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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
October 25, 2016
Canadian Excellence

PS 330

Cognitive Neuroscience of Action

Dr. Jeffery Jones has taken over instruction for this course for Dr. Obhi.

NOTE: The final paper is now due APRIL 6, 2010.


The essay can be a maximum of 5 single-spaced pages in length (not including the reference section). There is no style requirement. Use a format and style that you think conveys your argument best.


1) A personal view on:  “If Neuroscientists uncover all there is to know about the brain and how it causes behaviour, what will the effect be on the world and the human race as we know them?” • This is an open ended essay: your opinion on the effects of successful brain research! Use supporting evidence when making arguments/claims

2) A personal view on the statement: “The distinction between the conscious mind and the brain is meaningless, because the mind is just a by-product of the brain’s activity”

• This assignment addresses mind-body (dualist) ideas of Descartes • Many neuroscientists believe that a purely materialist (deterministic) view of the brain is all that is required to understand our conscious experience of a “mind”

• This assignment requires you to research the mind-body issue and to collect your personal thoughts on the issue and communicate these thoughts.


1)  Since the discovery of mirror neurons, researchers have hypothesized that the mirror neuron system plays are major role in a number of important mental skills. Two important functions ascribed to mirror neurons are understanding other people’s intentions and language production. Choose one of these important human skills and propose a novel experiment (ie make sure it has never been done) that would distinguish between a mirror neuron theory and another prominent theory that explains this function.

2) Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease caused by the loss of dopamine neurons in the basal ganglia. It is estimated that over 4.6 million people over the age of 50 have the disease. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement and  a loss of physical movement (akinesia). A number of researchers have suggested that the problem caused by the degeneration in the basal ganglia is related to abnormal processing of sensory feedback regarding motor behaviours. Propose a novel experiment (ie make sure it has never been done) that would determine whether the disruption in Parkinson’s is related to sensory feedback. Your experiment can involve limb movements or speech.

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