Italy Summer Program 2017


Harvard Summer School and Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative
June 10th - August 5th
Application due January 26th, 2017


This webpage provides budget application details:


The 2017 Harvard Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences in Trento, Italy, is the eighth time we have offered this 8-week study abroad program that provides both a stimulating academic environment for learning about the mind/brain and a unique cultural experience of living and traveling with Italian college students. This year courses will be taught by faculty from the Mind Brain Behavior (MBB) Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard and the University of Trento. Students enroll in two 4-week courses. Instruction is in English. Courses run Monday through Thursday. Fridays are dedicated to program outings. The program enrolls US and Italian students to foster a cross-cultural learning environment. For the duration of the program, students are housed in University of Trento housing and are enrolled in the University of Trento meal plan. Outings and trips immerse students in Italian culture and tradition. Past events have included hikes in the Italian Alps, a weekend getaway on Lake Garda, and day or overnight trips to cities such as Venice, Verona, and Florence. On free weekends, students can organize additional trips to explore Italy (past students visited Rome and Milan in small groups).


MBB S-101, Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain - Alfonso Caramazza (Psychology/FAS) and John Assad (Harvard Medical School)
The mind/brain can be studied at multiple levels of description and with various methodologies. The course reviews methods from psycholinguistics to neuroimaging, and from computational modeling to cellular and clinical neuroscience. Each method is illustrated through laboratory demonstrations. This course is mandatory for all program participants, and it is meant to provide the neuroscience and cognitive science foundation necessary to explore specific topics in the field. Prerequisite: None.

MBB S-100, Magic and the Mind – Gustav Kuhn (Goldsmiths, University of London)
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 and 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: MBB S-101 or equivalent.



This program counts as two half-year courses (4 credits each) of degree credit. A combination of MBB S-101 and MBB S-100 will fulfill the Science of Living Systems requirement in General Education.

MBB S-100 fulfills the interdisciplinary seminar requirement for MBB tracks and the MBB secondary field, although track students should confirm this with their track advisors. In general, tracks will give one course (4 credits) for completion of the program. MBB S-101 will count as an MBB elective for the MBB secondary field. Note: MBB S-101 does not substitute for either MBB foundational course (SLS 20 or MCB 80).