SPRING MBB 980 LOTTERY
Students will be admitted to spring MBB 980 courses via lottery. The lottery will take into account student and instructor preferences, and enrollment limits (15) and priorities (MBB students). To enter the lottery, attend the first class meeting and complete the lottery form on Thursday, January 31st between 5 and 9 p.m., and then add your preferred seminar (s) to your Crimson Cart. Students will be emailed about lottery results by Friday morning.
On This Page:
-List of Page Updates
-Seminar Program Overview
-Departmental Courses That Fulfill This Requirement
Information Sessions - all students are welcome to attend!
Fall 2018 Seminars: Tuesday 4 September, 5-5:50 p.m., William James Hall B1 (basement auditorium)
Spring 2019 Seminars: Monday 28 January, 5-6 p.m., William James Hall B1 (basement auditorium)
Updates to This Page
31 August: room location changes for MBB 980L, MBB 980P, and MBB 980U
3 December: day change for MBB 980B
13 December: spring room locations added; MBB S-105 added; Linguistics 132 deleted; History of Science 149 deleted (likely to be offered spring 2021); new times added for HEB 1389, HEB 1610, Philosophy 158a, Psychology 980JO, Psychology 980JU, and Psychology 1401
11 January: new meeting time for MBB 980H; new location for MBB 980S
28 January: added intro video for MBB 980R
Seminar Program Overview
Each MBB student is required to take an Interdisciplinary Seminar, usually 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.
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. In addition to the seminars listed currently, we expect to offer several additional seminars in the spring.
To help with MBB 980 shopping, we are now holding a seminar information session at the start of each semester. At each session, the instructors for the semester’s seminars will briefly describe their plans for their courses and answer any questions you may have. We encourage all interested students to attend this helpful session. The fall session will take place on Tuesday 4 September, 5-5:50 p.m. in William James Hall B1 (basement auditorium). The spring session will take place on Monday 28 January, 5-6 p.m., also in William James B1.
To enroll in an MBB 980 seminar, attend the first class meeting, then participate in the seminars lottery noted at the top of this page, and add the course to your Crimson Cart. Before the course registration deadline of September 12th/February 1st, you will be emailed to inform you if you have a space in the seminar. If you are admitted, your instructor will approve your course admissions online.
In addition to the MBB 980 courses, some departmental courses also qualify, and are listed below after the MBB seminars.
Neuroscience/Neurobiology students are expected to choose only from among the MBB 980 courses (no departmental options). Some tracks, including Psychology and Human Evolutionary Biology, will want to approve which course a student takes from those listed below; consult your concentration advisor if this applies to you.
The Biological and Social Embedding of Early Life Stress (fall 2018)
Sarah Jensen / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980U, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 401 (exception: on September 4th, class will meet in William James 1550)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 208068, class # 20125
A large epidemiological literature along with experimental studies in both humans and animals attests to the wide-ranging and long-lasting effects of early experiences on physical and mental well-being. In this course, we will address the complex but fundamental question of how these early experiences get “under the skin.” Specifically, we will explore the mechanisms by which early experiences (e.g., caregiving environment, poverty, and maltreatment) interact with biological systems (e.g., the stress response, inflammatory and metabolic processes, and cellular aging mechanisms) to shape developmental trajectories. While biological disruptions serve as the primary interface between our experiences, body, and mind, such biological disruptions will be discussed in light of the complex social human environments that, along with other moderating factors such as genomic variation, shape individual susceptibility to early experiences. By the end of this course, the learner will (1) develop a mechanistic understanding of the long-term consequences of early life modulations of biological systems underlying physical and mental health; (2) understand major theoretical frameworks of human development, including ecological, stress-vulnerability, cumulative stress, and complex interactional models; (3) critically evaluate the existing scientific literature; and (4) examine how insights from science can be translated into clinical and political change to promote and support healthy development of children domestically and across the globe.
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Film (Study Abroad in Trento, Italy, summer 2019)
Jeffrey Zacks / Psychological and Brain Sciences / Washington University (St. Louis)
Mind, Brain, and Behavior S-105 (Harvard Summer School)
4 units of course credit, class # 34515
Movies occupy an outsized share of the human psychological and economic landscape. They are also terrifically rich, dynamic stimuli that exercise perception, comprehension, and memory systems. This means that movies have the potential to illuminate psychological mechanisms of understanding and memory. In this course, students explore psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie the experience of the movie viewer, and use film theory and practice to explore psychological hypotheses about how people make sense of the complex events that make up our lives. Prerequisite: MBB S-101 (Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain). Limited enrollment; apply through Harvard Summer School. Application, linked from https://www.summer.harvard.edu/study-abroad/trento-italy, is due 31 January 2019.
Cognitive Neuroscience of Meditation (spring 2019)
Sara Lazar / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980S, Mondays 6-8 p.m., William James B4 (basement seminar room)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 207901, class # 17124
Buddhist philosophy describes a model of how the mind works, as well as a method, mindfulness meditation, that can be used as a tool to transform consciousness and reduce mental distress. Neuroscientists have begun to study the impact of meditation on brain structure and function, often using Buddhist philosophy to guide their hypotheses. We will review and discuss how the science relates to Buddhist philosophy, using the four foundations of mindfulness as the primary framework. We will also compare and contrast the Buddhist model with modern scientific models of how conscious experience is created in the brain, in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of consciousness that integrates philosophy, neuroscience, and personal experience. No prior knowledge of Buddhism is required. The course will be a mixture of lecture, discussion of two primary scientific articles that are assigned each week, and formal powerpoint presentations by students. Students will write a final paper on a topic of their choice that is relevant to the themes of the course.
Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students (fall 2018)
Shelley Carson / Psychology, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980F, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 950
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 128215, class # 13234
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. The course format will consist of a combination of lectures, student presentations, and discussion. Students will write a final paper on the topic of their choice related to creativity.
Dopamine (fall 2018)
Barak Caine / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980L, Wednesdays 6-8 p.m., William James 305
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160758, class # 14934
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.).
Exploring Addiction (spring 2019)
Gene Heyman / Psychology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980B, Thursdays 6-8 p.m., William James 303
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 124115, class # 20317
Course goals include an introduction to the varied and conflicting claims about the nature of addiction. Topics include (1) the characteristics of addiction as revealed in biographies, epidemiological studies, clinical research, and "natural experiments;" (2) the current "drug overdose epidemic," including an opportunity to explore its social-economic correlates; (3) genetic influences on alcohol consumption and AA; (4) drug-induced cognitive changes and their implications for drug use; (5) smoking; (6) consideration of the consequences of legalizing marijuana; and (7) an introduction to research-based, quantitative choice models (e.g., delay discounting). The section on drug overdoses includes access to EXCEL files that combine national, state-level data on drug overdoses, prescription sales, and social-economic measures (e.g., "social capital").
Fighting Cancer with the Mind (spring 2019)
Jamie Jacobs / Medical School / email@example.com & William Pirl / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980K, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 950
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 156497, class # 20038
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.
Functional Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Disorders: Insights into the Human Brain-Mind in Health and Disease (spring 2019)
David Silbersweig / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980M, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James B6 (basement seminar room)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160759, class # 13995
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.
Neuroaesthetics (fall 2018)
Nancy Etcoff / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980N, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James 401
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 161267, class # 15755
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. Begins 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 focus on visual art, fiction, film, and to a lesser extent, music, and on our response to art rather than its creation. The course will include a semester long gallery classroom at the Harvard Art Museum with original works of art from the museum’s collections that will serve as primary source materials for study and as subjects of assignments.
Neuroeconomics (Study Abroad in Trento, Italy, summer 2018)
Giorgio Coricelli / Economics and Psychology/University of Southern California
Mind, Brain, and Behavior S-93 (Harvard Summer School)
4 units of course credit, combined with MBB S-100 gives Science of Living Systems credit in General Education, class # 34147
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. Limited enrollment.
Of Mice and Microbes: How Microbes Shape Animal Behavior (fall 2018)
Christopher Baker / Organismic and Evolutionary Biology / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980Q, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 950
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 207089, class # 20121
Animals constantly interact with an astonishing diversity of microbes, far outstripping the animals themselves in terms of cell counts or genetic content. While many interactions may be fleeting encounters in a shared environment, it is the capacity for symbiosis that makes animal-‐microbe interactions so special. Microbial symbioses range from highly antagonistic relationships to intimate obligate mutualisms. Across that spectrum, coevolution produces some of the most elaborate adaptations to be found in biology. This course explores a variety of animal-‐microbe symbioses through the lens of animal behavioral ecology. Topics may include gut microbiomes and host nutrition; microbial agriculture; host chemical defenses; mind-‐controlling parasitoids; host chemical communications; host behavior and symbiont acquisition; and the gut-‐ brain axis and dysbiosis. The course will explore both proximate mechanisms and ultimate explanations, and will emphasize critical reading of the primary literature.
Psychopaths and Psychopathy: Psychological, Neuroscientific, Legal, and Policy Issues (spring 2019)
Ellsworth Fersch / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980R, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., Winthrop House B002 (AV Seminar Room, Beren Hall lower level)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 207090, class # 17123
Psychopathy is often used to describe individuals who act in criminal even non-criminal predatory or conscience-less fashion. It is not, however, an official term in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, though antisocial personality disorder has in the past been described as encompassing psychopathy and sociopathy. Psychopathy was explored by Cleckley in his 1944 book The Mask of Sanity: and by Robert Hare in his 1999 book Without Conscience, and in his 2003 revision of his Psychopathy Check-list. My psychology department seminar on Psychopaths and Psychopathy a decade ago focused on behavioral research and case studies up to that time. By that time the American Psychiatric Association had issued a statement that psychopaths and those with antisocial personality disorder were not, for heuristic reasons, eligible for the insanity defense. Also, at that time, the determination that a convicted killer was a psychopath was often a strong indicator that the death penalty was warranted. Since then neuroscience research has increasingly explored brain structure and brain function in relation to the disorder causing some professionals to reevaluate the applicability of former positions on insanity and other defenses. Related research has further examined social and philosophical factors, and further operationalized behavioral considerations. In this interdisciplinary discussion-based seminar, students from any of a number of concentrations will examine and discuss that newer research in the context of previous research, and will write and present a briefer case study as well as a longer paper about a topic of their choosing.
brief introductory video - https://youtu.be/Sw6AJ_ek8s4
The Role of Music in Health and Education (fall 2018)
Lisa Wong / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980P, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James 1305
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 205158, class # 18726
Music shapes the course of human history at both a micro and macro scale; it can make an individual weep and rally crowds of thousands to cheer. The "universal language" has the power to connect people who share no other common ground. Its power to bind people together is intuitively understood, but only through recent neuroimaging advances over the past 50 years have scientists been able to move past intuition to reveal its impact on the brain. Through this course, we will examine the exciting progress of the fields of music and medicine, through a variety of lenses. Who are the key investigators and practitioners in today's emerging music / brain landscape? What are the latest discoveries about how music influences the brain? How does the direct application of music function — how do we hear, how do we listen, and what happens when this process goes wrong? What has music's role been through human history, and where does that bring us today? This course invites the student to deepen his/her relationship with music exploring different aspects of the art form through several perspectives, including neuroscientist, educator, musician, therapist, patient, and healthcare provider. By the end of this course, the learner will (1) understand the effect of music on the developing brain; (2) understand the mechanism of hearing music; (3) consider the pathophysiology of disordered movement and hearing and how music can be used therapeutically; and (4) understand how other disciplines can add educational and neuroscientific knowledge to therapeutic uses of music. Students will be invited to bring their own experiences to the seminar, and to pursue a final independent project, conducting a combination of scientific, historical, education, or psychology research. In the final weeks, they will present their findings to the group in oral, written or musical format. Given the transdisciplinary nature of the work, students will be challenged to read literature from a variety of genres, from lay literature to educational monographs to scientific papers. This will lead to discussion of one of the key questions in interdisciplinary study between the sciences and the arts: how to research and document outcomes. How do we agree on common definitions of research in disparate fields? What constitutes research to a musician? A music therapist? A neuroscientist? A physician? What is proof of success? What can/should be measured?
What Disease Teaches about Cognition (spring 2019)
William Milberg / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org & Michael Alexander / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980H, Tuesdays 3:45-5:45 p.m., William James B4 (basement seminar room)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 109866, class # 15801
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.
Among the departmental seminars that fulfill the MBB seminar requirement are neuroscience 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 101Xa/101Xb pairs, and when you complete both halves, you will receive four units credit. If you are interested in any of these, you may want to attend the Neuroscience Tutorial Fair on Tuesday, September 4th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Bauer Laboratories Cafe. Information on sectioning for neurobiology tutorials is available at https://mcb.harvard.edu/undergraduates/neuroscience/neuro-courses/?course-button=tutorials.
Animals in History (spring 2019)
Janet Brown / History of Science / firstname.lastname@example.org & Rebecca Lemov / History of Science / email@example.com
History of Science 137, Wednesdays 3-5:45 p.m., Harvard Hall 202
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 160366,
class # 18146
This course serves as an introduction to animal studies while also exploring the history of animals in relation to humans. Topics include the history of animals as food, laboratory animals, animal-human boundaries, museum and zoo displays, conservation and extinction, panda diplomacy, the anti-vivisection movement, animals in literature, and animals as pets. All these issues invest animals with crucial socio-political meaning. There will be a field trip and perhaps films. Small research projects through the semester will allow students to explore their own interests as well as relevant issues in the news. Among the things that make animal studies such an interesting area is the constant need for scholars to be aware of their own commitments and assumptions. Students from History, History of Science, and History and Literature are all welcome.
Brain Damage as a Window into the Mind: Cognitive Neuropsychology (fall 2018)
Alfonso Caramazza / Psychology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 1304, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-2:45 p.m., William James B6 (basement seminar room)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, course ID 116622, class # 12410
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 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g., Psych AP=5 or IB=7 or Psyc S-1) and at least one foundational course from Psychology 14, MCB 80, or MCB 80 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Coming of Age on Planet Earth (spring 2019)
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz / Human Evolutionary Biology / email@example.com
Human Evolutionary Biology 1389, Tuesdays 6-8:45 p.m., Museum of Comparative Zoology 529
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 205493, class # 17085
The challenges of adult maturation are not unique to our species. Some young adult animals take risks and lose their lives, others respond to stress with eating problems or to traumatic first sexual encounters with subsequent dysfunction. The course will use a comparative approach to explore how young adult animals learn to be safe, how they acquire or lose status and rank, how they come of age sexually, and how they learn to survive and thrive on their own. The course will combine analysis of literature from scientific fields (behavioral ecology, endocrinology and evolutionary biology) and the humanities (coming of age short stories and novels) for a comparative analysis of the common challenges of maturation across the animal kingdom and in human life.
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience: Building Models of the Brain (spring 2019)
Samuel Gershman / Psychology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 1401 / Neuroscience 1401, Mondays and Wednesdays 12-1:15 p.m., Northwest Building B101
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160656, class # 18453
"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 Preparation: Students be comfortable with a numerical programming language (e.g.,Python, Matlab, R). Psychology concentrators should have taken Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) and at least one foundational course from PSY 14, PSY 15, PSY 16, PSY 18, Science of Living Systems 15, MCB 80 or MCB 81 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
First Language Acquisition (fall 2018)
Masoud Jafarali Jasbi / Linguistics / email@example.com
Linguistics 111, Thursdays 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Boylston 303
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Arts and Humanities, course ID 207774, class # 19376
This course investigates the process of acquiring language in childhood, through the lens of formal, corpus, and experimental linguistics. What is it about the human mind that makes it so good at learning language, and why are children such natural language learners? Topics will include syntax, semantics, morphology, and phonology, with an emphasis on different methods and argumentation related to understanding first language acquisition.
Genes and Human Adaptations (spring 2019)
Maryellen Ruvolo / Human Evolutionary Biology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Evolutionary Biology 1610, Wednesdays 12-2:45 p.m., Peabody Museum 52H
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 203909, class # 16604
Natural selection produces genetic changes that make a population better able to reproduce and survive in an ever-changing environment, a process known as adaptation. This course examines adaptations common to all humans (since divergence from our closest primate relatives) and those that have occurred in particular populations as humans dispersed around the globe and responded to the challenges of novel environments, diets, and diseases. We will focus on the genetic evidence for adaptations as detected from the signals left by natural selection on the genome. Evidence for potentially adaptive alleles having been introduced into some human genomes from hominin relatives, the Neandertals and Denisovans, will be considered. To place human adaptations in broader evolutionary perspective, we will investigate adaptations in diverse non-human species where the genetic and genomic bases of adaptation are often known more completely. Prerequisites: LS1b with an A or B, or a passing score on an instructor-administered pre-course quiz to demonstrate knowledge of complex trait genetics / mastery of genetics. Permission of the instructor required. Class size limited to 8.
Human Cognition: Reading and Writing the Neural Code (fall 2018 and spring 2019)
Shaun Patel / Medical School / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101Ea/b (formerly Neurobiology 106 a/b), Thursdays 6-7:15 p.m., Sever 303 (fall), Robinson 105 (spring)
4 units of course credit for 101Ea and 101Eb combined, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, fall course ID 159700, spring course ID 159701, fall class # 16374, spring class # 16320
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. Note: Students must complete both terms of the course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisite: MCB 80 or MCB 81.
Mind, Brain, and Behavior Proseminar: Inference and Memory (spring 2019)
Susanna Siegel / Philosophy / firstname.lastname@example.org
Philosophy 158A, Wednesdays 12-2 p.m., Sever 207
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Arts and Humanities, course ID 117852, class # 18640
In this MBB proseminar we will study both philosophical and psychological theories of episodic memory. Much work in psychology analyses episodic memory in terms of inference. We will spend some time studying different approaches to inference in philosophy. Readings will include but not be limited to selections from philosophers Shoemaker, Michaelian, Martin, Campbell, and Debus, and psychologists Tulving, Schachter, and Neisser.
Mind Reading v2.0 (spring 2019)
Christine Looser / Psychology / email@example.com
Psychology 980JU, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., William James 401
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 160690, class # 20001
Mind reading is not the stuff of science fiction, it is a complex set of mental processes honed throughout our evolutionary history that allow us to survive and thrive in a social world. But what is a mind? Who has one? Can we ever know what is in the minds of others? We will attempt to answer these questions by exploring how the human mind uses perceptual information to infer other peoples’ thoughts, beliefs, and desires. In this iteration of the course, we will also explore how mind perception is mediated though social technology by reading empirical papers and designing studies to address open questions in the field. Our goal is to critically examine how our social brains, shaped by evolution to understand other minds, might thrive or wither in an increasingly connected world. Note: This is the same course as PSY1562 Mind Reading which has been offered previously. Students who have taken 1562 cannot enroll in this course. Recommended Preparation: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) 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; or permission of instructor.
Neanderthals and Other Extinct Humans (fall 2018)
Bridget Alex / Human Evolutionary Biology, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Evolutionary Biology 1200, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:45 a.m., Museum of Comparative Zoology 529
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160467, class # 19624
Over the past 100,000 years why did modern humans survive while other human lineages went extinct? This seminar will center on comparing modern humans to Neanderthals and other extinct humans using the genetic, fossil, and archaeological records. With a focus on science outreach and communication, students will create videos and activities for the public, to be shared in schools and museums. Prerequisite: LS1B.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (fall 2018 and spring 2019)
Joseph Zak / Molecular and Cellular Biology / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101Fa/b (previously Neurobiology 111a/b), Tuesdays 6-7:15 p.m., Sever 302 (fall), Robinson 105 (spring)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, fall course ID 203851, spring course ID 203852, fall class # 16375, spring class # 16321
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. Prerequisite: (LPS A or LS 1a) and (MCB 80 or MCB 81).
The Neurobiology of Sleep and its Role in Mental Health (fall 2018 and spring 2019)
Edward Pace-Schott / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neuroscience 101La/b, Mondays 4:30-5:45 p.m., Sever 105
4 units of course credit (for 101La and 101Lb combined), divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, fall course ID 207615, spring course ID 207616, fall class # 18653, spring class # 18729
The scientific study of sleep is both highly interdisciplinary and among the most unifying of topics in psychology and the neurosciences. In the past several decades, exciting new discoveries on the neurobiology of sleep have been facilitated by technologies such as functional neuroimaging and molecular genetics. Sleep science exemplifies the translational approach in biomedical science whereby investigators in human and animal research work together to continually advance the field of sleep medicine. Scientific findings increasingly point to the importance of sleep for mental health and optimum performance, as well as to sleep disruption as both a result and potential cause of mental illness. In psychiatric neuroscience, sleep is an area in which many fundamental questions remain unanswered due to the unique challenges of studying human sleep. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisite: MCB 80 or MCB 81.
Neuroscience Fiction: An Introduction to Cutting Edge Neuroscience through the Lens of Film and Television (fall 2018)
George Alvarez / Psychology / email@example.com
Psychology 1454, Thursdays, 3-5:30 p.m., William James 765
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 156569, class # 17918
Film and television shows often capture the cutting edge of science, and they sometimes even anticipate future scientific advances. We'll use examples from film and television as an introduction to several hot topics in the field of neuroscience, such as Mind Control, Mind Reading, Smart Pills, and Brain Machine Interfaces, which are all getting closer to reality. Will neuroscientists ever be able to control a person's thoughts, or to know what a person is thinking? Can taking a pill really awaken untapped brain power? Will you ever be able to drive a car without touching a steering wheel? In this course, we will cover the state of the art and the future of these exciting areas of neuroscience (and entertainment). Because these are not textbook topics, this is an advanced course that will focus on reading and discussing the primary literature. Recommended Preparation: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) and at least one foundational course from PSY 14 or MCB 80 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
The Sciences of Memory, Lies, and Pain (spring 2019)
Yvan Prkachin / History of Science / firstname.lastname@example.org
History of Science 177V, Wednesdays 9-11:45 a.m., Sever 203
4 units of course credit, course ID 207906, class # 19648
This course will explore a number of key themes in the modern brain and mind sciences by tracing how different scientific fields (neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis and cognitive science) have understood distinctly human experiences such as memory, deception and truth, and physical and mental pain over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics to be examined include the sciences of memory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the sciences of lie detection and their place in the courtroom; the emergence of pain scales and the related sciences of addiction; and the so-called ‘memory wars’ of the twentieth century.
Sex and the Brain (fall 2018 and spring 2019)
Taralyn Tan / Medical School / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101 Ga/b (previously Neurobiology 101Ga/b), Wednesdays 6-7:15 p.m., Barker Center 24
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, fall course ID 205099, spring course ID 205101, fall class # 16376, spring class # 16322
Animals exhibit many innate, sex-specific behaviors that provide useful models to study the underlying neural circuits, and sex differences in the nervous system also have important implications for human health. Through discussions, activities, and lectures, this course introduces students to various aspects of sexually dimorphic neural circuits across model organisms, while emphasizing critical thinking and effective science communication. Course Requirements: Prerequisite: (LPS A OR LS 1A ) AND (MCB 80 OR MCB 81)
Understanding Autism (spring 2019)
John Knutsen / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 980JO, Thursdays 3-5:30 p.m., William James 950
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 207681, class # 18828
One in 50 children is currently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet we still do not know what causes it, or how best to treat it. This course provides students with a broad, interdisciplinary exploration of ASD from infancy through adulthood. We explore three major themes: 1) the psychological and neurological drivers of ASD, including deficits in social cognition, executive function and perception; 2) the epidemiology and clinical practice of ASD, including diagnosis and treatment modalities, and individual and sex/gender differences; and 3) the personal and societal impact of ASD, including discussion of quality of life, neurodiversity, policy and advocacy. Recommended Preparation: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) 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; or permission of instructor.
Visual Recognition: Computational and Biophysical Perspective (fall 2018)
Gabriel Kreiman / Medical School / email@example.com
Neuroscience 130, Mondays 3-5:45 p.m., Biological Labs 2062/2064
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, course ID 160750, class # 15737
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.
What Game Theory Reveals About Social Behavior (fall 2018)
Bethany Burum / Human Evolutionary Biology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Evolutionary Biology 1392, Mondays and Wednesdays 3-4:15 p.m., Museum of Comparative Zoology 529
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 208048, class # 20047
What happens when the benefits of one strategy depend on the strategy chosen by another? From doing favors to driving on the right side of the road, this interdependence characterizes much of human social behavior, and game theory is the tool designed to reveal what results. This course will draw on models from game theory and evolutionary dynamics to explain some of the most puzzling aspects of our psychology, including why we speak indirectly, why people end up in feuds over trivial resources, and where our moral intuitions come from. No prior knowledge of game theory or evolutionary dynami