9.10 | Spring 2006 | Undergraduate
Cognitive Neuroscience

Assignments

Assignments include a journal article presentation (10 slides), short synopses of journal articles presented by students, and an optional 10-15 page paper.

Final Papers

Things to remember about this assignment:

Focus on brain-behavior relationships.

Critically analyze your source information, don’t just summarize it.

As you review your research, identify open issues (particularly ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions) and address them by looking at additional research articles and/or analyzing the information you have gathered.

Suggested Paper Topics

You can choose one of these topics for your paper or make up one of your own, but if you come up with your own topic, please run it by Prof. Corkin and the Teaching Assistant before you begin.

  • Subcortical neurotransmitter systems of arousal.
  • Neural basis of sign language (Science papers by Bellugi and Corina).
  • Role of the cerebellum in language computations.
  • Neural basis of working memory in monkeys and humans.
  • Role of the cerebellum in cognition.
  • Neural substrates for implicit memory.
  • Sleep and dreaming.
  • Mechanisms of attention.
  • Effects of stress on the brain.
  • Hemispheric specialization for language.
  • Hemispheric specialization in animal.
  • Behavioral effects of callosotomy.
  • Neurotransmitter-behavior correlations, e.g., acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine.
  • Sex differences in brain organization, e.g., Doreen Kimura’s research.
  • Relation between sexual orientation and brain organization.
  • Mechanisms of phantom limb phenomena.
  • Do the parallel visual channels interact?
  • Primate models of amnesia: contribution of specific medial temporal-lobe areas.
  • Rewiring the brain: Can your auditory cortex “see”? (Mriganka Sur’s work on vision/audition).
  • Resolving the imagery debate: do we think in pictures or in propositions? (Kosslyn, Pylyshyn, Shepard, Pinker on mental imagery).
  • William’s syndrome and its implications for cognitive architecture (Bellugi, Carey).
  • Genetic studies of language: specific language impairment; Down’s syndrome; handedness and parsing (e.g., Bever’s work on handedness; Dorothy Bishop).
  • Is categorical perception relevant to the perception of emotion? Are there categories of emotion? (Etcoff).
  • Evolution of cognition: are cognitive faculties the result of specific evolutionary changes or a consequence of general increase in brain size? (e.g., Pinker and Bloom).
  • Neurolinguistic analysis of aphasia.
  • Semantically specific deficits.
  • Blindsight (Weiskrantz, Cowey).
  • Crossed aphasia (right-hemisphere language representation).
  • Spatial neglect.
  • Role of the cerebellum in timing.
  • Movement parameters coded by individual neurons in cortex.
  • Functions of the basal ganglia.
  • The apraxias.
  • Right-hemiphere language functions in the typical right-hander.
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
assignment Written Assignments