Sensory Systems Course
The neural bases of sensory perception.
This course examines the neural bases of visual and auditory processing for perception and sensorimotor control, focusing on physiological and anatomical studies of the mammalian nervous system as well as behavioral studies of animals and humans. Visual pattern, color and depth perception, auditory responses and speech coding, and spatial localization are studied.
The first thirteen lectures are devoted to the organization of the visual system and eye-movement control. Topics covered during those lectures are: the retina, the lateral geniculate nucleus and the visual cortex, the parallel channels of the visual system, the processing of color, motion, depth and form, and the neural control of visually guided eye movements. The ten lectures that follow the midterm exam focus on audition. At the end of the semester, the last two sessions will provide an overview of the auditory and visual systems.
Course Goals for Students
The goal of the course was for students to obtain a thorough understanding of the concepts outlined in the course overview. Students acquired an extensive vocabulary of terms describing anatomy and physiology for both systems. One skill acquired during the course was for students to be able to read original research reports that covered recent findings in vision and audition. A final goal was to be able to compare visual and auditory processing in the respective centers of the brain.
Possibilities for Further Study/Careers
Most of these students go on to graduate school in some aspect of neuroscience or to medical school.