Methods in Behavioral Neurosciences


Course Objective

After the course, the students can:

1) Explain the approach and read-outs of the different animal paradigms
and behavioral constructs that have been discussed .
2) Explain the different techniques that have been discussed and their
pros and cons.
3) Determine and explain which behavioral paradigm and/or technique
should be used to address a specific research question
4) Write and present a critical review about behavioral neuroscience and
related techniques.

Course Content

Focus of the course is on methods that allow a mechanistic dissection of
behavioral phenotypes at the level of neuronal circuits, cells and
molecules. In particular, we will examine animal models of learning and
memory, addictive behavior, impulsivity and depression (amongst others)
and we will demonstrate how these paradigms can be integrated with
state-of-the-art techniques, such as optogenetics, chemogenetics, in
vivo calcium imaging and 2-photon microscopy. Furthermore, we will
discuss how transcriptome and proteome analyses can provide insight in
the molecular basis of behavioral phenotypes. Advantages and
disadvantages of the use of the different techniques will also be
In addition to lectures, students will write and present a mini-review
about a topic related to methods in behavioral neuroscience.

Teaching Methods

- Lectures (~20 h, not mandatory, but highly recommended)
- Workgroups (~2 h, not mandatory, but highly recommended)
- Writing of a mini-literature review in small groups (mandatory).
Individuals or pairs will be assigned to a supervisor who will assist in
the preparation of the review. Contact hours will be determined with the
- Presentations of the mini-literature reviews (~4 h, mandatory).

Mind that this is a full-time course. Students are expected to use the
remaining time for self-study (lectures and associated articles),
writing of the review and preparation of the presentations.

Method of Assessment

1) Written mini-review (40%)
2) Student presentation of mini-review (20%)
3) Exam with open questions (40%)
For all three assessment forms, the minimal grade has to be 5.5 to pass
the course.

Entry Requirements

Basic knowledge of animal behavior, physiology and neurobiology.


- Scientific articles
- Lecture slides

Target Audience

MSc Neurosciences students

Additional Information

There is a minimum of 6 participants in the course, and a maximum of 15
Mail the course coordinator in case you subscribed, but you are
not going to attend the course.

Custom Course Registration

Students will be assigned to groups for the mini-review on Canvas

Explanation Canvas

The final course schedule will become available on Canvas.
The mini-reviews have to be submitted to Canvas.

General Information

Course Code AM_470728
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. M.C. van den Oever
Examiner dr. M.C. van den Oever
Teaching Staff dr. M.C. van den Oever
prof. dr. S. Spijker

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar