This course offers students some fundamentals in psychophysiology, encompassing the fields of psychology and cognitive and behavioural neurosciences. The course provides an understanding of physiological processes relevant to the study of psychology. Areas of study include neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, physiological responses to memory, emotions, and cognition, and brain disorders. Psychophysiology also looks at the use of biological recording technology relevant to the study of cognition and behaviour.
This course aims at giving a better understanding on:
a) the biological processes applicable to behavioral neuroscience;
b) the structure and functions of the nervous system;
c) the methods to investigate the brain;
d) the basis of cognitive processes in humans;
e) the main pathological changes (neuropsychological) of these processes, caused by injury or brain dysfunction.
At the end of this course students will have the knowledge and understanding of some key aspects of living matter and the brain basics of behavior.
The organization of living matter
- Atoms, ions, molecules, the main chemical bonds, water, salts, acids and bases, polar molecules, non-polar and amphipathic.
- Carbohydrates and polysaccharides, lipids (triglycerides, phosphoglycerides, steroids); fluid mosaic model of the membrane.
- Amino acids, peptide bond; structures primary, secondary, tertiary, and enzymes active site; regulation and inhibition of enzyme activity.
- Structure and DNA replication, RNA, genetic code, the processes of transcription and translation, mitosis, meiosis.
-The genetic heritage and the transmission of hereditary characteristics
- Genes, mutations, alleles, recombination and genetic mapping; variability of gene expression, chromosomal aberrations, chromosomal sex and its pathologies;
- Genes in populations; biological evolution, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism, evolution of Man.
- Structure and function of different types of cells in the nervous system, the mechanisms by which neurons detect changes in the environment, communicate them to other neurons and command the body's responses to sensations
- The general organization of the brain, the terms used to describe it and some notions related to brain development starting from the embryo, which will better help us to understand how the various parts of the adult brain are combined together
- The organization of the somatosensory systems, the visual, the acoustic-vestibular, the olfactory and the gustatory and the motor system.
- The evolution of the conceptions of the report "mind-brain", since the beginning of the'' 800 and how it is possible, starting from the behavior of brain-damaged patients and normal subjects, formulate hypotheses and models about the structure neuro-functional of mental processes.
- The methods behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging, which allow to investigate the brain basis of cognitive processes
- The neural and functional organization of the main processes of short-and long-term memory and their role in human cognition.
- The functional components and the neural basis of attentional processes, with particular reference to spatial attention
- The organization and function of neural processes that allow the perception and recognition of animate and inanimate objects.
- The processes that underlie action excetution, and their interaction with perception and motion control.
- The functional structure of neural and emotional processes, and the perception and expression of emotions.
- Bear M.F., Connors B.W. Paradiso M.A. “Neuroscienze. Esplorando il cervello” Edizione italiana: 2007 III. Edizioni Masson – Elsevier. capitoli 14-18-21-24
- Ladavas E., Berti A.M. “Neuropsicologia.” Edizioni Il Mulino. Capitoli: 2-3-6-7
- A cura di Carlo Umiltà “Manuale di Neuroscienze” Edizioni Il Mulino. capitoli: 4
The exercises consist of short-response questions. You may want to respond in a short (maximum 10 lines) and concise