Summer Term 2020

Please note that only 'active' doctoral students of the GTC can participate in the courses listed.  Doctoral students who have not yet passed their admission interviews ('applicants') and guest students from other faculties can participate only in case of vacancies.

Courses indicated as 'Elective' will run throughout the semester and take place once a week. They are specialist courses offered to masters students, however, they might also be of interest to doctoral students working or planning to work in that particular field.

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Course title

Fundamentals of Sensorimotor Integration (Elective)

Ilg U.
Course content / topics

The lecture provides an overview of sensorimotor integration in the animal kingdom, including man. One of the hallmarks of sensorimotor integration is the modification of sensory processing by ongoing executed motor actions. Since many motor actions are consequences of sensory stimuli, sensorimotor integration can be explained as a closed-loop feed-back system. The examples presented in the lecture extend from simple reactions and its learning-related modifications in the marine snail Aplysia to the complex eye movement pattern reflecting cognitive abilities in humans. The use of sub-human primates in this research is explained and justified in detail by different examples. On several occasions, basic principles of learning are addressed; the neuronal substrate of motor learning and adaptation is explained in detail. Tool use and tool fabrication observed by the Caledonian crows are introduced. The lecture places special emphasis on the visual system. Nevertheless, examples from other modalities such as the electric sense, the mechanism of echolocation and the importance of whiskers for prey detection in blindfolded seals are presented as well.

Learning targets
Students will acquire profound knowledge of systems and behavioural neurobiology. With the help of illustrative examples, students learn the basic me­cha­nisms of neuronal processing such as the properties of sensory systems, the re-afference principles, learning-related modifications, and attention-dependent changes in perception. In addition to these mechanisms, students get to know a variety of methods used in behavioural neurobiology.

Solid knowledge of sensory and motor systems neurobiology and of animal physiology.

Suggested reading

Most of the lecture topics are covered in standard neuroscience and/or animal physiology textbooks. Please browse the respective categories of textbooks in the Graduate School’s library. Specific readings will be provided during the lectures.

ILIAS Online Course Link

Day, time & location

SS20 online, link in course descricption. [Mon 2-4 pm, E7A23 Biol. Building E, Auf der Morgenstelle 28]