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    Examination of neural basis of perception and behaviour in animals. Advantages and limitations of a simple systems approach for studying brain function.

    All nervous systems, including ours, have evolved from simpler nervous systems that appeared around 540 million years ago. Therefore, studying simpler nervous systems (e.g. of insects) facilitates our understanding of more complex nervous systems (e.g. of humans). We will review classical and modern neuroethological approaches. Additionally, students will train their scientific skills by building and analysing neural networks (no coding experience required) and performing behavioral experiments with insects.

    About this paper

    Paper title Neurobiology and Behaviour
    Subject Zoology
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,448.79
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Teaching staff

    Dr Paul Szyszka

    Dr Bart Geurten

    Paper Structure

    Taught in small group tutorials. We discuss key publications and learn how to create simple computer models of neural systems and how to design and perform behavioural experiments. The paper is 100% internally assessed (based on a data analysis and statistics report (will be practised with a formative, non-graded sample report), research project report, and an expression of interest for Marsden grant proposal).

    Textbooks are not required for this paper.
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    1. Develop scientific research skills and academic writing to a professional standard

    2. Develop critical and reflective thinking, especially in the domain of neuroscience

    3. Gain a deep understanding of neural circuits and their components

    4. Gain practical experience with the advantages and limitations of computer models

    5. Gain practical experience with building your own equipment and setups

    6. Work individually to source information and to communicate knowledge and ideas effectively in writing and verbally


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 13:00-15:50 29-35, 37-42
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