About this Course
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This course is about how the brain creates our sense of spatial location from a variety of sensory and motor sources, and how this spatial sense in turn shapes our cognitive abilities. Knowing where things are is effortless. But “under the hood,” your brain must figure out even the simplest of details about the world around you and your position in it. Recognizing your mother, finding your phone, going to the grocery store, playing the banjo – these require careful sleuthing and coordination across different sensory and motor domains. This course traces the brain’s detective work to create this sense of space and argues that the brain’s spatial focus permeates our cognitive abilities, affecting the way we think and remember. The material in this course is based on a book I've written for a general audience. The book is called "Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are", and is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or directly from Harvard University Press. The course material overlaps with classes on perception or systems neuroscience, and can be taken either before or after such classes. Dr. Jennifer M. Groh, Ph.D. Professor Psychology & Neuroscience; Neurobiology Duke University www.duke.edu/~jmgroh Jennifer M. Groh is interested in how the brain process spatial information in different sensory systems, and how the brain's spatial codes influence other aspects of cognition. She is the author of a recent book entitled "Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are" (Harvard University Press, fall 2014). Much of her research concerns differences in how the visual and auditory systems encode location, and how vision influences hearing. Her laboratory has demonstrated that neurons in auditory brain regions are sometimes responsive not just to what we hear but also to what direction we are looking and what visual stimuli we can see. These surprising findings challenge the prevailing assumption that the brain’s sensory pathways remain separate and distinct from each other at early stages, and suggest a mechanism for such multi-sensory interactions as lip-reading and ventriloquism (the capture of perceived sound location by a plausible nearby visual stimulus). Dr. Groh has been a professor at Duke University since 2006. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University in 1988 before studying neuroscience at the University of Michigan (Master’s, 1990), the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 1993), and Stanford University (postdoctoral, 1994-1997). Dr. Groh has been teaching undergraduate classes on the neural basis of perception and memory for over fifteen years. She is presently a faculty member at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences at Duke University. She also holds appointments in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke. Dr. Groh’s research has been supported by a variety of sources including the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program, the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, the John Merck Scholars Program, the EJLB Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Whitehall Foundation, and the National Organization for Hearing Research....
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 15 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...
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English

Subtitles: English, Italian, Romanian...

Skills you will gain

PsychologyCognitive ScienceBrainNeurobiology
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 15 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Italian, Romanian...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Clock
2 hours to complete

Course Introduction and Vision (Part 1)

This module contains an introduction to the course as a whole (Video 1.1) and an exploration of how our eyes detect light and deduce the location light is coming from (Videos 1.2-1.6). You'll also learn about how scientists from Democritus to Alhazen to Kepler figured this out. The final video for the module involves an experiment to test what happens when special goggles turn the world upside down (Video 1.7). I'll show experiments frequently throughout this course -- they are how we know what we know. This module’s quiz is ungraded and available to both auditors and certificate students. Consider it a sample of the style of question in the quizzes for the remaining modules, and an opportunity to determine if you’d like to pursue a certificate for this course. ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 48 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Lecture 1.2 - (S) Vision: What Do We See?7m
Lecture 1.3 - (S) Vision: How Light is Sensed by Neurons, Part 16m
Lecture 1.4 - (S) Vision: How Light is Sensed by Neurons, Part 24m
Lecture 1.5 - (S) Vision: How the Eye Forms an Image, Part 19m
Lecture 1.6 - (S) Vision: How the Eye Forms an Image, Part 27m
Lecture 1.7 - (E) Vision: Movie Interlude - Turning the World Upside-Down6m
Reading5 readings
Getting Started10m
Syllabus10m
Grading and Logistics10m
Philosophy10m
Readings10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module 1 Quiz34m
Week
2
Clock
1 hour to complete

Vision (Part 2), the Body, and Neural Signals

In this unit, we cover the visual scene in 3D - the many clues to depth. We then turn to body senses (position and touch) and how our brains detect the configuration of our own bodies. Along the way, we cover the resting membrane potential, the action potential, and how they arise. Finally, we bring vision and the body together, and throw some beanbags at a visual target while wearing prisms! This material is covered in Making Space, chapters 2 and 3. ...
Reading
9 videos (Total 52 min), 1 quiz
Video9 videos
Lecture 2.2 - (S) Vision: Monocular Cues for Depth Perception10m
Lecture 2.3 - (S) Introduction to Body Position Sensing2m
Lecture 2.4 - (S) Body Position Sensory Receptors3m
Lecture 2.5 - (G) Neural Signals: The Resting Membrane Potential7m
Lecture 2.6 - (G) Neural Signals: The Action Potential4m
Lecture 2.7 - (S) Converting the Mechanical to the Electrical4m
Lecture 2.8 - (E) Body Position Illusions and Experiments I: Pinocchio and Crossed Hands6m
Lecture 2.9 - (E) Body Position Illusions and Experiments II: Prisms6m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module 2 Quiz36m
Week
3
Clock
1 hour to complete

Brain Maps

In this unit, we turn to the brain and how it uses the spatial position of neurons within the brain to organize information about the spatial position of stimuli in the world (Making Space chapter 4). You'll learn about how we identify where one object ends and another begins, what a receptive field is, and how some neurons are sensitive to edges and the boundaries of objects. Maps occur in both visual cortex and body (somatosensory) cortex, and these maps may be responsible for various "phantom" sensations (examples from normal vision, patients with body part amputations, and electrical stimulation experiments). ...
Reading
6 videos (Total 52 min), 1 quiz
Video6 videos
Lecture 3.2 - (S, G, E) Synapses and Center-Surround Organization9m
Lecture 3.3 - (S) Maps of Visual Space5m
Lecture 3.4 - (S) Orientation and Border Ownership9m
Lecture 3.5 - (S, E) Phantom Limb and the Blind Spot10m
Lecture 3.6 - (S, E) Motion Vision13m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module 3 Quiz36m
Week
4
Clock
2 hours to complete

Sound and Brain Representations

In module 4, we turn to the fascinating puzzle of how we deduce sound location--a process that requires quite a bit of detective work. Our brains piece together multiple types of clues, including subtle differences in timing, loudness, frequency content, and how sounds appear to change as we turn our heads. Because our ears don't form images of sounds, our brains don't have to use maps to encode sound location. The second half of the videos this module concern alternative forms of brain representation, how the brain translates between different types of representation, and what we know about brain representations for sound location. The material is covered in chapter 5, "Sherlock Ears" and chapter 6, "Moving with Maps and Meters", in Making Space. Be forewarned, there are about 70 minutes of video this module, as compared to previous modules' 50-60 minutes. After watching the full set, you'll see why these videos are grouped together as a unit. To make things more manageable, we've broken the quiz into two parts; that way, you can get feedback on one part before moving on to the next, if you like. ...
Reading
12 videos (Total 69 min), 2 quizzes
Video12 videos
Lecture 4.2 - (S) Deducing the Location of Sounds7m
Lecture 4.3 - (S) Movements and the "Cone of Confusion"3m
Lecture 4.4 - (S) Spectral Cues and the "Cone of Confusion"7m
Lecture 4.5 - (S) Learning to Find Sounds3m
Lecture 4.6 - (S, E) Ventriloquism and Finding Sounds5m
Lecture 4.7 - (S) Determining the Distance of Sounds6m
Lecture 4.8 - (S) Brain Maps as Representations5m
Lecture 4.9 - (S) Brain Meters as Representations2m
Lecture 4.10 -(S) Brain Meters and Movements5m
Lecture 4.11 -(S, E) Translating Maps to Meters7m
Lecture 4.12 - (S, E) Brain Representations for Sound9m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Module 4 Quiz - Part I26m
Module 4 Quiz - Part II22m

Instructor

Dr. Jennifer M. Groh, Ph.D.

Professor
Psychology & Neuroscience; Neurobiology

About Duke University

Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • No. Completion of a Coursera course does not earn you academic credit from Duke; therefore, Duke is not able to provide you with a university transcript. However, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile.

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