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CODE 67249
ACADEMIC YEAR 2023/2024
CREDITS
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR M-PSI/02
LANGUAGE Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
SEMESTER 1° Semester
PREREQUISITES
Propedeuticità in uscita
Questo insegnamento è propedeutico per gli insegnamenti:
  • Psychological Sciences and Techniques 8751 (coorte 2023/2024)
  • ANATOMO PHYSIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE PSYCHICAL ACTIVITY 67249 2023
TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

OVERVIEW

The course aims to provide students with the main knowledge about the nervous system. The fundamental anatomical structures of the central and peripheral nervous systems will be described. The educational process progresses gradually and with a specific focus, starting with a detailed analysis of the anatomy and physiology of the neuron and then delving into the sensory and motor systems that underlie the complex organization of human behaviour.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course is aimed at providing the student with the main notions about the nervous system. The fundamental anatomical components of the central and peripheral nervous system will be described, from the neuron to the description of the most complex functional anatomical organizations that are the basis of cognitive and emotional functioning. In addition, information on brain pathologies will be provided.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Learning objective: Students will develop a solid knowledge and understanding of the nervous system. They will be able to accurately describe the structures of the central and peripheral nervous systems and comprehend their role in the overall functioning of human behaviour.

 

In-depth knowledge of the nervous system: Students will be able to describe the major structures related to the nervous system, including their anatomical components in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. They will accurately describe these structures and understand their role in the overall functioning of the nervous system.

Understanding the anatomy and physiology of the neuron: Students will acquire a detailed understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the neuron. They will be able to describe the structural and functional characteristics of nerve cells, as well as the fundamental mechanisms involved in neural signal transmission.

In-depth understanding of sensory systems: Students will be able to explain in detail the mechanisms by which the nervous system processes sensory information from the external environment. They will describe the structures involved in visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory perception and understand how these pieces of information are processed at the neural level.

Comprehension of motor systems: Students will be able to analyze the structures and mechanisms that regulate motor control. They will explain the neural pathways involved in voluntary and involuntary movement and understand the neurological basis of human motor behaviour.

Ability to understand the complex organization of human behaviour: Students will develop a deep understanding of the complex organization of human behaviour, based on the sensory and motor systems studied in the course. They will be able to recognize how neural structures and processes influence cognitive and emotional functioning, as well as behaviour regulation.

PREREQUISITES

Basic knowledge of cellular functioning.

TEACHING METHODS

Lectures and interactive sessions.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Basic knowledge of cellular functioning.

Functional Anatomy of the Nervous System (Purves Appendix)

Brain: Nomenclature (telencephalon, diencephalon, cerebellum, mesencephalon, pons, medulla oblongata); cortex; fissures; lobes; cortical areas and general functions: motor area, premotor area, primary and secondary somatosensory areas, visual area, auditory area, prefrontal area, insula. Deep structures of the brain: basal ganglia. Diencephalon: thalamus and hypothalamus. Brainstem: parts, major ascending and descending tracts, main centers or nuclei; functions. Reticular formation: location and functions. Spinal cord: macroscopic organization of white and gray matter. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) system: function, composition, production and reabsorption, cerebral ventricles, cerebral aqueduct, meninges, CSF circulation (choroid plexus, arachnoid villi).

 

Neurons and Neural Signal Transmission

Anatomy of neurons and glial cells: types and functions. Electrochemical mechanisms underlying the functioning of the nervous system (Purves Chapters 1 and 2). Resting potential (Purves Chapter 3). Action potential (Purves Chapter 4). Electrical and chemical synapses (Purves Chapter 4). Neurotransmitters: types and functions (Chapter 6).

 

The Occipital Lobe: Vision (Purves Chapters 11 and 12)

Brief anatomy of the eye. Anatomy of the retina (cellular organization). Functionality of the retina. Visual receptors: cones and rods. Scotopic, mesopic, and photopic vision. Phototransduction mechanisms. On-center and off-center cells. Magnocellular and parvocellular systems. Major anatomical stations of the visual pathway. Organization of the primary visual cortex. Organization of cortical visual pathways: "What" and "Where" pathways.

 

Auditory System (Purves Chapters 13 and 14)

Anatomy: external, middle, and inner ear; auditory ossicles: nomenclature, arrangement, function. Transmission of sound waves from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea; basilar membrane and its resonance frequencies at the apex and base of the cochlea; cells of the organ of Corti; stereocilia, tectorial membrane; signal transduction in the cells of Corti: role of cilia and changes in membrane potential. Decoding sound frequencies and intensities. Intensity scale of audible sounds. Auditory pathways. Auditory cortex: location, tonotopic maps. Sound localization.

 

Equilibrium: Vestibular System

Anatomy: utricle, saccule, semicircular canals; hair cells, otoliths. Vestibular pathways: vestibular apparatus and head and trunk movements; vestibular apparatus and eye movements.

 

Touch and Proprioception (Purves Chapters 9 and 10)

Sensory receptors: types, adequate stimuli, signal transduction, receptor adaptation, classification of nerve fibers (diameter and conduction velocity). Touch and pressure: receptors, diversity of tactile sensitivity in different body regions, touch and pressure pathways (dorsal columns and medial lemniscus), primary somatosensory area, somatotopic organization and sensory homunculus. Dermatomes. Coding of sensory information: recognition of intensity, location, and type of sensation. Brief overview of cortical structure. Pain: receptors, types of afferent nerve fibers, adequate stimuli, adaptation, pain pathways (spinothalamic tract), modulation of pain (analgesic system and modulation by sensory input), phantom limbs. Temperature sensitivity: perceived temperature gradations, types of receptors, receptor locations, adaptation, temperature sensitivity pathways (anterolateral system).

 

Motor System (Purves Chapters 16, 17, and 18)

Hierarchical organization of movement. Pyramidal tracts. Motor control systems: basal ganglia and cerebellum. Functionality of the frontal lobe in behavior regulation. Mirror neurons.

 

NOTE: THE TOPICS COVERED IN THE PROGRAM CAN BE STUDIED USING ANY OF THE SUGGESTED NEUROSCIENCE TEXTBOOKS. THE TEXTBOOKS SHOULD BE USED TO DEEPEN THE MATERIAL PROVIDED IN CLASS, WHICH IS ALSO THE MAIN REFERENCE FOR THE EXAM, INCLUDING THE UPLOADED SLIDES ON AULAWEB.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Exam Board

ANDREA BRUGNOLO (President)

LAURA MIGLIORINI

LESSONS

LESSONS START

The classes will start in September 2023.

EXAMS

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
12/01/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
26/01/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
16/02/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
24/05/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
07/06/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
21/06/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
05/07/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto
06/09/2024 14:00 GENOVA Scritto