PSY3280 - The neuronal basis of consciousness - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Nao Tsuchiya


Dr Chris Siva

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


PSY2031 or PSY2061.


BNS3021, BNS3052, BNS3062.


The neuronal basis of consciousness focuses on the empirical neuroscientific studies of consciousness. In particular, we will focus on the neuronal correlates of visual consciousness. The unit will equip the students with necessary knowledge to think about the problem of consciousness from the neuroscientific point of views; anatomy and physiology of the primate visual system, the relationship between attention and consciousness, and decision-making and freewill and its modulation by neuromodulatory drugs.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the theoretical issues for current debate on the neuronal basis of consciousness. In particular, students will be equipped with necessary knowledge of
    1. Neuroanatomy
    2. Basic working of the primate visual system
    3. Exemplar approaches to find neuronal correlates of consciousness
    4. Relationship between attention and consciousness
    5. Freewill and decision-making and its modulation by neuronmodulatory drugs.
  2. Critically evaluate the contribution of contemporary research findings and theories in key areas of neuroscience.
  3. Describe the use of a range of research tools and paradigms used within different domains of neuroscientific research.
  4. Design a creative and empirical idea to study certain aspects of consciousness. In the course of developing a new idea for experiments, initial proposal outline will be peer reviewed by other students and receive constructive feedback. This aligns with the faculty/university's objective of education in preparing students for professional scientists where peer review is a critical component in developing ideas.


  • Presentation and participation at the discussion class (30%)
  • 1 x proposal outline and 3 evaluations of the initial proposal by peers (Hurdle)
  • Mock grant proposal (40%)
  • Examination (MCQ) (30%)

Workload requirements

One x 2 hour lectures each week and one 2 hour workshop every fortnight.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study