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PSYC438 Nervous System Plasticity in Health and Disease

The cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory across the brain, in both healthy and diseased states.

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 critically examine the neural mechanisms of learning and memory beyond synaptic plasticity, such as homeostatic plasticity, metaplasticity, intrinsic plasticity and neurogenesis. We also explore the evidence as to whether humans show synaptic or other plasticity, and how plasticity mechanisms become impaired in Alzheimer's disease.

Paper title Nervous System Plasticity in Health and Disease
Paper code PSYC438
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $653.49
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,757.23

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PSYC 474

Entry into Psychology 400-level 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 317 or equivalent. Students from other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.

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.


Professor Cliff Abraham

Teaching staff

Professor Wickliffe Abraham

Paper Structure

The paper covers three key themes:

- Novel memory storage mechanisms and regulators

- Mechanisms and behavioural relevance of long-term potentiation and long-term depression

- Mechanisms of memory and plasticity deficits in Alzheimer's disease

Learning Outcomes

Be able to understand, critically assess and discuss both orally and in written form the evidence regarding novel memory mechanisms in health and disease.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

None. Readings will be primary articles and reviews.

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 09:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41