Course Syllabus

Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness Lab B

DIS Logo

Pictures

Semester & Location:

Spring 2019 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Companion Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Neuroscience & Psychology

Faculty Members:

Claudia Carrara-Augustenborg, Ph. D.

Program Director:

Carla Caetano, Ph. D. - cca@dis.dk 

Program Assistant: 

Aidan Mahony - amah@dis.dk 

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays  08:30-11:25, N7 - C25

Course Information and Purpose

1. Course Description

Prerequisite: One semester of neuroscience, physiological psychology, biological psychology, or cognitive psychology at a university level.

 

Co-requisite: Enrollment in Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness

 

A required course for students enrolled in The Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness (Core Course). During the course, students will work in groups of 4 to design, develop and carry on an experimental study within the field of cognitive neuroscience with specific focus on conscious and unconscious perceptual mechanisms. All studies will be computer-based and aim at collecting quantitative, behavioral data: this will allow students to get well acquainted with experimental paradigms such as E-Prime and PsyScopy. Class work will consist of supervision regarding research activities and selected topics relative to research, e.g. data analysis, methods and methodologies, and ethical aspects of research. Throughout the semester students will present the various stages of their work to the other groups in order to collect feedback and to jointly evaluate the strengths and weakness of their respective projects. All studies will be presented at the scientific symposium that will take place at the end of the semester.

 

2. Learning Objectives 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the main methods employed in the field of cognitive neuroscience
  • Discuss strengths and weakness of different experimental designs on the psychological, behavioral, and cognitive components of consciousness and perception.
  • Carry on a small-scale experimental study
  • Adequately present, and discuss own experimental data
  • Acknowledge the ethical principles at the basis of psychological research

 

3. Instructor Information

Instructor:

Claudia Carrara-Augustenborg, Ph.D., M.Sc. Psychology

Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and M.Sc Psychology (Major in Clinical and Neuropsychology). Interests are focused on the neural mechanisms that mediate and modulate human consciousness and subjective perception, and on the functional and neural distinctions between conscious and unconscious cognitive and emotional processes. With DIS since 2013.

 

Lab Assistant:  

BJ Ajida

Email: bjajida@gmail.com

  

4. Course Components/Readings

Textbooks:

  • Harrington, M. (2011).

The Design of Experiments in Neuroscience, Second Edition, Sage Pub.

  • Field, A. (2013). Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics, 4th edition, Sage Eds. ISBN 9781446249185.

 

Peer reviewed articles (Canvas):

  • Guo et al. (2013). Unconsciously learning task-irrelevant perceptual sequences. In Consciousness & Cognition Mar;22(1):203-11.
  • Sklar et al. (2012). Reading and doing arithmetic unconsciously. In PNAS |November 27, vol. 109, 48, 1-6.
  • Hesselmann & Moors (2015). Definitely maybe: can unconscious processes perform the same functions as conscious processes? In Front Psychol. May 6;6:584, pp. 1-5.
  • Coltheart, M., Davelaar, E., Jonasson, J. T., & Besner, D. (1977). Access to the internal lexicon. In S. Dornic (Ed.), Attention and performance VI (pp. 535–555). New York: Academic Press.
  •  Koster, Crombez, Van Damme, Verschuere, De Houwer (2004). Does imminent threat capture and hold attention? In Emotion. Sep;4(3):312-7.
  • Students will select 200 pages of additional literature to be read during the course (literature list will have to be approved by course instructor, See Course Schedule for due date).

 

5. Approach to Teaching

Class work will consist of supervision (both individual groups and in plenum), peer-feedback meetings and lectures. During lectures, all topics relative to the research carried on at the lab (e.g. ethics, methods, and methodologies in consciousness studies) will be thoroughly examined.

This course is taught by using a combination of short lectures with a focus on students’ research activities, class room discussions and critical reflection, data analysis and interpretation of results. More so, students will be presenting and assessing own research projects in the classroom: plenum discussions and peer-feedback will constitute an important learning platform. The instructor is responsible for encouraging connections between theory and practice as well as facilitating critical reflection throughout the process from early methodological design considerations to the finished product.

 

6. Expectations of the Students

Class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to have done the reading for each class and to come with notes and questions for the teacher and for the other students. This will give additional material to generate classroom conversation on topics and issues of specific relevance to the ongoing experimental projects. It is also expected that during classes the students are able to discuss and to present topics, to respond questions and to scientifically support their points. Finally, it is expected that students hand in their assignment on time (late papers will not be accepted) and that they contribute significantly to planned group activities.

 

7. Assignments and Evaluation

Assignments

 

How Evaluated

Due Date

Percentage of Grade

Participation and Attendance

(includes contributions during peer-feedback)

Individual

Throughout the course

25%

Outline of Project Plan

Group based

Feb. 14th

5%

Progress reports and relevant material (based on research log book and research design documents)

Individual

Feb. 21st

Feb. 28th

April 4th

April 11th

4 X 10% = 40%

Final Manuscript

Individual

May 2nd

25%

Poster Presentation

Group based

April 30th

5%

Total

 

 

100%

 

Participation and Attendance (25%):

Since class participation is a major component of the course, you will need to be present and participating to receive full credit. Class participation is to be understood as:

  • critically evaluating research designs and hypotheses
  • asking relevant questions that show understanding of the material – with tentative considerations/conclusions
  • being prepared for class and be ready to answer questions when asked
  • discussing implications as regards practical application and/or future research considerations
  • contributing to class activities

 

Outline of Project Plan (5%):

Due Date: Thursday Feb. 14th

The group will produce a short but clear delineation of the topic for their research project, stating which methods will be applied, why each method is chosen, how it will contribute to the project as a whole as well as an outline of how the data driven research process will allow the team to work towards a paper abstract containing a motivated hypothesis.

 

Progress Reports (4 x 10% = 40%):

Due Date: See above

The group will produce an overviews of how, when and where the methods were applied, what the findings were as well as how these relate to the overarching research hypothesis. The final progress will also contain the data driven, motivated hypothesis.

 

The progress reports are bundled with any relevant documents or products that may highlight the research process, i.e. minds maps, flow charts, drafts for questionnaires, finished questionnaires etc.

 

Each group member will clearly delineate own contribution to the whole for individual grade.

 

Final Manuscript (25%; 7-10 pages. 1 1/12 spaced and excluding cover & reference page):

Due Date: May 2nd

Using the lay out and content of an academic publication the paper will – in brief - present the applied methods and their application, but mainly focus on the initial research question and the data that relates to the motived hypothesis, presenting findings and offering critical discussion and reflection on the actual findings. Each group member will clearly delineate own contribution to the whole for individual grade.

 

Poster Presentation (5%):

Due Date: April 30th

All groups will present a poster at the DIS Showcase, highlighting specifically interesting findings, key quotes and research design considerations and answer questions from the audience.

 

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class all of the assigned work must be completed.

In addition to the academic content of the written assignments(s), focus will also be placed on the structure, use of appropriate academic language, and writing skills.

 

8. Policies

Attendance:

You are expected to attend all DIS classes when scheduled.  If you miss a class for any reason, please contact the faculty no later than the day of the missed class. If you miss multiple classes the Director of Teaching and Learning, and the Director of Student Affairs will be notified and they will follow-up with you to make sure that all is well.  Absences will jeopardize your grade and your standing at DIS.  Allowances will be made in cases of illness or religious holidays, but in the case of multiple absences you will need to provide a doctor’s note.

Academic Honesty, Plagiarism, and Violating the Rules of an Assignment:
DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others.  Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of “F” and can result in dismissal. The students’ home universities will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software. See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions.


Policy on Late Papers:

Late essays will be accepted for up to 3 days after the deadline, but the grade for the paper will be reduced by half a grade for each day that it is late.

 

Policy for Students Who Arrive Late to Class:

Please come to classes on time as it is disturbing for the lecturer and other students. Repeated lateness will result in a referral to the head of the Teaching and Learning department.

Use of Laptops or Phones in Class:

Computers and iPhones are allowed in class PURELY for academic purposes (e.g. note taking, literature searching, data handling purposes). In case of other private uses such as Facebook, emails or internet surfing, it will have a very negative impact on your participation grade. Cell phones are to be shut off during class and texting/SMS'ing, etc. during class is strictly forbidden.

Disability and Resource Statement: 

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support (acadsupp@dis.dk) to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.

 

Course Summary:

Date Details