COGS107B: Systems Neuroscience (Summer 2015)

Lecture: MW 2-4:50 WLH 2114
Section: MW 5-5:50 WLH 2114
*Students must attend 1 section per week*

Course website:


Andrew Alexander (Instructor)

Office Hours: Tu & Th 11a-12n in CSB 217

Burcu Urgen (TA)

Office Hours: W 1-2p in CSB 227

Course Description

Systems neuroscience considers how different regions of the brain interact to produce perception, thought, memory and action. In order to understand such processes, this course details the fine anatomical organization of brain structures and the dynamics of their neural activity. To do so, we begin by reviewing the electrical activity observed within the brain. We then consider the different sensory systems that enable interaction with the world. Finally, we examine the functions of several neural structures with respect to neuromodulation, spatial processing, sleep, learning and memory, motor control, and attention.

Course Details and Policies


Each midterm will be non-cumulative and count for 33.3% of your grade.

Grades will be posted to

Academic honesty: Cheating will not be tolerated. For more information as to the definition and consequences of cheating please consult university resources on academic integrity


Students are required to attend one section per week

Answers to mock quiz questions (see resources on website) will be given in section each week; this is your opportunity to see the types of exam questions that will be generated from each week's lectures.

Extra Credit: Given for “Track Design Drawings” as described during the first week of class

Course Schedule

Week Date Topic Lecture Slides Supplementary Reading Principle of the Week
1 Mon Aug 03

Introduction and review of brain electrical potentials

Proprioception and Vestibular System

Lecture 1 Slides chapter 1, pages 7-15
appendix, pages 729-736
chapter 3, pages 64-66
chapter 7, pages 175-188
The Neuron Doctrine
Law of Dynamic Polarization
Wed Aug 05 Somatosensory system 
Visual System I
Lecture 2a Slides chapter 7, pages 175-188
chapter 5
Topographic Representation
Overlay of Egocentric Maps I
2 Mon Aug 10 Visual System II
Auditory system and echolocation
Lecture 3a Slides chapter 5
chapter 6, pages 147-166

Overlay of Egocentric Maps II
Active sensing
Wed Aug 12 Review Session 
Midterm 1 
(material covered in lectures on 8/3, 8/5, and 1st half of 8/10) Sample Exam Questions Burcu Section/MT Review Slides
3 Mon Aug 17

Neuromodulatory systems and drugs of abuse

Hippocampus and spatial cognition

Lecture 4a Slides chapter 24, pages 609-611 Functional Anatomy
Wed Aug 19 Basal Ganglia and Cerebellum
Control and Function of Sleep-Wake States
Lecture 5a Slides chapter 9, pages 236-246
chapter 3, pages 66-72
4 Mon Aug 24 Learning
Review Session
Lecture 6 Slides

chapter 13
chapter 14, pages 353-359
chapter 15, pages 393-396
Fire Together - Wire Together
Implicit vs. Explicit Memory
Wed Aug 26
Midterm II 
(material covered in lectures on 2nd half of 8/10, 8/17 and 8/19) Sample Exam Questions Track Drawing Extra Credit
5 Mon Aug 31 Motor Control
Prefrontal cortex and Attention
Lecture 8a Slides chapter 8, pages 201-220 
chapter 9, pages 227-235
The Population Code
Top-Down Processing
Wed Sep 02 Review Session   Sample Exam Questions Burcu Section 4 Slides
Fri Sep 04 Final (Midterm III) (material covered in lectures on 8/24, 8/26, and 8/31)