Italy Summer Program 2018

Harvard Summer School and Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative
June 9th - August 4th
Application due January 25th, 2018


This webpage provides budget application details:


The 2018 Harvard Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences in Trento, Italy, is the ninth 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-93, Neuroeconomics – Giorgio Coricelli (University of Southern California)
Economists have produced remarkable theories describing how people make decisions, but, until recently, their approach treated the human brain as a "black box." The introduction of neuroscience tools (brain imaging, neuropsychological studies, single-cell recording) and the discovery of evidence about the importance of emotional and social states in economic decision making are revealing new perspectives in the field of behavioral economics. This new discipline combines economics, psychology, and neuroscience in order to study decision making in individual and social contexts. Students learn about economic decision-making principles (e.g., choice under risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choices, bargaining, cooperation, and competition); lectures and laboratory sessions cover contemporary theories of behavioral economics as well as the application of methods from neuroscience (e.g., single-cell recording, fMRI, TMS) to the study of decision making.


This program counts as two half-year courses (4 credits each) of degree credit. A combination of MBB S-101 and MBB S-93 will fulfill the Science of Living Systems requirement in General Education.

MBB S-93 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).