Thomas Donoghue's Section Slides 2017
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7

Hannah Aguirre's Section Slides 2017
Week 1&2 Sections
Week 3 Section
Week 4 Section
Week 6 Section
Week 7 Section
Week 8 Section
Week 10 Section

Laura Shelley's Section Slides 2017
Week 1&2 Sections
Section 2
Neuromodulatory Section
Learning & Memory Section

Shuying's Section Slides 2015
Week 1&2 Sections
Week 3 Sections
Week 5 Sections
Week 6 Sections
Week 8 Sections
Week 9 Sections

Pai-Kai's Section Slides 2013
Week 1 Section
Week 2 Section
Midterm 1 Study Guide
Week 3 Section
Week 4 Section
Week 5 Section
Week 6 Section
Week 7 Section
Week 8 Section

Burcu Urgen's study questions for week 3 - 6
week 3
week 4
week 5
week 6
week 7
week 8
week 9
links to 2010 slidecasts for all lectures except 'vision II'
intro to brain potentials
proprioception and the vestibular system
the somatosensory system
vision I
auditory II
spatial cognition
basal ganglia and cerebellum
learning and memory I
learning and memory II
motor control
prefrontal cortex and attention

Vision II lecture and podcast from 2009
Auditory I lecture and podcast from 2009


neuron basics:
the neuron
neurons come in many shapes and sizes
resting potential animation
action potential animation
neurons firing animation
neurons firing animation

the man who lost his body (i.e., his proprioception)
the Pinocchio effect
space cats!

phantoms in the brain

the McGurk effect
echolocation guy


  1. True / False - The action potential and synaptic potential are actually special cases of the membrane potential

  2. Name 3 properties of ion channels: _______ _______ _______

  3. The neurotransmitter GABA:
    A. is inhibitory
    B. opens Cl- channels
    C. is excitatory
    D. is a neuromodulator
    E. depolarizes post-synaptic targets
    F. A and B
    G. C and E

  • The 'Pinocchio Effect' involves a resolution of contradictory information supplied by which two sensory systems of the brain?

  • (circle the appropriate word) Generator potentials are analogous to [synaptic] / [action] potentials.

  • True / False - Hats sometimes push on and hold hairs of the head in particular positions. The 'hair' type of touch receptor provides the brain with a steady indication of these positions.

  • 'Microslip' events are best detected by the _______ of touch receptor.

  • (circle the appropriate word) Recordings of neurons along [oblique] / [vertical] trajectories through visual cortex yield neurons with different directional tuning preferences.

  • Which type of bipolar neuron is depolarized by the neurotransmitter glutamate?

  • Ganglion cells of which type have responses to light that are analogous to Pacinian corpuscle responses to touch?

  • On an otherwise dark field of view, light in the form of a plus sign in the upper-left field of view will excite neurons in the:
    A. right-upper V1
    B. right-lower V1
    C. left-upper V1
    D. left-lower V1

  • Inter-aural level differences are registered by neurons of the:
    A. lateral superior olivary nucleus
    B. primary auditory cortex
    C. medial geniculate body
    D. medial superior olivary nucleus

  • True / False - The responses of cochlear nucleus neurons to pure tones are homogenous and like those of cochlear ganglion cells

  • Low-frequency tones produce the most oscillation at this part of the basilar membrane which is:
    A. base, narrow and floppy
    B. base, wide and floppy
    C. apex, narrow and stiff
    D. apex, wide and floppy

  • Neuron A responds to an isolated 10 KHz tone by firing 3 action potentials per second. However, if preceded by a 5 KHz tone, the same neuron's response to the 10 KHz tone is to fire 20 action potentials per second. This is a good example of _____ _____.

  • Circle the appropriate answer - The bat uses [ FM delay ] / [ CF delay] to determine target distance, but uses [ interaural time differences ] / [ CF pitch shifts ] to determine target velocity.

  • A neurotransmitter, upon binding to a post-synaptic receptor, begins a 2nd messenger cascade that changes the kinetics of a voltage-gated Ca++ channel. The neurotransmitter is of what type?
    A. ionotropic
    B. metabotropic
    C. it's not possible to know
    D. cationotropic

  • Name 4 neuromodulatory neurotransmitters and two properties common to all neuromodulatory systems

  • NE acting on a neuron only slightly changes its membrane potential, but nevertheless doubles that neuron's response to input from another neuron. This is one example of how neuromodulatory systems change the operation of brain circuits or, in other words, how they sometimes change the _____ _____ of the brain.

  • Name three cell types that each exhibit spatially-specific firing according to the allocentric frame of reference.

  • According to Professor Nitz, neurons in this part of the rat brain exhibit spatially-specific firing that bears a route-centered frame of reference.
    A. anterodorsal thalamus
    B. parietal cortex
    C. the entorhinal cortex
    D. IT cortex

  • This region/nucleus of the brainstem serves as the convergence point for cortical inputs to the cerebellum. _______ _______

  • Circle the appropriate word. The [GPi] / [GPe] is part of both the direct and indirect pathways through the basal ganglia. Medium spiny neurons of this region utilize [D1] / [D2] dopamine receptors which [enhance] / [suppress] their response to cortical excitatory inputs.

  • True / False Dopamine neurons fire more action potentials when expected reward is less than actual reward.

  • True / False Local field potential (LFP) amplitudes typically depend on the coherence level of synaptic inputs to the dendrites of a population of neurons.

  • Two types of voltage-gated Ca++ channels and two types of K+ channel are implicated in the intracellular membrane potential oscillations of thalamic and cortical neurons which accompany LFP 'slow-waves' in the thalamus and cortex.
    Name them. _______ _______ _______ _______

  • This region of the brain contains the rare type of neuron that fires most action potentials during NREM or 'slow-wave' sleep.
    A. suprachiasmatic nucleus
    B. basal forebrain
    C. Locus coeruleus
    D. VLPO

  • True / False Recall of a memory renders it 'labile' or vulnerable to erasure.

  • Synaptic efficacy changes can occur through a number of mechanisms. Name two that pertain to the physical structure of axons and/or dendrites.
    _______ _______

  • In what state might decreases in synaptic efficacy occur irrespective of the ordering of firing of the presynaptic and postsynaptic neuron.
    A. Texas
    B. waking
    C. NREM sleep
    D. REM sleep

  • True / False Increased ACh release in the hippocampus favors expression of a procedural memory.

  • The spatial and episodic memory functions of the hippocampus are made compatible because of these two forms of spatial position coding.
    _______ _______

  • Delay-firing neurons of the prefrontal cortex are of more than one type. Two of the following words/phrases are used to describe them.
    A. position-dependent
    B. cue/stimulus
    C. associative
    D. action

  • True / False Individual motor neurons of the ventral spinal cord synapse upon both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.

  • Name the term used to describe activation patterns across the musculature that allow coordinated action and which are encoded through the activity of motor cortex neurons.

  • Premotor neurons are involved in which of the following features of motor control.
    A. execution of an action
    B. planning an upcoming action
    C. perception of an action
    D. mapping of actions according to position in a sequence

  • True / False Top-down attention is mediated by the parietal cortex.

  • Name two of the four features of behavioral tasks that prefontal neurons were shown to map through their activity patterns.
    _______ _______

  • The work of Ghose and Maunsell shows that attention is a temporally dynamic process. In their experiment, neurons in V4, for instance, show attentional modulation according to
    A. activity of neuromodulatory neurons
    B. action category
    C. a hazard function
    D. a withdrawal function