Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session
- To provide a systematic introduction to the mammalian nervous system, emphasizing the structural and functional organization of the human brain.
- To expose students to the field of neuroscience and some of the neuroscientists at MIT.
This course begins with the study of nerve cells: their structure, the propagation of nerve impulses and transfer of information between nerve cells, the effect of drugs on this process, and the development of nerve cells into the brain and spinal cord. We then move to the sensory systems such as olfaction, hearing, and vision and discuss how physical energy such as light is converted into neural signals, where these signals travel in the brain, and how they are processed. Next we study the control of voluntary movement. Finally, we cover the neurochemical bases of brain diseases and those systems which control motivation, emotion, learning and memory.
Bear, Mark F., Barry W. Connors, and Michael A. Paradiso. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. ISBN: 9780781760034. [Preview in Google Books.]
It will be assumed by the lecturers that you have read the assigned readings before class, and you will be examined on material covered in the reading assignments. Warning: the reading assignments are substantial; do not put them off until just prior to an exam!
Exams, Problem Sets, and Grades
There will be three problem sets. Collaboration is allowed. However, you must write up your answers independently, and document the names of your collaborators on your writeup.
Exams will include multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions and will cover the material presented in lecture and in the assigned reading unless Prof. Bear or Prof. Seung state otherwise.
Please note: Late problem sets will not be accepted. There are no make-up exams!
|Quiz - anatomy (in class Week #7)||10%|
|Participation in recitation discussions||5%|
|WEEK #||TOPICS||LECTURERS||KEY DATES|
|Part 1: Neurons|
|2||Cellular neuroanatomy: neurons and glia||Bear|
|Neurophysiology 1: resting potential||Bear|
|3||Neurophysiology 2: action potential||Bear||Problem set 1 due|
|Synaptic transmission 1: physiology||Bear|
|4||Synaptic transmission 2: chemistry||Cooke|
|Part 2: Neural systems|
|5 (cont.)||Organization of the vertebrate brain||Graybiel|
|6||Vision 1: the eye||Seung|
Vision 2: thalamus and V1 cortex
|Vision 3: beyond V1||Seung|
|8||Hearing||Seung||Problem set 2 due|
|9||Motor system 1||Seung|
|Motor system 2||Seung|
|Part 3: Brain and behavior|
|11||Chemical control of brain 1||Bear|
|13||Chemical control of brain 2 motivation||Bear|
|Learning and memory 1||Seung|
|14||Attention||Desimone||Problem set 3 due|
|Learning and memory 2||Seung|