ in 300-level PSYC papers and satisfactory performance in PSYC 311. For Neuroscience students, the prerequisites are met by completion of the requirements for a BSc in Neuroscience with an average grade of at least B+ in 300-level Neuroscience papers.
- Entry into Psychology 400 normally requires a major in Psychology, a B+ average or
higher in Psychology 300-level papers, and a pass in PSYC 311 Quantitative Methods.
We highly recommend that students have completed PSYC 310 and PSYC 352. Students from
other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.
For this paper, it is highly recommended that students have completed either PSYC 317, PHSL 341, PHSL 342, or equivalent.
- More information link
- View more information on the Department of Psychology's website
- Teaching staff
- Lecturer: Professor Cliff Abraham
- Paper Structure
- The paper will cover a range of topics related to learning and memory, including:
- Signal transduction
- Hippocampal physiology
- Long-term potentiation and long-term depression
- Fragile X syndrome
- Synaptic plasticity
- Neuromodulation of plasticity
- Fear conditioning
- Memory consolidation
- Alzheimer's disease
Assessment: 60% of the final grade is based on student presentations/seminars, an essay on a seminar topic, a test and a brief research proposal. 40% of the final grade is based on a three-hour final exam.
- Seminar 1 10%
- Seminar 2 15%
- Essay 15%
- Test 15%
- Research proposal 5%
- Final exam 40%
- Teaching Arrangements
- One 3-hour seminar per week (Wednesdays); full-year paper
- Readings will consist of original journal articles and reviews.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- Students who successfully complete the paper will develop
- The ability to read, critique and assimilate information from primary research articles and reviews pertaining to mechanisms of nervous system plasticity and memory
- In-depth knowledge of two topic areas on which seminars will be presented and one essay written, affording the basis on which to develop skills in critiquing experimental design and data
- A high standard of verbal communication skills
- The ability to identify a critical research controversy in the memory mechanism area and design an experimental plan for addressing this controversy
Internal assessment (60%) is based on student presentations, an essay on a seminar topic, a test, and a brief research proposal.