HNH-51306 Nutritional Neurosciences


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work6
Excursion (one day)4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. PAM Smeets
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. ir. PW van Kleef
dr. ir. O van de Rest
dr. S Boesveldt
dr. PAM Smeets
IAC Arnoldussen
Examiner(s)dr. PAM Smeets

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

No specific courses required. Basics of human physiology, basics of Nutrition Behaviour


This course focuses on acquisition of knowledge and skills for research in the emerging field of human nutritional neurosciences, at the interface of neurobiological and behavioral sciences. The course consists of plenary lectures and practical work. Lectures cover both basic as well as state of the art topics: introduction to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and functional MRI; introduction to electrophysiological measurements related to food choice and eating behavior, including Electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking; the effects of macro- and micronutrients on human brain function and behavior; modulation of human cognitive brain function and behavior by nutrients and supplements; the neurobiological basis of sensory perception, satiation and satiety, and food-related cognitive processes (e.g. preference learning, memory, emotions, and food-related decision making). The computer practical involves instruction and practice sessions on fMRI and EEG data analysis with software packages which are widely used in nutritional neuroscience research (SPM (Statistical Parametric Mapping) and EEGLAB). During supervised group work students make and present a research proposal for a nutritional neuroscience study.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to: 
- describe location and function of brain areas relevant to olfactory and gustatory senses, satiation, food choice and eating behaviour;
- identify and describe central nervous system and peripheral endocrine and physiological mechanisms in the regulation of appetite;
- describe the relationships between nutrition and (cognitive) brain function;
- describe methods of measuring behavioural and peripheral autonomic responses to chemosensory and food-related stimuli (eye movements, heart rate variability, skin conductance) and apply them in research;
- describe methods of measuring brain activity (fmri, eeg) and apply them in research;
- describe and understand the data processing and analysis steps for fmri and eeg data and perform basic analysis;
- critically analyse and interpret literature on nutritional neuroscience.


- lectures on the basics as well as the state of the art of this field;
- supervised group work on this topic; designing a new nutritional neuroscience study;
- data analysis practical sessions consisting of training in fMRI and EEG data analysis with widely used academic software packages.


All data analysis practicals are compulsory and assignments have to be signed off by a supervisor. The final mark for the course is based on two sub marks:
1. Submark based on a written exam composed of multiple choice questions and open questions. This mark counts for 70% of the final grade, and must be a 5.5 or higher.
2. Submark based upon group work (output is research proposal and oral presentation; group members can get different marks depending on their individual contribution/performance during the group work).
The submark for group work counts for 30% of the final grade.
The complete course assessment strategy is provided in the course guide.


To be announced.

Compulsory for: WUPEBBSc Minor Psychobiology of Eating Behaviour3WD