Neuroscience of Fear
|Semester & Location:||
Spring 2020 - DIS Copenhagen
|Type & Credits:||
Elective Course - 3 credits
Biomedicine/Biotechnology, Neuroscience, Psychology
One year of biology or one semester of Introduction to Neuroscience, Physiological Psychology, or Biological Psychology at the university level
Bettina Hornbøll Borch
|Time & Place:||Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:40-13:00, V10-B24|
Bettina Hornbøll Borch
Ph.D. (Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, 2017), MSc. (Neurobiology, University of Copenhagen, 2006), BA (Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2004). Founder of CogniCation; cognitive communication. Has been conducting neuroscience research for approx. 10 years, investigating emotion processing in the brain using imaging. With DIS since 2012.
This course examines neuroscience with a molecular approach. Humans share brain structures controlling the fear response with other mammals, birds, and reptiles. These structures have been evolutionarily preserved because fear helps protect us from danger, injury, and death. Although we are now further removed from the dangerous elements of nature, our primal fear instincts remain. We will examine the neurobiological, psychological, as well as evolutionary aspects of the fear response, and consider how it ties into decision-making in our everyday lives. We will examine this set of issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, synthesizing recent work from the fields of biology, psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.
Expected Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course students will be able to:
- Explain functioning of the brain in general terms, in particular with respect to the fear system
- Describe several theories and concepts of emotion, especially fear
- Identify fear in an evolutionary, biological, philosophical, and psychological sense
- Discuss the influence of fear in everyday life as well as how fear is a component of several common dysfunctional behaviors
Field studies serve to complement your course work by placing you in other contexts than class in order to compare, extend, and rethink what has been (or will be) read and discussed in class.
Expectations of Students & Code of Conduct
- Laptops or other electronic devices are not allowed to be open, or used for note taking, in the classroom unless agreed upon for specified tasks.
- Reading must be done prior to the class session; as a huge part of the class is dependent on discussions in class, it is crucial for your learning to be prepared before each class.
- You will need to be present and participating to receive full credit. Your grade will be deducted for unexcused absences and lack of participation. Remember to be in class on time!
- Classroom etiquette includes being respectful of one another’s opinions, listening to others, and entering a dialogue in a constructive manner, as well as asking any questions you might have in regards to the material covered.
- Extensions: There will be no extensions. Any exceptions must be accompanied by prior agreement with me. Late work will not be accepted. It will not be possible to rewrite or edit any written assignments after the deadline.
Assignments, Evaluation, and Grading
Engagement & Participation
Group presentation of research paper (Group grade)
Research project: Written part
Research project: Oral part
Exams during the semester
To be eligible for a passing grade in this, class you must complete all of the assigned work.
Approach to Teaching
A big part of the class will be spent in small groups discussing the material. It is therefore crucial that students come prepared for class in order to be able to contribute to both group debates and class discussions. The students are expected to be engaged and participate in an interactive way by contributing with questions, opinions, and explanations both in groups and individually.
Engagement & Participation
You will need to be present and actively participating to receive full credit (see “Approach to teaching”). Class engagement is to be understood as critically evaluating: (a) the models/hypotheses suggested in readings (b) asking relevant questions to get a broader knowledge of the material (c) being prepared for class ready to answer questions when asked (d) discussing implications as regards to practical application and/or future research considerations (e) handing in evaluations of reading material
Three exams throughout the semester
Throughout the semester there will be three exams, containing questions of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions based on class readings and discussions. All exams will be electronic.
Group presentation and discussion in class
The presentations should have a logical and clear structure, provide relevant background information, explain the methods used, present the original data in a clear and interesting way, briefly discuss the findings in relation to previous research, and state the conclusions and perspectives of the results. The background information should include a short introduction to fear in general and an overview of the research topic in question.
Presentation (group grade)
Only to be made by the ONE group presenting
- Presentation in class
- Followed by a scientific discussion with the class after your presentation, where you will answer questions from the class related to your research paper
- Present scientific article (see ‘course schedule’ to find the article you are presenting): Introduction, Background, Method, Main Findings/Points of paper, Conclusion.
- Implement your answers to questions from other groups into the presentation.
- Why is this article important for this area of research?
- Relate the findings to the theme
- Why is this an important/interesting field of science?
- Manage scientific discussion.
Questions for presenting group (part of Presentation grade)
Each member of the group responsible for asking questions to the presenting group will upload a minimum of one question, ONE WEEK in advance of the group presentation.
The questions should relate to the material presented by the group.
Debate group for group presentation (part of Presentation grade)
The debate group will be prepared to ask the presenting group questions about the presentation itself, about the paper being presented, or questions in general relating to the material being presented. It is important that the debate group is as prepared when they show up for class as the presenting group in order for a good discussion to be carried out.
The purpose of the research project is to give you experience and practice in doing research on a scientific concept/mechanism/disorder (mental/neurological) related to “Neuroscience of Fear” and communicating the information to a general audience (like yourselves). You have to find the appropriate literature and make scientific conclusions based on results of research projects. In a field of research, it is important to not only being able to find valuable information, but also to communicate the findings. Therefore this project will combine these two challenges by consisting of a written and an oral part.
Each student is to make a review paper, based on scientific articles on a topic, drawn from the primary literature (i.e., not review articles, Wikipedia, etc.).
Based on the experience from group presentations in class during the semester, each student will present the main finding of their own research project in class.
Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:
DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia - www.DISabroad.org
Kathrine Whitman Program Assistant, email@example.com
Susana Dietrich, Science & Health Program Director
Science & Health Office: Vestergade 7-37
We will primarily be using scientific articles combined with book chapters when appropriate. All reading material will be made available on Canvas prior to class.
- The app “iSurf Brainview Desktop” which can be downloaded for free from the apple app store has a general reference for brain structures and functions. Apple app store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/genre/ios/id36?mt=8
- http://www.thehumanbrain.info is a web page in relation to a book of the same name, and contains all kinds of interesting and useful information about the human brain.
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