Course Aim

To introduce an understanding of the neuronal mechanisms that control complex animal behavior.

Course Description

Explore the neuronal mechanisms that underlie and control complex animal behavior. Learn about sensory processing mechanisms responsible for behaviors such as echolocation and sensory navigation. Learn about motor control mechanisms such as central motor pattern generators, stereotyped behavior, and spatial navigation. Discuss the evolutionary strategy and the biological ideas of animal behavior and underlying neuronal mechanisms, including sexually dimorphic behavior, behavioral plasticity, learning and memory, and the critical period. Critically analyze original research papers and literature to provide an understanding of modern experimental techniques in neuroethology.

Course Contents

Introduction (Basic Neurophysiology and neuronal circuits)
Sensory information I: Visual and Auditory (map formation, plasticity and critical period, etc.)
Sensory information II: Olfactory (Chemical) and other senses
Sensory perception and integration I (Echolocation, Sound localization, etc.)
Sensory perception and integration II (Sensory navigation, etc.)
Motor control I (Stereotyped behavior)
Motor control II (Central pattern generator)
Sexually dimorphic behavior
Learning I (Learning and memory)
Learning II (Associative learning)
Learning III (Sensory motor learning during development)
Learning VI (Spatial navigation)
Behavioral plasticity and the critical period
Recent techniques in neuroethology


Homework, 20%; Written reports, 4 x 20%.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

neuroscience background required


Behavioral Neurobiology, by Thomas J Carew (2000) Sinauer

Research Specialties