Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate Online

Last Updated on May 19, 2022

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The Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate Online program is designed to prepare students to apply research methods as they study human brain structure, function and behavior. This professionally focused program will provide students with the opportunity to develop professional standards, best practices and guidelines that can be applied in their own workplace or academic setting.

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Overview of Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate Online

Online Master in Applied Neuroscience

Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do? What makes us tick?

Human beings are utterly complicated animals, with utterly complicated thought processes. Ultimately, however, we are controlled by chemicals and electrical impulses. This, of course, is an overly simple explanation, and the actual processes that the brain goes through in order to produce certain reactions or thoughts are very complicated.

The enigma of what makes us tick can partly be explained by cognitive neuroscience, a very specific area of neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscience is the study of human cognition, or thought, as it relates to neuroscience, or the biological functions of the brain and nervous system. Basically, the goal of this type of neuroscience is to help psychologists understand how the physical and biological parts of the brain influence or create the less tangible parts, like thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and memories.

Cognitive neuroscience is a relatively new field, and the coining of this term actually has a very short, yet interesting, history. In the 1970’s, a small group of scientists and psychologists planned a dinner. Besides good food and banter, these dinner plans also included discussing how the brain enables the mind. Two attendants made a fateful decision to share a taxi to get to the dinner. It just so happens that these two gentlemen, Michael Gazzaniga and George Miller, were a neuroscientist and a cognitive psychologist.

Why Do We Need Cognitive Neuroscientists?

As mentioned above, cognitive neuroscientists play an important role in understanding the human mind. By better understanding how the mind works in relation to the physical aspects of the brain, scientists are often able to devise more effective treatment methods for certain disorders.

Not all mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders are able to be treated with counseling and psychotherapy alone. Some more severe disorders may need to be treated with medication as well. These medications alter how the brain functions, enabling it to work more efficiently or – in theory – how it is supposed to.

Some disorders that may benefit from medication include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Bipolar disorder

cognitive neuroscience online course

This free online course will introduce you to the functions of the different parts of the brain and their various methods of communication that enables the manifestation of cognitive processes. This course will also feature the different methods adopted by neuroscientists in studying the activities of a sound brain or an impaired brain. This course will be beneficial to those studying psychology, neuroscience, or any related field of study.

  • Online Master of Science in Psychology

What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Cognitive Neuroscientist?

Below is the complete educational path for the Psychologists:

Psychologist Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
1. Earn a Bachelor’s DegreeView Programs4 YearsOnline or Campus
2. Earn A Master’s DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
3. Earn a PHD or PsyDView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

Because cognitive neuroscience is a vast mixture of several different disciplines, individuals interested in becoming cognitive neuroscientists may pursue a few different educational paths. A four year bachelor’s degree is often the starting point for a cognitive neuroscientist. In fact, some cognitive neuroscientists may even have more than one bachelor’s degree to start with.

Psychology, neurology, neuropsychology, or psychiatry degrees are all good places to start. Pursuing a cognitive neuroscience career also usually requires advanced degrees as well. For instance, most will go on to earn their master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.  

Besides a number of biology and psychology courses, future cognitive neuroscientists will also usually take several courses in mathematics and research methods.

What Does a Cognitive Neuroscientist Do?

>A cognitive neuroscientist is primarily a researcher, on a quest to find out how our brains contribute to our cognitive function. These professionals might conduct research a few different ways.

With today’s technological boom, scientists and researchers are using computers more and more. A cognitive researcher is no exception. He might use computer simulations, for example, to test theories and hypotheses. A cognitive neuroscientist career might also involve monitoring a patient’s brain activity with special equipment.

A cognitive neuroscientist might also study and test samples of brain tissue, in order to better understand the mysteries of the human mind.

Neuroscience Courses Online Free

Neuroscience is the scientific approach to the analysis of the complex nervous system. Whether you are having the spark of exploring the field of medical science or have a general curiosity of exploring the deeply buried secrets of the complex brain and nervous system. For such kind of people, we have assembled some best free online neuroscience courses.

Amazing is the fact to know that this list is beneficial for those who are opting for the courses in Neuroscience. These courses are ranging from massive command over the ocean of Neuroscience to broader knowledge, which is accompanied by massive earnings.

Seats are currently vacant for the charged candidates who are filled with the spirit of achieving something great in the field of Neuroscience. So, don’t waste your time in thinking. Click over the link which is mentioned for your enrollment for the brightest journey to the heaven of your success.

Table of Contents

  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the Neuron
  • From Brain to Symptom – Introduction to Neuroscientific Psychiatry
  • Simulation Neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience: Neuronal Dynamics of Cognition
  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks
  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 3: The Brain
  • AP® Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?
  • AP® Psychology – Course 2: How the Brain Works
  • Fundamental Neuroscience for Neuroimaging
  • Medical Neuroscience

Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the Neuron

Start your online learning journey with this free online course “Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the Neuron” developed by Harvard University. In this first course, you will study how individual neurons use electricity to transmit information. You’ll build a neuron, piece by piece, using interactive simulations, then travel around Harvard’s campus, where you’ll see the inner workings of a lab and learn how to conduct DIY neuroscience experiments on your own. You must have some familiarity with arithmetic, basic algebra, and working with equations.

Provider: Harvard University
Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
Duration: 5 Weeks
Start Date: At your own pace
Apply Now

From Brain to Symptom – Introduction to Neuroscientific Psychiatry

The Karolinska Institute gives you a wonderful chance to apply for this “From Brain to Symptom – Introduction to Neuroscientific Psychiatry” free online course. In this course, you will learn about functional neuroanatomy in relation to psychiatric conditions and their treatment. Students in clinical fields: medicine, psychology, nursing, and psychotherapy can apply for this course.

Provider: Karolinska Institute
Subject:  Health & Safety
Duration: 3 Weeks
Start Date: Future Dates to Be Announced
Apply Now

Simulation Neuroscience

Learn how to digitally reconstruct a single neuron to better study the biological mechanisms of brain function, behaviour, and disease by enrolling in this free online course termed as “Simulation Neuroscience”. In this course, you will gain the knowledge and skills needed to create simulations of biological neurons and synapses.  To join this course, you must have knowledge of ordinary differential equations, and their numerical solution. In addition to this, knowledge of programming in one of Python (preferred), C/C++, Java, MATLAB, R is also necessary.

Provider: EPFL
Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
Duration: 6 Weeks
Start Date: Self-Paced
Apply Now

Computational Neuroscience: Neuronal Dynamics of Cognition

Applicants are invited to be a part of the “Computational Neuroscience: Neuronal Dynamics of Cognition” free online course designed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. This course describes the mathematical and computational models that are used in the field of theoretical neuroscience to analyze the collective dynamics of thousands of interacting neurons. You must have knowledge of calculus and differential equations at the level of a bachelor in physics, math, or electrical engineering.

Provider: EPFL
Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
Duration: 6 Weeks
Start Date: Open
Apply Now

Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks

Discover how neurons work together to create complex networks inside the brain with this free online course titled as “Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks”. This course is offered by Harvard University. In this course, you will learn the basics of synapses and how interconnected neurons in neuronal circuits interact with each other.

Provider: Harvard University
Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
Duration: 6 Weeks
Start Date: Ongoing
Apply Now

Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 3: The Brain

Harvard University is providing you a free online course entitled as “Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 3: The Brain”. In this course, you will learn how the physiology of vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, motor control and other senses work. Don’t miss the chance, enroll as soon as possible.

Provider: Harvard University
Subject: 
Science
Duration: 
8 weeks
Start Date: 
Self-paced
Apply Now

AP® Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?

Understand the history and research methods of psychology by enrolling in this free online course “AP® Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?” provided by the University of British Columbia. This psychology course is an introduction to the field of psychology. You will also learn the methods a psychologist uses in their research.

Provider: University of British Columbia
Subject: 
Social Sciences
Duration: 
3 weeks
Start Date: 
Self-Paced
Apply Now

AP® Psychology – Course 2: How the Brain Works

The University of British Columbia is presenting this free online course named as “AP® Psychology – Course 2: How the Brain Works”. This psychology course will show you how the brain works. You will learn the basics of neuroscience, genetics, and evolutionary psychology. The course concludes with coverage of the variety of states of consciousness.

Provider: University of British Columbia
Subject: 
Social Sciences
Duration: 
5 weeks
Start Date: 
Self-Paced
Apply Now

Fundamental Neuroscience for Neuroimaging

Grasp the opportunity to be a Johns Hopkins University by joining its free online course entitled as Fundamental Neuroscience for Neuroimaging. This course will introduce the basic principles of neuroimaging methods as applied to human subjects’ research. The course will also introduce basic neuroscience concepts of neuroimaging methods, including structural and functional human neuroanatomy, cognitive domains, and experimental design.

Provider: Johns Hopkins University
Subject:  
Science
Duration: 
4 weeks
Start Date: 
Open
Apply Now

Medical Neuroscience

The Duke University is welcoming applicants for enrolling in this free online course termed as “Medical Neuroscience”.In this course, you will explore the organization of the neural systems in the brain and spinal cord that mediate sensation, motivate bodily action, and integrate sensorimotor signals. The overall goal of this course is to provide the foundation for understanding the impairments of sensation, action, and cognition

Provider: Duke University
Subject: Health
Duration: 13 weeks
Start Date: Ongoing
Apply Now

Course NameUniversityCostDurationDeadline
1. Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the NeuronHarvard UniversityFree5 weeksAt your own pace
2. From Brain to Symptom – Introduction to Neuroscientific PsychiatryKarolinska Institute
Free
3 weeksFuture Dates to Be Announced
3. Simulation NeuroscienceEPFLFree6 WeeksSelf-Paced
4. Computational Neuroscience: Neuronal Dynamics of CognitionEPFLFree6 WeeksOpen
5. Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and NetworksHarvard UniversityFree6 WeeksOngoing
6. Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 3: The BrainHarvard UniversityFree8 weeksSelf-Paced
7. AP® Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?University of British ColumbiaFree3 weeksSelf-Paced
8. AP® Psychology – Course 2: How the Brain WorksUniversity of British Columbia  Free5 weeks  Self-Paced
9. Fundamental Neuroscience for NeuroimagingJohns Hopkins UniversityFree4 weeksOpen
10. Medical NeuroscienceDuke UniversityFree  13 weeksOngoing

By now, you already understand what cognitive neuroscience is and we just finished exposing you to Neuroscience Courses Online Free, now we are moving to another frequently asked question – what can you do with a certificate in neuroscience?

What can you do with a certificate in neuroscience

So, what can I do with my neuroscience degree when I graduate?

A challenging yet rewarding major, neuroscience can be an excellent starting point to a career in medicine, psychology or research science. 

Undergraduate neuroscience majors typically earn advanced degrees in neuroscience or a related field like psychology, and many choose to go to medical school and pursue a career as a physician, surgeon, psychiatrist, psychologist, neuroscientist*, genetic counselor, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor, industrial organizational psychologist and college professor.

*Neuroscientists work in both offices and laboratories, often as part of a multi-function research team. Common workplaces include universities, hospitals, government agencies and private industry settings. In research-oriented careers, neuroscientists typically spend their time designing and carrying out scientific experiments that contribute to the understanding of the nervous system and its function.

Keep in mind you don’t need a graduate degree to have a great career. With only a B.A. in neuroscience, you may qualify for many positions. A partial list includes:

  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Laboratory technician 
  • Medical technician
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Regulatory affairs specialist
  • Psychometrist
  • Science writer or editor
  • Clinical research assistant
  • Patient care assistant
  • Health educator
  • EEG technologist
  • Medical and health care manager
  • Natural sciences manager
  • Advertising or marketing representative

How much do neuroscientists make?

Earning an advanced degree in neuroscience will help you find higher-paying jobs in management positions and careers in policy work, in addition to science and medicine.

Qualifications for a neuroscientist include extensive laboratory experience; strong research, analytical and communication skills; and a familiarity with common neurological disorders. 

The average annual salary for a neuroscientist is $73,500, according to payscale.com in October 2020. 

Free online neuroscience courses from harvard

Next on the list to discuss is the free online neuroscience courses from Harvard as we had explained cognitive neuroscience online course, neuroscience online course free and also given answer to a frequently asked question like, what can you do with a certificate in neuroscience above. Read at your own pace to get exposed to the free online neuroscience courses from Harvard.

Why Choose Harvard University MOOC? 

Harvard University’s MOOC highlights your new skills and knowledge with a verified certificate. Use this valuable credential to cash a professional opportunity. Harvard University is contributes its best in quality teaching, learning, and research, and to has generated various developing leaders in many disciplines who made a difference globally. Harvard faculty are engaged with teaching and research to push the boundaries of human knowledge. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard offers free online courses in multiple subjects.

Course Introduction 

Do you want to learn about how brains perceive the world? Join us in this third module as we explore sensation, perception and the physiology of functional regions of the brain.  This course is not hosted on the edX platform, but can be found at www.mcb80x.org. Each lesson will be media- and content-rich and will challenge you to master material with interactive segments that depend on your feedback to move forward in the lesson.

Lessons will also be filled with beautiful animations, documentaries and DIY experiments that allow you to explore the richness and complexity of the brain.

Our forums will provide you with a place to meet other students around the world. You can learn from each other as well as discuss questions with members of our team during office hours.

You Will Learn

By the end of the course, you will have knowledge of
-How sensory perception works in the brain
-How the physiology of vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, motor control and other senses work
-The basic anatomy of functional areas of the brain

For detailed information go through HarvardX

neuropsychology courses online

NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

Neuropsychology is concerned with understanding the nervous system and how when things go wrong causing cognitive deficits. Study this course to understand the impact of mental disorders, brain damage and disease on behaviour.

Course CodeBPS306
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

It’s Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method. Please note, printed notes / correspondence is only available for postage within AustraliaCorrespondence (Paper notes )E-Learning (USB stick)Online (5% discount) (via web)

I am studying from…Within Australia
AUD $710.60 inc GSTOutside Australia
AUD $646.00

Pay 4 interest-free payments of $177.65 with  

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Click on Enrol Now to See Our Payment Plans Available. No Obligation. Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

  • DESCRIPTION
  • MEET THE ACADEMICS
  • RELATED EBOOKS
  • WHAT’S NEXT?

DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING OF BRAIN DAMAGE

Those of us with healthy brains work our way through life doing things we have learnt and learning new things all the time. How would you feel if you were no longer able to do this? Many people experience cognitive difficulties due to disease, brain damage or the onset of a mental health problem and life can become incredibly challenging for them. This course looks at how impairments can manifest through behaviour and thinking when the nervous system is compromised.   

EXPAND YOUR SKILLSET

Neuropsychology is the area of psychology that studies brain-damaged patients to understand the workings of our brain. Our brain is constructed of two hemispheres which are responsible for different facets of human personality and behaviour. Despite some essential differences in some functions, these hemispheres communicate through inter-hemispheric neural connections, mostly through the corpus callosum. This communication allows the brain to integrate different elements to produce coordinated, apparently seamless action and a unified personality.

Neuropsychology is an interdisciplinary subject, a mixture of psychology and neuroscience. It aims to understand how the function and structure of the brain relates to human and animal behaviour and psychological processes. Neuropsychology uses scientific methods and in common with cognitive psychology and cognitive science, it shares the information processing view of the mind. 

Study this course to develop your understanding of the way a person’s behaviour, personality and thought processes are affected by neurobiological processes, as well as the changes that can occur due to damage of the brain.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Foundations of Neuropsychology
    • What is neuropsychology?
    • The Information Processing Approach
    • Studying the human mind
    • Techniques used
    • Brain scans
    • Animal studies
    • Methods of investigating the brain
    • Psychological tests
    • Stroop test.
  2. Neurophysiology
    • Neurons
    • Parts of a neuron
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Effects of neurotransmitters
    • Neurotransmitters and their effects
    • Endorphins
    • Disorders associated with neurotransmitters
    • Glia cells
    • Schwann cells
    • Nerve impulse
    • Synaptic transmission
    • Nerve impulse
    • Neuromuscular transmission.
  3. Neuroanatomy
    • The nervous system
    • Parts of the central nervous system
    • The brain
    • The spinal cord
    • Spinal nerves
    • Blood brain barrier
    • Peripheral nervous system
    • Autonomic nervous system
    • Sensory somatic nervous system
    • Spinal nerves
    • Cranial nerves
    • How the nervous system works (a summary)
    • Problems with brain functioning
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Brain tumours
    • Injuries to the head
    • Epilepsy
    • Headaches
    • Mental illness
    • Meningitis and encephalitis.
  4. Laterality and Callosal Syndromes
    • Brain lateralisation
    • Left handedness
    • Cognitive neuropsychology
    • Callosal syndrome
    • Complete severance
    • Split brain
    • Complete severance
    • Split brain syndrome
    • Lobotomy
    • Psychosurgery
    • Dual brain theory
  5. Cognition, Personality and Emotion
    • Brain damage
    • Emotion and moods
    • Phineas Gage
    • Brain damage and emotion
    • Frontal lobe
    • Higher level functioning
    • The Limbic system
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Neuropsychology
    • Emotions research.
  6. Perception Disorders
    • Hemispatial neglect
    • Causes of hemispatial neglect
    • Auditory perceptual disorder
    • Agnosia
    • Visual agnosia
    • Types of visual agnosia
    • Prosopagnosia
    • Simultanagnosia
    • Optic aphasia
    • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.
  7. Motor Disorders
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Motor disorders resulting from traumatic brain injury
    • Non traumatic and/or genetic paediatric movement disorders
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Motor conditions
    • Gerstmann’s Syndrome
    • Apraxia
    • Motor skills disorder
    • Motion dyspraxia
    • Neural transplants and Parkinson’s Disease
    • Gene therapy
    • How does gene therapy work
    • Ethical issues surrounding gene therapy,
  8. Language
    • Broca’s area
    • Wernicke’s area
    • Speech
    • Language
    • Speech and language disorders
    • Apraxia
    • Aphasia
    • Stuttering
    • Neurogenic stuttering
    • Troyer syndrome
    • Speech disorders.
  9. Dementia
    • Kinds of dementia
    • Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Vascular Dementia
    • Multi-infarct Dementia
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Pick’s Disease
    • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
    • Huntingdon’s Disease
    • Pseudo-Dementia
    • Spotting dementia and other conditions,
  10. Neurodevelopment
    • Major processes of neurodevelopment
    • Neurogenesis
    • Migration
    • Differentiation
    • Apoptosis
    • Aborisation
    • Synaptogenesis
    • Asperger Syndrome
    • Neuroplasticity and brain damage.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe the relevance of neuropsychology to managing psychological disorders.
  • Explain the physiology of the nervous system.
  • Describe the anatomy of the nervous system.
  • Describe how conditions within the brain affect the way in which a person is physically capable or incapable of performing a variety of different tasks.
  • Explain how various aspects of a person’s thought processes may vary according to that person’s neurobiology.
  • Describe a variety of perceptual disorders.
  • Explain a variety of motor disorders.
  • Explain the neuropsychology of language.
  • Differentiate between different dementias.
  • Explain aspects of development in neuropsychological terms.

What You Will Do

  • Learn about the development of Neuropsychology and techniques used in human neuropsychological studies.
  • Describe the Neuroanatomy of the: brainstem, cerebellum and cerebral cortex, organisation of the cerebral cortex, cranial nerves, brain covering, ventricular system, arteries, brain malfunction, visual system and other systems;
  • Determine why there is laterality;
  • Discuss callosal syndrome;
  • Discuss and compare theories of frontal lobe function;
  • Contrast normal aspects and abnormal aspects of emotion from a neuropsychological perspective;
  • Develop a diagnostic table of perceptual disorders;
  • Determine how the brain perceives faces;
  • Discuss language formation;
  • Describe language disorders;
  • Develop a table of kind of dementia;
  • Learn how recovery of function is affected across age spans.

START WITH A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

The nervous system allows humans to adapt to changes. Changes can occur inside (e.g. too little oxygen while running) or outside (e.g. the anticipation of food or the chill of a winter wind). The nervous system will perceive the change and will take actions to adjust to it. The nervous system is rather like the lookout on a riverboat; it monitors conditions and gives warnings when something unusual or dangerous is ahead. Once the warning is received, the body is able to take steps to avoid or correct the situation. The nervous system has to be highly complex to be able to perform such sophisticated services.

Until the late 1800’s, scientists did not know if the nervous system was made up vast networks of connected nerve cells, or whether the cells were separate. We now know that they are, and that they carry out their enormous task of keeping the body alive and functioning, and our minds working, by means of chains of action. The human brain is estimated to have around 100 billion nerve cells working to help create apparently seamless and integrated action, thought, and body function. To understand how they interact, we must learn about their individual structure and behaviours.

NEURONS

The nervous system contains two kinds of cells: neurons, which receive and transmit messages, and glia, which help maintain neurons and facilitate their functioning.

The cell body or soma is the place in the neuron where major metabolic activity occurs, as it does in all animal cells. The soma of a neuron is enclosed in a plasma membrane that separates the cell from its environment. Water, oxygen and carbon dioxide can move through the membrane, and certain ions (atoms with a positive or negative charge), such as calcium, potassium, and sodium, can pass through the membrane in special channels.

The membrane also encloses a fluid called cytoplasm, within which float all the structures essential to the proper functioning of the cell. These structures, called organelles, have specific functions, and include:  

  • A nucleus (lacking in red blood cells), which contains chromatin (active DNA) and a nucleolus (formed from chromatin) that produces ribosomes;
  • Ribosomes, where the cell builds the protein it needs;
  • Mitochondria, where energy is produced for all the cell’s activities;
  • Endoplasmic reticulum, a network of tubes that moves proteins to different parts of the cell;
  • Lysosomes, which recycle cell material and repair the plasma membrane; and
  • The Golgi complex, a network of sacs that stores hormones for secretion by the cell.

Neurons can be divided according to function (which also affects their structure), into:

Sensory Neurons

These register stimuli, and are specialised to register only particular kinds of stimuli, such as touch or smell, to the central nervous system, which interprets the message as pain, heat, redness etc. The impulse in a sensory neuron begins in the nerve ends then travels along the dendron to the cell body. The impulse then passes through the axon to the next sensory neuron on its way to the central nervous system.

Motor Neurons

Messages are sent from the central nervous system to muscle or gland cells, stimulating them to take appropriate action, such as contracting, or withdrawing from the source of pain. Again, the stimulus passes through the dendrites into the cell body, then to the axon to the next motor neuron. The stimulus is finally received by motor end plates which are embedded in a muscle and cause the muscle to act, or by receptors in the gland.

This means that sensory neurons conduct impulses towards the central nervous system while motor neurons conduct impulses away. Sensory neurons are sometimes referred to as receptors (because they receive the stimulus) while motor neurons can be termed effectors (because they effect a change).

Parts of a Neuron

Nerve cells contain the same elements as all animal cells. However, most also have some elements distinctive to them: dendrites, and axon, and presynaptic terminals. The cell body (orsoma) and the dendrites of many neurons are also covered with synapses. The actual shape and structure of a nerve, however, is largely dependent on its function, and the number of other nerves to which it is connected. Some nerves have very few connections to other nerves, while others are parts of large networks. (Remember, though, that by ‘connected’, we do not mean physical connection but close interaction. Nerves cells are separate, even though many of them form long chains running through the body.

Dendrites

Neurons receive stimulation (sometimes called excitation or more simply, a message) from other nerves or the environment through their dendrites. Dendrites are the information receiving part of the neuron (Bodian, 1962), and are fibres that extend from the soma or cell body. Their name ‘dendrites’ comes from the Greek ‘tree’, because of their branching appearance.

Not all dendrites look the same. Dendrites of different neurons can look quite different, perhaps reflecting their different functions within their network. Some have only a few dendrites, some, a whole bush of them. Some dendrites are long and thin, others are thicker, with many more branches, or fairly short, depending on how they contribute to the surrounding network of neurons.

The surface of a dendrite is lined with receptors through which the dendrite receives messages from other neurons. Therefore, dendrites with greater surface area are able to receive more information. In this way, a single dendrite can receive thousands of messages from other neurons.

The dendrites of certain neurons also carry small growths or spines that greatly increase their surface area and allow them to receive specialised information. However, dendrites do not just receive information and pass it to the soma and axon; they apparently also play a role in shaping and integrating that information.

The dendritic branching of a neuron can grow or retract in the developed nervous system, allowing the nervous system to respond to environmental and other factors. A stimulating environment seems to be associated with growth of dendrites, whereas senility, alcohol and age can result in shorter and few dendritic branches.

Axon

An axon is a thin fibre that is usually longer than dendrites, along which an impulse is sent from the nerve body to other neurons, a muscle or a gland. A neuron has one axon, though it may have branches some distance from the cell body, and some axons are very long. Some are around a meter long, extending from the spinal column to the feet. Not all neurons have an axon, though. Some neurons transmit messages only to immediately adjacent neurons, and do not therefore require an axon; these are calledlocal neurons.

Synapse

The synapse is the point at which communication occurs between two neurons or a neuron and a muscle or gland. Each axon and axon branch swells at the tip, where it releases the chemicals that either excite or inhibit the next neuron. At this tip, the axon swells into a bulb called a presynaptic terminal. The end of the axon receiving the message is called the postsynaptic terminal. The actual space between this terminal and the next neuron, muscle or gland cell is called the synaptic cleft, across which an impulse is transmitted electrically, but mostly, through chemical action. (See neurotransmitters, below). Because of the work involved in this chemical action, the terminal contains many energy-producing mitochondria.

Although axons are called the information-senders of the neuron, sending messages away from the soma, each axon also carries information from another structure towards the soma. As messages pass from neuron to neuron, a single neuron in the chain both receives and transmits messages. Therefore, an axon that brings a message to (is afferent to) one part of the brain might transmit that message from (efferent to) a gland. An intrinsic neuron is one that transmits messages within a single structure.

Myelin heath

In vertebrate physiology, many axons are covered with a myelin sheath made of fatty cells. The autonomic nervous system usually does not contain myelin sheaths. Myelin sheaths insulate the axon from electrical activity, which allows signals to be transmitted at a faster rate. It is not a continuous covering, for the cells are separated by gaps called nodes of Ranvier. Since fat is a good insulator, the myelin sheath speeds the transmission of an electrical impulse so that it jumps from one node to the next in a process called saltatory conduction. This rapid relay-type of transmission of impulses permits faster, coordinated responses to stimuli. Another benefit of saltatory conduction is that it conserves energy. The effects of destruction or loss of parts of the myelin sheath will depend on the functions of the affected neurons.

To summarise:

  • Axon is a long extension of a neuron, carrying nerve impulses away from the cell body.
  • Cell body is a cell body of the neuron, containing the nucleus (soma)
  • Axon terminals are hair like ends of axon
  • Myelin sheath is a fatty substance surrounding and protecting nerve fibres
  • Dendrites are a branch structure of the neurons receiving messages, which are attached to cell body
  • Node of Ranvier, one of the gaps in the myelin sheath, where the action potential occurs during salutatory conduction along axon
  • Schwann’s Cells are cells that produce myelin, located within myelin sheath
  • Nucleus is an organelle in the cell body of the neuron, containing the genetic material of the cell.

Benefits of Studying This Course

Neuropsychology is a specialist area of psychology. It is relevant to people who seek a more in-depth understanding of the brain and how damage through congenital conditions, injury, disease or disorders can affect its functioning and behaviour. It is assumed that people opting to take this course have some basic understanding of the brain’s anatomy as well as reasonable knowledge of human biology.  The course doesn’t cover how to undertake psychological testing of neuropsychological problems but it does provide students with a solid grounding in brain dysfunctions.
 
This course will mainly appeal to people working in, or wishing to work in: 

  • Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Biological sciences
  • Health sciences
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Health professionals
  • Teaching
  • Research

Where Do Cognitive Neuroscientists Work?

When first starting their careers, cognitive neuroscientists will first usually complete a fellowship, which are very similar to internships. During a fellowship, a cognitive neuroscientist will work alongside experienced professionals in the field. Most cognitive neuroscience fellowships last a couple years. After completing their fellowships, cognitive neuroscientists are then able to look for permanent employment in a number of different facilities.

Universities will often hire cognitive neuroscientists as researchers and professors. Some other possible places of employment might include research facilities and pharmaceutical companies.

What Is the Median Annual Salary of a Cognitive Neuroscientist?

Cognitive neuroscientist salaries can vary, depending on a few different factors. Scientists with more advanced degrees will usually be able to command higher salaries, for instance.

The type of facility that a cognitive neuroscientist works in will also have an impact on how much he makes. For example, the median annual salary for biological scientists in 2010 was $71,310. Those that worked at educational institutes made less than that, however, with a median salary of $59,200. The same type of scientists working for pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, made slightly more, with the median salary being $74,670.

Graduate Certificate Courses

  • This program requires graduate students to complete 15 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a “B” or better in all courses counted toward the certificate.Core Requirement 1: Cognitive Neuroscience (at least 3 credits required)
    • DEP 5058 Biological Basis of Behavior Development (3)
    • EXP 5667 Cognitive Neuroscience (3)
    • PHI 5931 Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science (3)
      Core Requirement 2: Neuroscience (at least 3 credits required)
    • BME 5505C Engineering Foundation of Medical Imaging Instrument (3)
    • PHY 6716 Advanced Biophysics (3)
    • ZOO 5785 Advanced Neurobiology (3)
      Electives (up to 9 credits required)
    • CHM 5305 Graduate Biological Chemistry (3)
    • EXP 5508 Applied Cognitive Psychology (3)
    • EXP 5527 Memory and Consciousness (3)
    • OTH 5524 Adaptation of Human Occupation and Environment for Neuromotor Disorders I (3)
    • OTH 5438 Adaptation of Human Occupation and Environment for Neuromotor Disorder II (3)
    • PCB 5835 Neurophysiology (3)
      Additional courses may be accepted for the certificate with
      approval of the program director.For more information, consult the Graduate Certificates Catalog.
  • ApplicationCertificate applicants should complete the Graduate Certificate Application and submit it to the department for approval. Approved certificate applications will be forwarded to the Registrar for processing.

free Cognition and Neuroscience Courses

In the 1960s, people began to combine the study of the brain as an anatomical object and the psychological study of the mind. This combination culminates in the brain’s mechanical functions. One top college in this field offers its coursework to the public for free through Open Courseware.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The founder of neuropsychology was also the founder of MIT’s Department of Brain of Cognitive Sciences: Professor Hans-Lukas Teuber. Although the department has gone through many name changes and head-of-department changes in the meantime, it remains an excellent academic program for students who wish to learn about neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and neural processes. Through Open Courseware, you can learn about the fascinating complexities of the brain, too.

  • Introduction to Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Statistical Methods in Brain and Cognitive Science
  • Cellular Neurobiology
  • Systems Neuroscience Lab
  • Experimental Molecular Neurobiology
  • Laboratory in Cognitive Science
  • Neural Basis of Learning and Memory
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Cognitive Processes
  • Object and Face Recognition
  • Affect: Neurobiological, Psychological and Sociocultural Counterparts of ~’Feelings~’
  • Infant and Early Childhood Cognition
  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Neural Plasticity in Learning and Development
  • Brain Structure and Its Origins
  • Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
  • Scene Understanding Symposium
  • Language Acquisition

Free Online Cognitive Neuroscience Degree

CourseProgram LevelFormatAssignmentsQuizzes & ExamsDownloadable
Introduction to NeuroscienceUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Neuroscience and BehaviorUndergraduateAudio LecturesYesYesYes
Statistical Methods in Brain and Cognitive ScienceUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Cellular NeurobiologyUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Systems Neuroscience LabUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Experimental Molecular NeurobiologyUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Laboratory in Cognitive ScienceUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Neural Basis of Learning and MemoryUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Cognitive NeuroscienceUndergraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
PsycholinguisticsUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Cognitive ProcessesUndergraduateText LessonsNoNoYes
Object and Face RecognitionUndergraduate/GraduateText LessonsYesYesYes
Affect: Neurobiological, Psychological and Sociocultural Counterparts of ‘Feelings’UndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Infant and Early Childhood CognitionUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Developmental NeurobiologyUndergraduate/GraduateTextbookYesYesYes
Neural Plasticity in Learning and DevelopmentGraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Brain Structure and Its OriginsUndergraduateAudio LecturesYesYesYes
Introduction to Computational NeuroscienceUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Scene Understanding SymposiumUndergraduate/GraduateText LessonsNoNoYes
Language AcquisitionUndergraduateTextbookYesYesYes

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