RES.9-003 | Summer 2015 | Graduate

Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Course


Tutorial 1. Basic Neuroscience

Tutorial Overview

Diagram of human brain with two arrows emerging from  the rear (occipital lobe). The ventral stream goes to the side, along the temporal lobe, and the dorsal stream goes toward the top of the brain. The two-streams hypothesis distinguishes two processing pathways in the brain: The ventral stream (also known as the “what pathway”) shown in purple and the dorsal stream (also known as the “where” pathway") shown in green. (Image © Wikipedia user Selket. License CC BY-SA. This content is excluded from our Creative Commons license. For more information, see

This tutorial first introduces basic neuroscience concepts, including the structure of neurons and how they communicate information, brain anatomy and the dorsal / ventral visual pathways, and methods for probing the behavior of neural circuits. It then explores the nature of processing along the ventral pathway that is involved in visual recognition.

Unit Activities

Useful Background

  • No background is needed for this tutorial

Videos and Slides

Further Study

Basic neuroscience concepts and methods are introduced in several courses published on MIT OpenCourseWare, including 9.00SC Introduction to Psychology taught by John Gabrieli, 9.01 Introduction to Neuroscience taught by Mark Bear and Sebastian Seung, 9.04 Sensory Systems taught by Peter Schiller and Christian Brown, and 9.10 Cognitive Neuroscience taught by Suzanne Corkin.

An online search for any of the topics covered in this tutorial will yield many pointers to useful background material. The Society for Neuroscience hosts an Education Resources in Neuroscience portal that contains extensive online resources for teaching and learning neuroscience. Educational resources can also be found on this Neuroscience Resource Guide page at Psychology Degree Guide website.

Course Info

As Taught In
Summer 2015
Learning Resource Types
Other Video
Lecture Videos
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