Psychology 2205 - Behavioural Neuroscience
This was a new unit in 2007, created as part of the Psychology course restructure.
The unit title, Behavioural Neuroscience, is a bit misleading. Most of the lecture material does cover psychological neuroscience, focusing on perception (particularly pain, aural and visual). If you don't understand the stuff that DaveVanValkenburg says in the first few lectures, don't panic, it's totally unexaminable (though interesting). However, there is also some methods material thrown in (similar to what was taught in PsychologyPSYC2203 in 2006) - psychophysics and signal detection.
Finally, the bulk of the tutes and the in-semester assessment centres around the scientific literature. In the first few weeks, you start by reading and discussing a couple of papers which are poor science and/or confusing. Then, you select your advanced topic.
The advanced topic is something that you need to read at least a dozen papers on by the end of the semester, so pick something interesting. It's important that it's linked to neuroscience and/or perception, so pick something interesting and let your tutor tell you if it's a bad idea. It might be a good plan to actually have two or three topics for the initial approval in about week five.
From your advanced topic, you are required to derive four things:
- a preliminary approval from your tutor - have a couple of papers on hand and a general idea of the direction you want to go
- a topic report - a magazine article-style overview of the topic (3-5 references required)
- a 15 minute oral presentation on the topic
- the behemoth, a 2400-word literature review, with 12-15 contemporary references
The lit review is the hardest part, and you can't read too many papers. Try not to fall into the trap of writing a recap of everything the papers have written - you actually need to analyse them.
The library only had one copy of the major textbook (Mather), so buy a copy because the readings are apparently really important.
Classes are light on - two lectures and a two-hour lab most weeks.
The exam sticks word-for-word to the unit syllabus, use this to direct your revision.
Overall, this unit is well taught and a useful learning exercise. Like most second-year units, the workload is higher and the material is a bit more challenging.