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BNS2022 - Behavioural neuroscience of movement and sensation

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Professor Dexter Irvine


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Students will study systems responsible for gross and fine motor control and the roles in movement played by the basal ganglia, cerebellum and motor cortex. They will review the senses of taste, smell, vision, audition, balance, and somatosensation. Within each topic, students will study structure-function relationships, with emphasis on the roles that each system plays in regulating behaviour. The assessment of sensory and motor disorders will be discussed, as will the typical behavioural deficits associated with damage to specific parts of each sensory/motor system.


The primary objective of this unit is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the ways in which sensation and movement are controlled by the brain and in turn affect brain function and the behaviour of the organism. At the completion of the unit, students will understand

  1. the principles of sensory transduction and coding, and how these can be applied to each of the main sensory systems
  2. the way in which each sensory system responds to information and the role of sensory information in regulating behaviour
  3. how damage to each sensory system can be assessed and the effects that different kinds of damage are likely to have on the behaviour of the organism
  4. how various brain areas interact to control gross and fine motor movements
  5. how movement-related information is transmitted to and from the various nervous system sites involved with motor control
An additional objective is to promote the skills necessary to obtain, interpret and present scientific data using modern technologies in a group-focussed environment. To this end, students at the completion of the course will
7. have gained substantial guided experience working in a group situation to research a topic relevant to this general area of research
8. have improved their skills in modern information technologies and their understanding of the importance of such technologies in this scientific discipline


Written theory examination (short answer and multiple choice questions, 2-hour): 50%
Tutorial assessment and short written laboratory exercises: 20%
Group project: 30%

Contact hours

6 contact hours + 6 additional hours per week


BMS1011, BMS1052 or PHY2011 or equivalent by permission