Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 3: The Brain

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The human brain is a fantastically complex system, capable of transforming a torrent of incoming senses into thought and action. In this module, we will look at the brain from a human-centric viewpoint, exploring how the various subsystems of the brain work, enabling us to survive and thrive in a changing world.

Lesson 1: Vision
One of the most developed senses in humans is our vision. In lesson 1, “Vision,” we take a deep dive into the visual system. How do we see, and more importantly, how do we understand what we see?

Lesson 2: Audition
One of the many ways we communicate with one another and create community is through sound. In lesson 2, “Audition,” we will go on a journey that follows the path of sound waves as they are detected in the ear and processed in the brain.

Lesson 3: Touch, Taste, Smell, and the Remaining Senses
There are more than just five senses in the animal kingdom. Consider eels with their ability to sense electric fields or vampire bats that can track down prey via infrared detection. In lesson 3, “Touch, Taste, Smell, and the Remaining Senses,” we explore both the remaining traditional senses - touch, taste, and smell - as well as some of the more unusual ones.

Lesson 4: Movement and Action
Perceiving the world is useless if we cannot act. The motor subsystems of the brain execute and coordinate our movement. In lesson 4, “Movement and Action,” we discuss how the nervous system makes your muscles contract in a coordinated manner, so that you can move and interact with your surroundings.

Lesson 5: Subcortical Brain Areas
While a highly-developed cortex is one of the key hallmarks of humanity, there's quite a bit more to the brain than cortex. In lesson 5, “Subcortical Brain Areas,” we explore the critical brain systems that keep us alive, help us orient to stimuli in our environment, and allow us to form new memories.

Lesson 6: Brain Anatomy
In the last lesson of this course, “Brain Anatomy,” we wrap up our investigation of the brain with a closer look at the structures found in the sensory and motor systems in a real human brain.