Physiology of the Nervous System

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The first cycle of studies in Psychology aims to provide students with a wide range of experiences in different fields of training, designated in the syllabus of 'science'. The program focuses on basic psychological processes, integration of psychological processes, models and intervention contexts, laboratories and oriented practice. It also aims that students acquire knowledge from other disciplines such as genetics, the nervous system physiology, anthropology or sociology, as well as the acquisition of knowledge and skills of basic scientific research. The program is also aimed at developing critical and reflective skills on the most important issues involved in various training activities. Finally, the program aims to mobilize the knowledge and skills acquired during the training process with a view to professional development and integration into the labor market.


1. Introduction to the Nervous System

- Characterization and functions

- Divisions of the NS: Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System

2. CNS

- Cerebral hemispheres

- Specialized zones of the cerebral cortex

- Limbic system

- Cerebellum

3. Histology of the NS

- Constitution of the neuron

- Functional properties of neurons

- Classification of neurons

- NS support Cells

4. Neuronal Communication

- Properties of the plasma membrane of the neuron

- Starting and propagation of a nerve impulse

- Chemical (NT) and electric driving

- Chemical receivers

- Direct and indirect mechanisms of action

- Blocking Agents

5. PNS

- Functional hierarchy of the PNS

- Classification of afferent receptors

- Autonomic nervous system

Sympathetic division

Parasympathetic division

- Areas involved in the ANS control

- Action of NT of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions

- Cranial and spinal nerves

- Disorders of the PNS

6. Disorders of the NS

- Toxicology of the NS

- Biology of the stress

Teaching Methodologies

The course has a TP function, the theoretical component being essentially expository, but including, whenever possible, videos and schemes showing the syllabus. Interaction with students is encouraged in order to discuss content.

The TP component consists of the elaboration of a group work in a power-point format, about innovations in the scientific knowledge of the human nervous system not taught in the theoretical component. The selection of topics is based on a list of topics in the field of neurology, provided by the teachers. TP work is carried out in groups of 3 students, with continuous and personalized monitoring of the groups. In the end, there is the presentation of the work in ppt before colleagues and the two teachers, followed by a debate.


Guyton & Hall (sem data). Tratado de Fisiologia Médica, 9ª Edição, Editora Guanabara Koogan, 831 pp.
Cortez, C. M. & D. Silva. 2008. Fisiologia aplicada à Psicologia. Editora Guanabara Koogan S.A., Rio de Janeiro, pp. 1-278.

Para além desta bibliografia principal, são fornecidos aos discentes artigos científicos da especialidade e outros livros, para apoio ao desenvolvimento dos temas das monografias.



ECTS Credits



  • Teóricas - 30 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 30 hours