Trends in Brain and Behaviour


Course Objective

This course will address research in applied and basic neuroscience,
which aims to elucidate the mechanisms of mental functioning both in
healthy individuals and patient populations. The course aims to provide
students with background knowledge on the research methods commonly used
in neuroscience and neuropsychological research, as well as current
trends related to mental health. It will also cover the integration of
these research methods with other disciplines in the cognitive sciences
in order to give students insight into the multidimensional nature of
many conditions. It offers training in integrative thinking and critical
evaluation of the value of integrating different scientific methods.
Students will work on a research proposal using methods from
neuropsychology and neuroscience, and focusing how methods in these
fields can be utilized to increase our understanding of psychopathology.

Course Content

This course will focus on using neuropsychology and neuroscience to
understand psychopathology. It builds on the theoretical background in
psychopathology which students have developed during the first year of
the RMCDP programme. This course focuses on extending this knowledge by
examining psychopathology using a brain and behaviour approach.
Brain-behaviour relationships can be studied in diverse populations
ranging from children to adults and patient populations to healthy
controls. It is becoming increasingly clear that in the future
innovative insights can greatly benefit from integrated studies of brain
and cognition.

During the first part of the course students will become acquainted with
neuropsychological and neuroscientific research methods, and the ways in
which these methods can be combined with those used in clinical,
developmental and cognitive research to further understanding of mental
disorders. These methods will subsequently be discussed relation to
three dominant areas of neuroscience research within the field of
psychopathology. The first, developmental neuroscience, examines normal
and abnormal developmental trajectories. Childhood and adolescence are
pivotal periods in shaping future mental health, and the origins of many
disorders can be found during this period. Therefore, a thorough
understanding of the mechanisms of neural development is essential to
facilitate positive outcomes. The second area is affective neuroscience,
a field of research which aims to elucidate the neural mechanisms of
emotion processing, an ability which is often disturbed in those with
mental health disorders. The third area, neuroeconomics, is a relatively
new approach which combines paradigms from behavioural economics with
neuroscience techniques. This relatively new field has already provided
insights into the etiology of a diverse range of disorders, ranging from
psychosis to bipolar disorder.
During the second part of the course students will learn how to use
these approaches to write a research proposal incorporating
neuropsychological and/or neuroscientific methods. As well as writing
the proposal, students will be encouraged to practice critically
reflecting on their own work, and identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Students will receive feedback on their proposal from lecturers and
fellow students and be expected to use this to improve their work.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and tutorials

Method of Assessment

To pass this course students will need to:
• Pass the final exam consisting of open-ended questions (50% of final
• Write an integrative research proposal (50% of final grade)
• Actively participate in giving feedback to fellow students on their
research questions and research proposals
(Graded as pass/fail)


Research articles and book chapters provided via Canvas.

General Information

Course Code P_MTRBRBE
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. of Behavioural and Movement Science
Course Coordinator dr. N.C. Lee
Examiner dr. N.C. Lee
Teaching Staff dr. N.C. Lee
dr. M. Huizinga
dr. N.M. van Atteveldt

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture