Content – Aim of the course
From ancient times, understanding human behaviour has been central to civilized cultures. Engraved at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the famous maxim “Know thyself”.
The goal of neural science is to understand the mind – how we perceive, move, feel, think and remember. In this course we emphasize that behaviour can be examined at the level of individual nerve cells by seeking answers to basic questions: How do nerve cells in the brain communicate with one another? How do different patterns of interconnections give rise to different perceptions? How is communication between neurons modified by experience? How is that communication altered by diseases?
Advances in molecular neural science and our ability to visualize functional changes in the brain during normal and abnormal mental activity permit the understanding of higher brain functions.
The course aims to document the central principle that all behaviour is an expression of neural activity and to illustrate the insights into behaviour that neural science provides. We hope to encourage the students to approach the study of behaviour in a way that unifies its social and its biological dimensions.