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Neuroscience

Advanced and introductory experiments designed to teach students about central and peripheral nerve function, brain activity using non-invasive approaches (EEG and visually evoked potentials), and intracellular and extracellular action potentials.

Pre Lab Prep

Pre-Lab Prep

This lesson is designed to be used before the Lab. Questions have been set to allow multiple attempts for formative assessment. However, it is very simple to change the setting so that students may make only one attempt and their answers can be graded.
Independent learning (30 minutes)

Lab

Lab

This lesson includes a Challenge page to get the learners thinking about the main point of each exercise. Each exercise has an activity and an analysis page with questions to check their understanding. These check your understanding questions allow single attempts.
Group work (2 hours)

Collection

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Lessons

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Autonomic Nervous System

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In this lab, learners complete the same exercises as performed in a clinical assessment of ANS function. They examine the effects of nerve stimulation and other stimuli on skin potential, investigate heart rate variability with normal and deep breathing, and observe the physiological effects of the Valsalva maneuver and of rapid postural change. Finally, the learners perform pupillary exercises.

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Biofeedback

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This laboratory provides an introduction to biofeedback. Students will use biofeedback to try and alter physiological process of which you are usually unaware. The three conditions students will try to control are: electrodermal response (skin conductance), skin temperature, and heart rate.

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Cockroach Sensory Nerve

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In this lab, learners record compound action potentials (CAPs) from a cockroach leg nerve in response to various physical stimuli. Learners examine CAP amplitudes and frequency, and identify different “classes” of CAP that represent different individual axons.

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Cockroach Ventral Nerve Cord

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In this lab, learners record extracellular action potentials from the ventral nerve cord of a cockroach, or similar insect. Spontaneous activity, and different types of stimuli, (including tapping the bench, clapping, air puffs, and touching), are compared and analyzed using frequency histograms. Learners also determine the nerve conduction velocity of the ventral nerve.

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Diving Response

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In this lab, learners investigate the effects of the diving response on heart rate and peripheral circulation in humans during simulated dives as well as breath holding.

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Earthworm Action Potentials

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In this lab, learners obtain extracellular recordings of action potentials from an anesthetized earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris). They examine the threshold voltage required to evoke an action potential, first in the median fiber, and then in the lateral fibers. They also examine the “all-or-none’ response, the refractory period, and the conduction velocity of the median nerve.

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EDR and Classical Conditioning

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In this lab, learners measure skin conductance, heart rate, and respiratory rate to examine the electrodermal response. Learners complete a classical conditioning experiment, in which a neutral stimulus is paired with an adverse stimulus to try and elicit a conditioned response. This experiment can follow “Electrodermal Response (EDR)” or can stand alone.

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Electrodermal Response (EDR)

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In this lab, learners are introduced to EDR. They will test the effects of emotion, stress, and lying (polygraph test), on physiological responses. They will measure and analyze skin conductance, skin temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

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Electroencephalography (EEG)

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In this lab, learners explore the electrical activity of the brain. They record electroencephalograms, and analyze: the effect of various interfering signals; the changes to alpha and beta waves with eyes open and shut; and the effects of mental and auditory activity on alpha and beta waves.

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Electrooculography (EOG)

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In this lab, learners record electro-oculograms (EOGs) in the horizontal plane. They will examine different eye movements including: angular displacement, saccades, smooth tracking, gaze-holding and gaze-shifting, and nystagmus.

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Frog Nerve

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In this lab, learners measure compound action potentials (CAPs) from an isolated frog sciatic nerve to explore the basic physiological properties of nerve impulses including the threshold, refractory period, and conduction velocity.

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Frog Neuromuscular Junction

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In this lab, learners explore the relationship between skeletal muscle and motor nerve supply. They use an isolated frog gastrocnemius with an intact sciatic nerve to explore twitch recruitment, muscle fatigue, and the effects of tubocurarine.

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Intracellular Action Potentials

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In this lab, learners make intracellular recordings from neurons in a leech ganglion. They will become familiar with an intracellular amplifier, and with the use of glass microelectrodes. Learners will record and analyze both resting potentials and action potentials, of different neuronal cell types.

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Muscle and EMG

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In this lab, learners record EMG during voluntary muscle contractions and investigate how coactivation and contractile force changes with increasing demand. They measure the decline in their grip force during a sustained contraction and examine muscle fatigue. They also discover how visual feedback, verbal feedback, and rest impact their ability to sustain muscle contractions.

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Peripheral Nerve Function

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In this lab, learners record an evoked EMG following electrical stimulation of the median or ulnar nerve at a variety of stimulating currents. They then calculate latency and nerve conduction velocity.

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Reflexes and Reaction Times

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In this lab, learners explore the similarities and differences of reflexes and reactions. They first examine simple reflexes, and then use the PowerLab to examine their reaction times to stimuli under different conditions.

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Sensory Illusions

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In this lab, learners complete a series of exercises to investigate mechanisms of sensory perception and discover techniques that send conflicting information to the central nervous system.

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Sensory Physiology

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In this lab, learners will familiarize themselves with their senses and observe some sensory illusions. These activities are suitable for learners at all levels, and can be performed without a PowerLab.

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Size-Weight Illusion

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In this lab, learners are introduced to the basic concepts of perception through an exploration of the size-weight illusion. The laboratory begins with the traditional size-weight illusion, and then takes learners through a series of manipulations that lead to a more interpretive analysis of the illusion in the final exercise.

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Skeletal Muscle Function

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In this lab, learners refresh their memory of the basic types of contractions, then record and measure muscular twitch responses to nerve stimulation and observe recruitment as stimulus strength increases. They also test the effects of stimulus timing on muscle twitch summation and tetanus.

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Spinal Reflexes

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In this lab, learners investigate some simple and complex reflexes used clinically in neurological examination.

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Stroop Test

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In this lab, learners will familiarize themselves with the Stroop test. They will investigate the interference of conflicting messages, and examine at the effects of the Stroop test as an experimental stressor.

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Visual Evoked Potential (VEP)

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In this lab, learners record visual evoked potential waveforms using techniques from the electroencephalogram. They will complete two exercises in which a volunteer watches a series of light flashes and then a checkerboard pattern reversal. They will compare the two visual evoked potential waveforms to determine which stimulus elicits the greater response.

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