An introductory course to the complex cognitive process that is human decision-making, from a neuropsychological perspective. Covering basic neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, important structures, chemicals and networks, individual differences in decision-making and decision-making deficits.
Students will learn about the anatomical underpinnings of a decision and how this anatomy develops, the physiological and chemical processes involved, the importance of the prefrontal cortex in decision-making, the measurement of decision-making in contemporary research, current understandings of the factors that influence the decisions we make and the role of decision-making in complex psychological and neurological disorders.
- To gain an understanding of the brain structures involved in decision-making and how they develop.
- To gain an understanding of the neural mechanisms of decision-making processes and how these are influenced.
- To gain an understanding of decision-making deficits and their role in psychological disorders.
- To identify the key anatomical and physiological components of decision making from a neuropsychological perspective.
- To explain decision-making development in terms of executive function, the role of the prefrontal cortex and influences on development.
- To outline decision-making deficits and roles of decision-making in psychological disorders
Teaching week 1 – Introduction to neuroanatomy & neurodevelopment
This week will provide participants with a basic understanding of anatomy and development, providing an important basis for the following weeks. This week will not have a specific focus on decision making, but provides students with a basic knowledge that will be needed to be able to understand the later content on decision making.
- Develop an understanding of basic brain anatomy
- Develop a basic understanding of how the human brain develops
Teaching week 2 – The importance of the prefrontal cortex
This week will provide participants with an understanding of what the prefrontal cortex is and how it is involved in high order processes, specifically decision making. Participants will gain a general understanding of what makes the prefrontal cortex unique in terms of structure and function. This week will cover research evidence surrounding the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in various aspects of decision making.
- Develop an understanding of what the human prefrontal cortex is and why it is important in decision making
Teaching week 3 – Neurotransmitters, Neurophysiology and decision networks
This week will build upon the anatomical and physiological knowledge developed so far, gaining a more complex understanding of how decisions are made. Participants will learn about the neurotransmitters involved in a decision and how they ‘act’ in terms of physiology. Participants will also learn about brain connectivity, specifically research evidence surrounding the specific connections and networks involved in decision making.
- Building on previous learning to develop a more in depth understanding of the decision making process from a neurophysiological perspective.
- To begin to build an understanding of the brain networks involved in decisions.
Teaching week 4 – Decision making styles & the role of childhood experiences in decision-making
This week puts the previous weeks learning into an applied context, exploring decision making and development of decision making as a dynamic process. Specifically, there will be a focus on differences in decision making style exhibited in adulthood and factors in childhood that can affect the development of decision making.
- To be able to put their previous learning into context.
- To build on basic neuroanatomical and physiological understanding from previous weeks, to explore the development of decision making in more detail.
- To develop a further understanding of decision making and what influences it.
Teaching week 5 – Decision making deficits
This week brings together everything covered in teaching weeks 1-4 in terms of neurotypical decision making, to explore deficits in decision making, such as that seen in schizophrenia. The content this week will cover observed decision-making deficits, research evidence suggesting underlying biological causes and the roles of external factors e.g. in childhood.
- To build on previous knowledge of neurotypical decision making to gain an understanding of how decision making deficits contribute to psychological disorders and how they manifest.
- Lectures 0
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 6 weeks
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Assessments Yes