Science Course Outline 2016

We will discuss the different aspects of behaviour inhibition – different forms of inhibition, neural control sites and how neurotransmitters influenc...

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The Neuroscience of Behavioural Control Course Outline – page 1

Downing - Keio Summer School 2016 Strand A: Stopping and Starting: The Neuroscience of Behavioural Control Course Outline This lecture series covers a range of topics that investigate how the brain controls behaviour. In particular we will study how the brain initiates behaviour and how the brain stops this behaviour. We will consider which regions of the brain, and which chemical messengers, are important for this behavioural control. We will discuss how to measure the functions of the brain and how these measures can be used to investigate important components of behaviour – motivation, arousal, impulsivity and compulsive action. Finally, we will look at a range of brain disorders to study how behavioural control fails in patients with disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction, and how patient care might be improved by understanding the behavioural control processes that underlie their symptoms. The second half of the course will examine the phenomenon of memory on a number of different levels of analysis, from the psychological to the molecular biological. The course will begin by describing the phenomenon of memory, and by introducing the wide range of experimental techniques that can be used to study memory processes. We will then study in more detail the different subtypes of long- term memory and their neurobiological bases. From this point onwards, the molecular basis of long- term memory will be emphasised, considering how memories become stored in the brain and how this can explain patterns of amnesia. The course will finish by considering short-term, or ‘working’, memory, and how information can be remembered or forgotten. Lecture 1. Measuring the brain. This lecture will introduce basic brain structure and some of the regions of the brain that are important for behavioural control. We will study different techniques used to measure activity and function in human and non-human brains. Lecture 2. Changing brain function. We will discuss how scientists and clinicians can change brain function and the reasons for doing this. We will start to study the neurochemistry of the brain and how it might be possible to change brain activity using drugs.

The Neuroscience of Behavioural Control Course Outline – page 2 Lectures 3. & 4. Motivation and arousal. The hypothalamus and amygdala are important regulatory structures in the brain that control behaviour. This lecture gives an introduction to the importance of these brain structures during the regulation of basic behaviour, such as eating and drinking. We will discuss how our understanding of neural control of behaviour has changed over the past decades. Lectures 5. & 6. Impulsivity and compulsivity. In these lectures we will discuss behavioural control from the viewpoint of inhibition – how we can stop ourselves from behaving incorrectly or inappropriately. We will discuss the different aspects of behaviour inhibition – different forms of inhibition, neural control sites and how neurotransmitters influence inhibition or stopping. Regions of the cortex and basal ganglia in the brain are very important targets for research into the neural basis of impulsivity and compulsivity. We will discuss what studies of these brain regions tell us about behavioural control. Lectures 7. & 8. Disorders of behavioural control. In the final two lectures, we will study what happens when behavioural control goes wrong. Using examples from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (OCD), Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction, we will evaluate how we can use our knowledge of behavioural control mechanisms to understand the symptoms of brain illness. We will discuss why it is important to understand brain dysfunction in order to design new and more-effective treatments for these diseases. Lecture 9. will be an introduction to memory, considering how memory may be divided in terms of its duration, capacity, and function. Students will be introduced to the different types of techniques used to study memory, including those used historically and those currently available. Lecture 10. students will begin to focus on the ‘explicit’ or ‘declarative’ subtype of long-term memory, by considering the patient HM and his profound amnesia. Discussion of other patients will allow students to refine their understanding of the neurobiological basis of declarative memory. Lecture 11. will continue to examine long-term memory, but extend the analysis to the ‘implicit’ or ‘non-declarative’ subtype. Students will learn about the psychological and neurobiological basis of pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, motor skill learning and perceptual priming. They will also consider the ways in which these processes influence their behaviour in everyday life. In Lecture 12. we will re-examine HM’s deficits, particularly his graded retrograde amnesia, to think

The Neuroscience of Behavioural Control Course Outline – page 3 about what that tells us about how memories are persistently stored in the brain. Students will consider different views of ‘systems-level consolidation’, including the standard model and Nadel & Moscovitch’s ‘multiple trace theory’. Lecture 13. the students will continue to consider the consolidation of long-term memories, but at a different level of analysis. We will discuss ‘cellular-level consolidation’, the process by which a memory is initially stored in the brain, before subsequently undergoing systems-level consolidation. We will examine whether the physiological process of ‘long-term potentiation’ (LTP) is the process through which memories are consolidated at the cellular level. Lecture 14. we will question whether memories really are permanently stored within the brain, and will discuss the process of ‘memory reconsolidation’, which likely exists to update memories and maintain their relevance to behaviour. Lecture 15. we will discuss Baddeley & Hitch’s model of working memory, and attempt to relate this psychological model to the known dependence of working memory on the prefrontal cortex. I Lecture 16. we will consider what happens when information is remembered, and what underlies the process of forgetting.

Reading List (preparatory reading) Chapters 62 (Kandel, Kupfermann & Iversen, ‘Learning and memory’) and 63 (Kandel, ‘Cellular mechanisms of learning and the biological basis of individuality’) in Principles of Neural Science, 4


edition, (2000) edited by E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz & T.M. Jessell, McGraw-Hill.

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (2007) by E.R. Kandel, W.W. Norton & Co. Chapters 6 (‘Learning, memory and forgetting’), 7 (‘Long-term memory systems’) and 8 (‘Everyday memory’) in Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook, 6 M.T. Keane, Psychology Press.


edition (2010) by M.W. Eysenck &