W3480Y: FUNDAMENTALS OF COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

Semester: SPRING 2003
Meeting Time: TUESDAYS, 10:10am-12noon

Course Prerequisites: W1010 or W2450 and instructor's permission.

Instructor: Jennifer A. Mangels
Office Hours: THURSDAYS, 2-4pm, rm. 316, or by appointment (x4-7560)
Email: mangels@psych.columbia.edu


The field of cognitive neuropsychology serves as an interface between cognitive psychology (the study of information processing) and neuroscience (the study of the physical brain). In this course, we first will examine traditionally-defined topics in cognitive psychology (e.g., visual perception, attention, executive function, memory, motor control, language, consciousness), and address: (a) how available cognitive theories have shaped the investigation of cognitive disorders in brain damaged patients, and (b) how the resulting neurological data has shaped (or reshaped) cognitive theory. Although the focus of this course will be on findings from studies of cognitive disorders in patients with localized brain damage, we will also seek converging evidence from complementary techniques that allow examination mind-brain relationships in normal individuals, including functional neuroimaging (e.g., PET, fMRI) and neuromonitoring (e.g., ERP).


GRADING


READINGS
CLICK HERE FOR SYLLABUS & WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS (including .pdf articles)

Primary Text:

The Handbook of Cognitive Neuropsychology: What Deficits Reveal About the Human Mind (2001). Edited by Brenda Rapp. Psychology Press: Philadelphia. Books can be ordered directly from Psychology Press (www.psypress.com) or from Amazon.com. Photocopies of the relevant chapters will also be available in the Psychology Library.

Each week by Thursday morning (12 p.m.), the next week's readings (selected chapters from the Handbook, plus empirical articles) and weekly questions (to guide your reading) will be posted on the website and put on reserve in the PSYCH LIBRARY (4th floor Schermerhorn Hall). Two copies of each article will be on reserve. Articles can be photocopied in the library. It may be possible to download some articles (.pdf format) from e-journals on the CU website. If you are not familiar with how to do this, please let me know.


HELPFUL WEB LINKS FOR IMPROVING/REFRESHING YOUR NEUROANATOMY

GENERAL ANATOMY:  http://www9.biostr.washington.edu:80/cgi-bin/DA/PageMaster?atlas:Neuroanatomy+ffpathIndex/Splash^Page+2

GLOSSARY OF NEUROSCIENCE AND PSYCHOLOGY TERMS: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/gloss.html

SEARCH ENGINE FOR NEUROSCIENCE LINKS OF INTEREST: http://www.neuroguide.com/

FREE MEDLINE FOR DOING REFERENCES SEARCHES: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

back to top


COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Weekly written assignments (50%). To guide your reading of the weekly assigned articles, you will be given a short set of questions (2-4) concerning the reading material for the upcoming class. You should read each of the questions, use them as guides for your reading, and be prepared to discuss them in the following class.

     
    You are only required to provide a written response to ONE of these questions.
    Your response should be about 1-2 pages, 12 pt type, with reasonable margins (no text cramming please - my eyes are not that good!). Your grade will be based on how thoroughly and thoughtfully you answer the question. Writing style and readability count too, however. In other words, the information in the answer must be well organized and the writing should be typo-free (please proofread!). However, I stress that these assignments need only be based on the assigned readings and are not expected to be research papers. These questions primarily are designed to help you synthesize the material and stimulate critical thinking.

    You are also required tosubmit at least one "question" of your own about that topic.
    This question should not simply request clarification of a detail from one of the papers (e.g., What does the graph on page 4 mean?), although these types of questions are welcome during class time. Rather, your submitted question should demonstrate a deeper understanding of the strengths and weakness of the research in the assigned readings and consider possibilities for extensions and future research (e.g., Could the memory deficit demonstrated by patient MR be accounted for by a deficit in attention?). Particularly good questions are those that could be the basis for a research project.

    The typed and stapled assignments are to be turned in at the end of class. During class, you can discuss questions that came up while reading the articles, including the question you generated for the assignment.

    Assignments will be assigned number grades according to the thoughtfulness, creativity and clarity conveyed in your answer and question. Remember, spelling and grammar do count. Late assignments will not be accepted.

    You can drop your two lowest assignment grades and you do not have to submit one of these assignments during the week that you are presenting.

back to top
Class presentation (40%). All class members are responsible for acting as discussion facilitator for one weekly topic during the semester. Undergraduates can present in teams of 2; graduate students will present solo.
    Typically, presentations will take the form of a brief review of the main issues from the assigned readings (30-45 minutes; the assignment questions can be used as a guide) integrated with critical questions for open discussion which will constitute the remainder of the class time. Supplementing this presentation with less conventional approaches to the material (e.g., debates, demonstrations, and videos) is strongly encouraged. For some topics I have some supplemental materials that I can provide you (case studies, demonstrations of neuropsychological tests).

    You are required to meet with me twice regarding your presentation.

    The first meeting will take place approximately 1 week prior to your presentation.

    You should come to the first meeting prepared with 3 things.
     

      (1) You should have read the assigned readings for your topic, so that we can discuss them.
      (2) You should have done some library research to identify additional related articles that you might read to supplement your presentation.
      (3) You should submit a question that could be used for the weekly class assignment. During our meeting I will discuss the readings with you, and help you to refine your reading list and assignment question.


    The second meeting will take place the week of the presentation. During this meeting, we will discuss the organizational plan for your presentation and I can provide you with whatever supplementary materials that might be appropriate. The more prepared you are for this meeting, the more constructive the help that I can give you.

Class participation (10%). Everyone is expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned articles and to contribute to the group learning process. The weekly assignments are designed to help you prepare for this aspect of the class.
Although most presentations will start out as somewhat lecture-like, they are mainly designed to be a set-up of the main topics and identification of critical issues that require clarification and development by the group as whole. This does not mean that you always have to be saying something but, at the very least, I expect you to attend all classes, stay attentive and mindful for their entirety, attempt to answer some questions I pose and occasionally pose some of your own.
  back to top