Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Minor

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The multidisciplinary minor in applied cognitive neuroscience explores the biological underpinnings of cognition, delving into the science of the brain to understand the mental processes behind cognition and perception, particularly visual perception.

Notes about this minor:

  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
  • Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).


Required Courses
Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognition refers to mental action or processes of acquiring knowledge through the senses and through experience or thought. Neuroscience encompasses any or all of the sciences that deal with the structure and function of the nervous system and brain. This course provides the scientific foundation for the understanding of cognitive neuroscience, including neuroanatomy, neural signaling, motor control systems, the visual pathway, and research and experimental methods. Emphasis will be on Visual Neuroscience.
Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar A
Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar A is a weekly forum in which students will learn about and discuss historical and current topics in cognitive neuroscience. The course focuses on journal club discussions of papers selected by the students and faculty. It also includes oral presentations from students and faculty as well as visiting speakers from within and external to RIT. Students will prepare their own oral presentations and written assignments based on the course readings and independent research. Students will develop professional skills required for formal scientific presentations and writing.
Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar B
Introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of language, memory, emotion, conscious states, and sexual behavior, with an evolutionary perspective.
Electives–Students must choose a total of three elective courses with at least one coming from each category. At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level or higher.
   Cognitive Psychology
This course examines how people perceive, learn, represent, remember and use information. Contemporary theory and research are surveyed in such areas as attention, pattern and object recognition, memory, knowledge representation, language acquisition and use, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, and intelligence. Applications in artificial intelligence and human/technology interaction may also be considered.
This course covers perception in all of the sensory modalities (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch). We will trace what happens to the physical stimulus as our sensory systems analyze it to produce complicated perceptions of the world around us. We will explore the fact that many complex perceptual phenomena draw upon explanations at the physiological, psychological, and cognitive levels. Topics on sensory perception in non-human animals may also be covered. This is a required course for psychology majors in the visual perception track.
   Memory and Attention
   Language and Thought
   Decision Making, Judgement, and Problem Solving
   Animal Behavior
This course is a comparative study of animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures will examine the organization of behaviors including survival behaviors, social dynamics, and human behavior. Labs will demonstrate methods of gathering and interpreting behavioral data in the laboratory and in the field.
   Cell Physiology
This course is a study of functional eukaryotic cellular physiology with an emphasis on the role of global gene expression in cellular function and disease. Nuclear and cytoplasmic regulation of macromolecular synthesis, regulation of cellular metabolism, control of cell growth, and the changes in cell physiology in disease are covered. This course also covers the technology used for studying changes in gene expression associated with cell differentiation and disease. The associated laboratory covers microarray techniques. This includes design and implementation of an experiment to acquire gene expression data, analyzing the acquired data using simple computer programs, such as MAGIC, and writing a research paper explaining findings.
   Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
This course is a comparative study of the evolution of organ systems among vertebrate animals with an emphasis on structural changes in homologous characters among representative vertebrate lineages. The course will explore the concepts of allometry, biomechanics, biophysics, ontogeny, phylogeny using examples from vertebrate integument, skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urogenital, endocrine, nervous, and sensory systems.
   Comparative Animal Physiology
This course is a comparative study of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It covers a broad range of organisms studied from the standpoint of evolution of functional systems, the mechanisms and morphological variations that exist to deal with functional problems posed by the environment, and the special mechanisms used to cope with extreme environments.
   Tissue Culture
This course will present the techniques and applications of culturing eukaryotic cells, tissues, and organs in vitro. Emphasis will be placed on mammalian systems. Lectures will cover the historical background of tissue culture, how to authenticate cell lines, basic cell culture techniques; as well as stem cells, tissue engineering, and the role of cell culture in regenerative medicine. In the laboratory, students will be introduced to growth curves, cloning techniques, primary cell culture, and making a cell line; as well as detecting mycoplasma and other cell culture contaminants.
   Eukaryotic Gene Regulation and Disease
This course presents an overview of gene expression in eukaryotic systems, with an emphasis on how disease can result when gene regulation is disrupted. Points of control that are examined include: chromatin structure, transcription initiation, transcript processing, stability and modification, RNA transport, translation initiation, post-translational events, and protein stability. The mechanisms involved in regulating these control points are discussed by exploring specific well studied cases. The significance of these processes is highlighted by a discussion of several diseases that have been shown to be due to defects in gene regulation.
   Animal Vision
   Fundamentals of Color Science
This asynchronous online course provides a technical introduction to color science and the CIE system of colorimetry. Topics covered include color perception, color measurement, color spaces, and applications. The course is intended for students with a technical background who are interested in adding an elective course in color science to their graduate program and for practitioners in the color field interested in a more thorough understanding of the science behind colorimetry. Cannot be taken for program credit by Color Science MS and PhD students.
   Vision & Psychophysics
This course presents an overview of the organization and function of the human visual system and some of the psychophysical techniques used to study visual perception.
   Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
   Introduction to Neuroscience
This course will focus on the human nervous system, and its regulation of behavior and complex function. Background information on neuroanatomy, cellular physiology, neurotransmission, and signaling mechanisms will pave the way for an in-depth analysis of specialization at the systems level. Our goal will be to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying normal human behaviors and pathogenic states.

* At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level or higher.