Seminars

(updated as of 25 August 2016)
(update, 15 September 2016: added locations for MBB 980A and MBB 980B, and MBB 980F)
(update, 16 September 2016: added location for MBB 980L)
(update, 18 November 2016: updated MBB 980G time, MBB 980K listing, MBB 9800 time)
(update, 6 December 2016: added locations for spring MBB seminars: MBB 980G, MBB 980H, MBB 980K, MBB 980M, MBB 980O)
(update, 17 January 2017: added MBB S-100 to MBB seminars; added Psy 1451 to departmental seminars; added locations to spring departmental seminars)
(update, 18 January 2017: added note to MBB 980G)


 

Each MBB student is required to take an Interdisciplinary Seminar during the junior year. These seminars are discussion-based courses that usually meet once a week for a few hours, during which students consider important readings and research on a topic or set of topics related to mind/brain/behavior. In lieu of exams, students usually prepare papers based on library or laboratory research, and grades are usually based on these papers and class participation.

 

In choosing a seminar, you might select a seminar closely allied to your interests to allow you to deepen your specialized knowledge, or you might take one in a more distant area to gain an appreciation of the varying perspectives and methodologies within MBB. Students in the neurobiology and psychology tracks should check with their concentration to determine which courses from the junior seminar list are approved for them.

 

The seminars offered by the MBB program, listed in the catalog as Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980 courses, explore questions in mind/brain/behavior whose answers will require the perspectives and findings of several fields. Unless otherwise noted, their enrollments are limited to 15, with enrollment priority given to juniors in MBB tracks or in the MBB secondary field, and they provide four units of course credit (previously: are half courses).

To enroll in an MBB 980 seminar, add it to your online study card and attend the first class meeting. Your instructor will explain the process to be admitted, often including a lottery. Before the study card deadline of September 8th/January 27th, your instructor will inform you if you have a space in the seminar. If not, remove the course from your course selections. If you have been admitted, and once your concentration advisor has removed the advising hold, your instructor will approve your enrollment online. If you have questions about this process, you may contact Shawn Harriman at shawn_harriman@harvard.edu.

In addition to the MBB 980 courses, some departmental courses also qualify. Among these are neurobiology tutorials, small classes limited to 12 students. These tutorials are year-long courses that cannot be joined in the spring; they are listed in the catalog as 101a/101b pairs, and when you complete both halves, you will receive four units credit (in previous parlance, these are year-long half courses). If you are interested in any of these, you may want to attend the Neurobiology Tutorial Fair on Tuesday, August 30th from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Bauer Laboratories lobby. Information on sectioning for neurobiology tutorials is available at http://lifesciences.fas.harvard.edu/sectioning.




MIND/BRAIN/BEHAVIOR SEMINARS




Addiction, Motivation, and Choice (fall 2016)
Gene Heyman / Psychology / gheyman@fas.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980b, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., NEW LOCATION: William James B4 (basement seminar room)
Seeks a comprehensive understanding of addiction and why it has been such a contentious topic. Topics include but are not restricted to (1) the characteristics of addition as revealed in biographies, epidemiological studies, clinical research, laboratory experiments, and "natural experiments;" (2) the current "opioid epidemic," including an exploration of its possible economic correlates; (3) genetic influences on alcohol consumption; (4) drug-induced cognitive changes and their implications for drug use; (5) smoking and delay discounting; and (6) a choice-based analysis of addiction. (class number 25807, course ID 124115)


 

Conscious States: Waking, Sleeping, and Dreaming (fall 2016)
Robert S. Stickgold / Medical School / rstickgo@bidmc.harvard.edu and Anna Schapiro / Medical School / aschapir@bidmc.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980a, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., NEW LOCATION: William James 401
Focuses on waking, sleeping, and dreaming as examples of conscious states in both humans and animals. Original papers and Antonio Damasio's book The Feeling of What Happens form the background for discussions of waking, sleeping, and dreaming from the perspectives of neurology, physiology, psychology, and cognitive neurosciences. Discusses various approaches to understanding the functions of sleep and wake (consciousness) and reviews several theories on the topic. Enrollment: Limited to 12. (class number 25810, course ID 124113)



Creativity Research: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students (fall 2016)
Shelley Carson / Psychology, carson@wjh.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980f, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., NEW LOCATION: William James 303
Examines human creativity from three perspectives: a) empirical research sources, b) case studies of eminent creative achievers, and c) ourselves as creative subjects. Topics include the definition and measurement of creativity, the creative process, the neuroscience of creativity, the creative personality, the role of family life and culture in creativity, the relationship of creativity to IQ, gender differences, and the relationship of creativity to psychopathology. (class number 11941, course ID 128215)


 

Dopamine (fall 2016)
Barak Caine / Medical School / sbarak@mclean.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980l, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., NEW LOCATION: William James 105
A Parkinson's victim regains control of her body with l-dopa. A schizophrenic man paralyzed by fear & hallucinations is freed from a mental institution by clozapine. A meth addict lies, cheats & steals, ending up emaciated & dead. Miracles and monstrosities, all related to a single molecule - dopamine. The overall goal of this tutorial is to focus on a single subject, a single chemical neurotransmitter, and remaining on that topic to proceed through three phases of study, as follows. First, to orient students to tools from multiple traditional disciplines: synaptic mechanisms of neurotransmission, neuropharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, neuroanatomy, and psychiatry. Second, to elicit interest and curiosity through examples of specific and important disease states: Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, and Drug Addiction. Third, to gain an historical perspective up to and including a current and sophisticated consensus (i.e., review articles of recent years). Socratic debate will be prioritized in the classroom. The main discipline presented in this course is pharmacology, specifically, in vivo pharmacology and more specifically, behavioral pharmacology in humans. Pharmacology has traditionally been a graduate-level subject and rarely present in undergraduate curricula. That is a shame, because pharmacology has played and continues to play a key role in the history of neuroscience, in many applications of clinical medicine, and in the relationships among “mind, brain, and behavior.” Moreover, students with an interest in medical sciences and careers will find extremely useful the tools and concepts of pharmacology, from elucidating mechanisms of action using basic research, to applications in the clinic including analgesic, antipsychotic, anti-Parkinsonian, stimulant, and anesthetic drugs. My philosophy of teaching is that 70% of the work can be completed in the classroom. I believe the rest can be completed in 1-2 hours per week outside of the classroom. Mostly to study your own notes from class together with an outline prepared and distributed by Dr. Caine, and then to complete the semi-weekly writing assignment (“take-home” quizzes, open book, open note, short answer, six assignments in all.) (class number 14688, course ID 160758)



Fighting Cancer with the Mind (spring 2017)
Jamie Stagl Jacobs / Medical School / jjacobs@mgh.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980k, Wednesdays 1-3 p.m., William James B4
Using contemporary mind-body practices as context, examines evidence (or lack of evidence) linking psychological practices with cancer survival. We will (1) review theoretical foundations for these links including psychoanalysis, psychoneuroimmunology, and cognitive-behavioral therapy; (2) analyze legitimation of mind-body practices for cancer in popular media; (3) interview mind-body medicine practitioners; and (4) examine published scientific data. Students will choose one mind-body practice for in-depth study, analyzing its underlying theories, scientific evidence, and appeal to patients. (class number 34398, course ID 156497)


 

Functional Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Disorders: Insights into the Human Brain-Mind in Health and Disease (spring 2017)
David Silbersweig / Medical School / dsilbersweig@partners.org with Marie-Christine Nizzi / Psychology / mnizzi@fas.harvard.edu
*Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980m, Thursdays 3-5 p.m. plus several possible additional meetings for site visits, William James Hall 401
Functional brain imaging has revolutionized the study of systems-level behavioral neuroscience and psychiatric disorders, through the ability to localize and characterize distributed brain activity directly associated with perception, cognition, emotion and behavior in disorders where there are not gross brain lesions. This seminar will introduce students to translational neuroimaging methods at the interface of neuroscience, psychology and medicine. It will cover recent and ongoing advances in our understanding of fronto-limbic-subcortical brain circuitry across the range of psychiatric disorders (e.g. mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, addictions). It will discuss new, emerging biological (as opposed to descriptive) taxonomies and conceptualizations of mental illness and its treatment. It will explore the implications of such knowledge for issues such as consciousness, meaning, free will, emotion, resilience, and religiosity. It will incorporate clinical observations, scientific data and readings, and examine future directions in brain-mind medicine. Class Note: Additional class meetings for site visits to be arranged. (class number 13587, course ID 160759)


 

Magic and the Mind (Study Abroad in Trento, Italy, summer 2017)
Gustav Kuhn - Goldsmiths, University of London
Mind, Brain, and Behavior S-100
Magic is one of the most enduring forms of entertainment, and the ease by which magicians trick us highlights our mind's limitations. This course explores the psychological illusions magicians use to trick our mind as well as the unique emotional experiences that these illusions elicit. Among the question we address are: What is magic? What role does magic play in our day-to-day lives (such as superstitions)? Can you trust your eyes? Can you trust your memories? How can we unconsciously influence your behavior? What is hypnosis? Can you detect lies and deception? The main objectives of this course are to use magical illusions as a vehicle to discuss advances in our understanding of the mind and thus bring cognitive psychology/neuroscience to life. While you learn about some of the secrets in magic, the main emphasis lies in understanding the brain mechanisms involved in our everyday illusions and the fascinating and unexpected reality of our internal world. Prerequisite: None. (class number 33799)


 

 

Making Sense: Language, Logic, and Interpretation (Fall 2016)
Gennaro Chierchia / Linguistics / chierch@fas.harvard.edu & Stuart Shieber / Computer Science / shieber@seas.harvard.edu & Virginie Greene / Romance Languages and Literatures / vgreene@fas.harvard.edu
Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning 11, Mondays and Wednesdays 1-2:30 p.m., Sever 110
Why is human language capable of conveying meaningful information to a degree unmatched by natural or artificial codes? Why does semantic content spontaneously attach to speech sounds, but not in the same way to, say, music? We claim that this has to do with language being the carrier of a spontaneous form of logic. We investigate our hypothesis by using formal models from logic, linguistics, computer science, and literary criticism. We show how such models can be helpful in better understanding ordinary, everyday communication, as well as literary fiction through a reading of texts by Euripides, Cervantes, Austen, Proust, and others. Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding or Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning, but not both. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past. (class number 23216, course ID 125750)


 

Neuroaesthetics (fall 2016)
Nancy Etcoff / Medical School / etcoff@gmail.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980n, Thursdays 1-3 p.m., William James 303
Focuses on neuroaesthetics, an emerging field offering a scientific perspective on the nature of art and the ways that art reveals human nature. Integrates findings from neuroscience, psychology, evolutionary biology, philosophy, and scholarship in the arts and humanities. Beings with a brief history of ideas on aesthetics, art, beauty, and pleasure. Considers the neural underpinnings of response to art in the brain's reward system and default network. Among the questions considered: Why are people drawn to art that is neither conventionally beautiful nor entirely pleasurable? Is art a vehicle for simulating experiences and understanding other minds? What does it mean to "enjoy" sad music or chills and thrills in response to fiction or film? Can art promote well-being? The course will range across the arts but will focus on fiction, film, and music, and response to art rather than its creation. (class number 25806, course ID 161267)


 

The Origins and Evolution of Cognition: A Comparative Study of Human and Nonhuman Abilities (spring 2017)
Irene Pepperberg / Psychology / impepper@media.mit.edu
*Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980g, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m. (NEW TIME), William James B4
Note: Offered jointly with Psychology as Psychology 980JC. Only one of MBB 980G or Psy 980JC can be taken for credit.
Most scientists agree cognition is widespread in nature and involves an organism processing information to solve problems (like avoiding predators, finding prey, attracting a mate, achieving shelter), and in humans higher-level reasoning and conceptualizing. Less clear are the origins and evolutionary basis of cognition-what evolutionary pressures were exerted that selected for such processing? Explores possible ways to answer this question with research in anthropology, neurobiology, philosophy, psychology, genetics, sociality, and other disciplines. Faculty from a variety of departments attend discussions in their areas of expertise and assist students in coming to their own conclusions. (class number10312, course ID 109872)


 

The Self: What Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience Tell Us (spring 2017)
Marie-Christine Nizzi / Psychology / mnizzi@fas.harvard.edu
*Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980o, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., William James B4
Gives a more integrative understanding to sense of self using philosophical theories, neuropsychological quantitative cognitive tests, and neurological conditions involving self disorders. Considers two primary dimensions for sense of self: the diachronic self as based on memory and the synchronic self grounded in the body. Topics include personal identity, mind/brain reduction, first vs. third person perspective, phenomenology of self, introspection, quantitative vs. qualitative methods. Provides appreciation of the advantage of bringing together cross-disciplinary perspectives (neurological, philosophical, and psychological) and research methods (introspection, philosophical intuitions, psychometric tests, behavioral tests, empirical research, and clinical approach). Class Note: Not open to students who have taken MBB 94z. (class number 33876, course ID 204011)


 

What Disease Teaches about Cognition (spring 20167
William Milberg / Medical School / wmilberg@hms.harvard.edu and Michael Alexander / Medical School / malexand@bidmc.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980h, Tuesdays 5-7 p.m., William James B4
Seeks to reconcile the complicated and messy problems of patients with brain disease with the concise analysis of precisely defined cognitive functions in normal subjects. Students will learn to overlap cognitive functions on to the brain in disease - at the gross dissection and imaging levels - and to understand some of the complex interactions of individual cognitive operations in disease. Includes dissection of a human brain, mapping on to imaging, dissection of multi-dimensional clinical disorders into their component functional parts. (class number 10311, course ID 109866)



 

DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS

 

Animal Cognition (fall 2016)
Irene Pepperberg / Psychology / impepper@media.mit.edu
Psychology 980f, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 950
This course is an introduction to the study of animal cognition and thought processes. Topics include categorization, memory, number concepts, insight, and language-like behavior. The course requires reading and critiquing original journal articles. Note: Not open to students who have taken PSY 1351. Prerequisite: Science of Living Systems 20 and at least one course from PSY 13, PSY 14, PSY 15, PSY 18, or SLS15. Enrollment: Limited to 16. (class number 13951, course ID 107432)


 

Brain Damage as a Window into the Mind: Cognitive Neuropsychology (fall 2016)
Alfonso Caramazza / Psychology / caramazz@fas.harvard.edu
Psychology 1304, Tuesdays 1:30-4 p.m., William James B6
Examines the patterns of perceptual, motor, cognitive, and linguistic impairments resulting from brain damage. The focus is on the implications of the various types of neuropsychological deficits (such as visual neglect, dyslexia, and aphasia) for theories of the mind and the functional organization of the brain. Prerequisite: Science of Living Systems 20 and Psych13, Psych 14, or MCB 80. (class number 10904, course ID 116622)


 

The Clever Human Brain: How We Control the Flow of Information and Make Good Decisions (fall 2016)
Yaoda Xu / Psychology / yaodaxu@wjh.harvard.edu
Psychology 1456 / Mondays 2-4 p.m., William James 765
Vital to any intelligent system is the ability to extract useful information from our surroundings and use it to make good judgments and decisions. What clever tricks does our brain use to accomplish this task? In this seminar we will have an in-depth examination of how our brain gates the flow of information with attentional control, how it encodes and stores goal-directed information in working memory, and how it encodes values, resolves conflicts and makes good decisions. Recommended Prep: Science of Living Systems 20 or equivalent and one of either MCB 80, Psy 14, PSY 1401, or other neuroscience or related experience by permission of instructor. Instructor permission required. (class number 24876, course ID 203658)


 

Computational Cognitive Neuroscience: Building Models of the Brain (fall 2016)
Samuel Gershman / Psychology / gershman@fas.harvard.edu
Psychology 1401, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-11:30 a.m., William James B6
"What I cannot create, I do not understand." This course applies Richard Feynman's dictum to the brain, by teaching students how to simulate brain function with computer programs. Special emphasis will be placed on how neurobiological mechanisms give rise to cognitive processes like learning, memory, attention, decision-making, and object perception. Students will learn how to understand experimental data through the lens of computational models, and ultimately how to build their own models. Recommended Prep: Students should be comfortable with a numerical programming language (e.g., Python, Matlab, R). Psychology concentrators should have taken SLS 20 and at least one course from PSY 13, PSY 14, PSY 15, PSY 18, SLS15, or MCB 80.

 

Debugging the Brain: Computational Approaches to Mental Dysfunction (spring 2017)
Samuel Gershman / Psychology / gershman@fas.harvard.edu
Psychology 1451, Wednesdays 2-4 p.m., William James B6 (basement classroom)
This course examines recent work applying computational models to mental disorders. These models formalize psychopathology in terms of breakdown in fundamental neurocognitive processes, linking normal and abnormal brain function within a common framework. Computational modeling has already begun to yield insights, and even possible treatments, for a wide range of disorders, including schizophrenia, autism, Parkinson’s, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The course will consist of weekly readings from the primary literature, with one student leading the discussion of each paper. Note: Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates, with permission of instructor. Recommended Preparation: Psychology 18 or Psychology 1401. (class number 23484, course ID 203211)


 

 

Human Cognition: Reading and Writing the Neural Code (fall 2016 and spring 2017)
Shaun Patel / Medical School / shaun.patel@mgh.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 106a and 106b, Thursdays 6-7:30 p.m., Robinson 106
In this course, we will explore a new and cutting-edge discipline in neuroscience -- invasive human neurophysiology. Some neurosurgical procedures, such as deep brain stimulation surgery, allow for the unique opportunity to directly access the human brain while patients are awake-and-behaving. Topics will include: place/grid cells, deep brain stimulation, epilepsy, face processing, brain-machine control, and reward processing. (fall class number 25294, fall course ID 159700, spring class number 33711, spring course ID 159701)


 

Human Sexuality: Research and Presentation Seminar (fall 2016)
Judith Flynn / Human Evolutionary Biology / jflynn@fas.harvard.edu
Human Evolutionary Biology 1312, Thursdays 2:30-4:30 p.m., Quincy House S001 (Stone Innovation Room)
An examination of human sexuality from a scientific perspective. Students will read and present primary scientific literature that highlights current research on a variety of topics including: sexual development, gender identity, sexual orientation, cross cultural variations in mating systems, promiscuity, the evolution of monogamy, sexual attraction, sexual communication, including an exploration of the existence of human pheromones, libido and sexual dysfunction. Notes: Class capacity 12. Instructor consent required. (class number 11217, course ID 122589)


 

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (fall 2016 and spring 2017)
Elisa Galliano / Molecular and Cellular Biology / elisa.galliano@kcl.ac.uk and Joe Zak / Molecular and Cellular Biology / jzak@fas.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 111, Wednesdays 6:30-8 p.m., Robinson 105
Learning and memory are dynamic processes of the brain that allow us to both interact with and interpret our environment. This course will explore the mechanistic basis of neuronal plasticity through a series of lectures and group discussions. In addition to exploring topics covering both synaptic and non-synaptic plasticity, students will gain experience critically evaluating original research articles. (fall class number 25297, fall course ID 203851, spring class number 33714, spring course ID 203852)


 

Pleasure, Pain, and Everything Between: How Touch Encodes the World around Us (fall 2016 and spring 2017)
Amanda Zimmerman / Medical School / amanda_zimmerman@hms.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 107a and 107b, Wednesdays 7-8:30 p.m., Robinson 106
We rely on our sense of touch for essential tasks and behaviors, including feeding, object recognition and grasping, avoiding physical harm, mating behaviors, and child rearing. This course covers the neural components and circuitry that underlie our sense of touch. From skin to the cortex, we will explore touch and its role in development, diseases, and most importantly, in our everyday life. (fall class number 25295, fall course ID 159702, spring class number 33712, spring course ID 159703)


 

Precision Neuroscience (fall 2016 and spring 2017)
Eva Naumann / Molecular and Cellular Biology / eva@mcb.harvard.edu and Armin Bahl / Moleculdar Biology / arminbahl@fas.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 109a and 109b, Thursdays 7-9:30 p.m., Robinson 105
How do neural circuits produce variability in the behavior of individuals? To understand how brains generate the behavioral differences that shape personality, we will study modern advances in neuroscience, from ion channels to whole-brain activity mapping. We will explore these ideas with a focus on the individual and will discuss the possibility of precision medicine applied to mental illness. Students will receive credit upon completing Part B of the course. Prerequisite: MCB 80 OR MCB 81. (fall class number 25296, fall course ID 203341, spring class number 33713, spring course ID 203342)


 

Psychosemantics (spring 2017)
Kathryn Davidson / Linguistics / kathryndavidson@fas.harvard.edu
Linguistics 132, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m., Barker 103
Explores issues at the interface of linguistic semantics, pragmatics and psychology. Introduces how the analysis of meaning has been pursued by linguists and psychologists. Focuses on topics that are both of central interest to theoretical linguistics and the target of experimental research. These include sentence structure, sentential connectives, quantification, numbers, mass-count distinction, adjectives and comparison, scales and modalities. Recommended Prep: A background in psychology or linguistics; some acquaintance with both helpful but not necessary. (class number 33077, course id 123448)


 

Research Methods in Endocrinology (fall 2016)
Susan Lipson / Human Evolutionary Biology / sflipson@fas.harvard.edu
*Human Evolutionary Biology 1418, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11 a.m. and a weekly two-hour laboratory either Monday or Wednesday afternoon, Museum of Comparative Zoology 539
An introduction to research in behavioral endocrinology (the study of how hormones and behavior are related), focusing on: 1) laboratory techniques (immunoassay) for the measurement of hormone levels (testosterone, cortisol, and C-peptide) in saliva and urine and 2) study design strategies and data analysis methods. Students complete original research projects, collecting samples, analyzing data on hormone levels and how they are related to various aspects of behavior and/or physiology, and presenting their results orally to the class, and in written reports. Course Notes: This course includes a mandatory two-hour laboratory section per week. Students will be given the option to choose either Monday or Wednesday afternoon for their laboratory section. Lab safety training required (after enrollment). This course fulfills the research seminar requirement for Human Evolutionary Biology. Instructor consent required. Recommended Prep: Human Evolutionary Biology 1310 or Life Sciences 2 or with permission of instructor. (class number 13694, course ID 110741)


 

Sensing a Chemical World (fall 2016 and spring 2017)
Taralyn Tan / Medical School / ttan@fas.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 110a and 110b, Tuesdays 6-7:30 p.m. Robinson 105
Animals are faced with the daunting task of making sense of the chemical world around them. Through lectures, activities, and discussion of primary literature, this course will introduce the molecular receptors that animals use to detect olfactory and taste stimuli in the environment, and the organizational principles by which the nervous system processes chemosensory cues to drive behaviors. Course Requirements: Prerequisite: MCB 80 OR MCB 81. (fall class number 25928, fall course ID 203343, spring class number 33881, spring course ID 203344)


 

The Social Brain (spring 2017)
Katherine Powers / Psychology / kpowers@fas.harvard.edu
Psychology 980ja, Mondays 1-3 p.m., WIlliam James 950
Many believe that the human brain evolved to support the complex demands of interacting with other people. In this class, we will explore how our brains are wired to allow us to know ourselves, to know what other people are thinking, and predict what they might do, and to regulate our actions to most effectively interact with others. We will combine theories and findings from social psychology, evolutionary psychology, and neuroscience to work towards an understanding of the brain in a social context. Recommended Prep: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 (or equivalent) and either PSY 14 or MCB 80 before enrolling in this course, or permission of instructor. (class number 33836, course ID 156640)


 

Stress: Research and Presentation Seminar (spring 2017)
Judith F. Chapman / Human Evolutionary Biology / jflynn@fas.harvard.edu
Human Evolutionary Biology 1313, Fridays 2-4 p.m., CGIS South S-040
An examination of stress from a scientific perspective with a focus on stress research in mammals, especially primate and humans. A writing and speaking intensive seminar that will explore the basics of the stress response, physiological effects of the stress and factors that affect stress responsiveness, such as perinatal and early life effects, social support, outlets for frustration and coping skills. The relationship between stress and disease will also be explored. Scientific studies of the effectiveness of modalities of stress reduction will also be discussed. Students will present primary scientific literature that highlights current research on a variety of topics in the field. Enrollment: Limited to 10. Instructor consent required. (class number 11837, course ID 127757)


 

Styles of Thought (spring 2017)
Elinor Amit / Psychology / elinor.amit@gmail.com
Psychology 980jb, Tuesdays 2-4 p.m., William James 950
We think all the time. But what are thoughts made up of? And what are the many different ways in which we think? Do we think in pictures or in words? When you’re hungry, do you think about “food” or about “almond pancakes with Vermont maple syrup”? Do children think differently from adults? How does imagination affect our moral judgment? How do we prospect about the future? Is abstract thinking “deeper” or “better” than concrete thinking? Are pictures more “emotional” than words? And do situational factors play a role in the way we think, or is it all about stable individual differences? The purpose of this course is to think about thoughts. We will give some answers to these and other fascinating questions about how people think, and what are the implications of the style of thought to perceptions, judgments, predictions, and actions towards the social world. Our goals are (1) to understand the cognitive processes that underlie different styles of thought, and the neural correlates of these mechanisms; (2) to compare different approaches to the concept of abstraction; (3) to consider under what circumstances people naturally use more abstract (versus more concrete) representations of information; and (4) to examine the expression of abstraction processes in the realm of social cognition. Recommended Prep: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 (or equivalent) and at least one foundational course from PSY 14, PSY 15, PSY 16, PSY 18 or Science of Living Systems 15 before enrolling in this course. (class number 33890, course ID 108956)


 

Visual Recognition: Computational and Biophysical Perspective (fall 2016)
Gabriel Kreiman / Medical School / gabriel.kreiman@childrens.harvard.edu
Neurobiology 130, Mondays 3:30-5:30 pm., Biological Labs 2062/2064
Examines how neuronal circuits represent information and how those circuits are implemented in artificial intelligence algorithms. Topics: architecture of visual cortex, neurophysiology, visual consciousness, computational neuroscience, models of pattern recognition and computer vision. Note: Neuro 130 cannot be taken if Neuro 230 has been taken. Neuro 130 cannot be taken concurrently with Neuro 230. Prerequisite: (Life Sciences 1A or LPS A) AND Life Sciences 1B. Recommended Preparation: Math (Maa/Mab, Math 1A,1B, Math 19 a or equivalent). Physical Sciences 1. MCB 80. (class number 25298, course ID 160750)