The Neurobiology of Sensation and Perception

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 13, 2020 - July 24, 20207/13 - 7/24M-F 8:30A-11:20A; Week 1: W&F 12:30-3:05 & Week 2 M&W 12:30-3:05OpenKristin Scaplen

Course Description

Imagine for a moment what your world might be like if you could no longer see color, or taste the flavors of food you once enjoyed? Even more peculiar, what if instead of merely seeing color, you could feel, taste, and hear it? We spend the majority of our days exploring and interacting with the world around us. But how are we able to do this so effortlessly, while others struggle? In this course, we will explore the neurobiology of your five senses, and more, in an attempt to answer these questions.

We will start by exploring the brain and our ability to sense, perceive, and respond to stimuli using our sensory and motor systems. Students will learn the neuroanatomy of major sensory and motor systems as well as key concepts of sensory transduction and motor control. Among other experiments, students will have the opportunity to explore how sensory information is processed and coded by the nervous system using EEGs and EMGs to noninvasively recording their own electrical activity and invasively record electrical activity from different sensory systems of the cockroach. A final project will consist of students designing, executing, and analyzing their own experiment using EEG, EMG, or the beloved cockroach.

At course end, students will understand the neuroanatomy of the major sensory and motor systems and sensory transduction with in each of these systems, the process by which stimuli from the external world are transformed into signals the brain can understand. Students will also be able to compare different sensory systems and understand the similarities and differences. Finally, students will have an understanding of how neural activity is recorded experimentally and sensory information is coded by neural activity.

Prerequisites: There are no academic prerequisites required for this course, however, students should arrive with an interest in studying the brain and a willingness to participate in classroom activities and discussions.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBN0607
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders

Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2020; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.

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