NOTE: You can only enroll in an MBB 980 course by entering the lottery. MBB Seminar Lottery Day is Wednesday, August 24th; details and lottery link below (in "Lottery Information" section).
ON THIS PAGE:
-List of Page Updates
-Course Updates (Enrollment, Availability, Location)
-Seminar Program Overview
-Fall 2022 MBB Seminar Descriptions
-Fall 2022 Departmental Courses that Fulfill this Requirement
-Spring 2023 MBB Seminar Descriptions
-Spring 2023 Department Courses
LIST OF PAGE UPDATES
-15 August: Neuro 101VA/B added; Neuro 101PA/B deleted; fall course locations added; instructor emails added; course descriptions added for HEB 1245, HEB 1328, HEB 1353, Neuro 101RA, Neuro 101RA, Neuro 101TA, Neuro 140, Psy 980JS, Psy 980JT, Psy 1451, and Psy 1454
-17 August: course updates section added
-21 August: changed interest form deadline for MBB 980P
-23 August: lottery link added
COURSE UPDATES (ENROLLMENT, AVAILABILITY, LOCATION)
This section will be updated as information changes. Basic course selection information for fall 2022 MBB serminars (with full course descriptions further down the page)...
MBB 980N, Neuroaesthetics - course website (syllabus in Files section) at https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/110799
MBB 980P, The Role of Music in Health and Education - course website with syllabus at https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/106315 - if interested in enrolling, please fill out survey at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdSwhAxcRJSLf_YS2N5uLuDGNE3aza2fkDIcT6hKgTF25bjhA/viewform by Monday 22 August at midnight ET.
MBB 980R, Psychopaths and Psychopathy - course website with syllabus (in Files section) at https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/107086
MBB 980S, Cognitive Neuroscience of Meditation - course website at https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/110800
MBB 980 LOTTERY INFORMATION
Students will be admitted into MBB 980 courses via lottery. The lottery will take into account student and instructor preferences, enrollment limits (15), and priorities (MBB students). You may lottery for multiple seminars (and will be asked to rank your preferences if you do); however, you will only be admitted to one seminar in a given semester.
The fall lottery will take place on Wednesday 24 August. To participate, complete the lottery form by 5:30 p.m. ET. You should only lottery for a course you will definitely take if admitted. Also request admission via your Crimson Cart for all MBB seminars you have lotteried for. Note: Each semester on lottery day, several students are still resolving advising, immunization, or financial holds on their college registration. If this is your situation, you may still lottery for an MBB seminar; indeed, you should participate in the lottery because it is the only opportunity to join a seminar.
You will be informed of lottery results on Thursday 25 August and must enroll in the course that day. If you do not enroll on the 25th, your place in the seminar will likely be taken by another student. Your seminar instructor will approve your enrollment in Crimson Cart by the end of the day on Friday 26 August
(The upcoming spring lottery will take place on Tuesday 17 January, with results announced on Wednesday 18 January and course enrollment due on Thursday 19 January.)
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.
In addition to the MBB 980 courses, some departmental courses also qualify, and are listed below after the MBB seminars.
Neuroscience 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.
MIND BRAIN BEHAVIOR SEMINARS FOR FALL 2022
Cognitive Neuroscience of Meditation
Michael Ferguson / Medical School and Divinity School / email@example.com & Sara Lazar / Medical School
Mind Brain and Behavior 980S, Mondays 6-8 p.m., William James Hall room 1305
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 207091, class # 22966
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.
Nancy Etcoff / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980N, Thursdays 12-2 p.m., William James Hall room 1305
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 161267, class # 22967
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.
Psychopaths and Psychopathy: Psychological, Neuroscientific, Legal, and Policy Issues
Ellsworth Fersch / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980R, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., Winthrop B002 (Beren Hall basement seminar room)
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 207090, class # 14604
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.
The Role of Music in Health and Education
Lisa Wong / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980P, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James Hall room 401
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 205158, class # 14607
Music shapes the course of human history at both a micro and macro scale; 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 few decades have scientists been able to move past intuition to reveal its impact on the brain. In this course, we will examine the exciting progress of the fields of music, science, and social science, through a variety of lenses, and meet some of the experts in the field. Who are the key investigators and practitioners in today's emerging music/brain landscape? What are the latest discoveries about how music affects the brain? How does how we hear and listen impact our perception of music? Who are some of the key influencers in music and social change? This course invites students to deepen their relationship with music, exploring different aspects of the art form through the lens of neuroscience, education, medicine, music therapy, public health and social justice. 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 to their knowledge of the therapeutic uses of music. Given the transdisciplinary nature of the work, students will be introduced to literature from different disciplines and use these resources to explore their own individual interests in music.
DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS FOR FALL 2022
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 of course credit. If you are interested in any of these, consult the neuroscience tutorial page at https://www.mcb.harvard.edu/undergraduate/neuroscience/neuro-courses/?course-button=tutorials. This page will include course descriptions, information and zoom links to the virtual tutorial fair, an explanation of the application process, and a link to the tutorial application. The virtual tutorial fair will take place on Thursday 19 August from 7 to 8 p.m., and the tutorial application deadline is Tuesday 24 August at 7 p.m.
Beyond Dualism: Descartes and His Critics
Alison Simmons / Philosophy-FAS / email@example.com
Philosophy 125, Mondays 9:45-11:45 a.m., Emerson 310
4 units of concentration credit, course ID 121954, class # 21637
Few metaphysicians would identify as Cartesian dualists today. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny that we live in a world shaped by Cartesian dualism: we distinguish somatic health from mental health; we dissociate our minds from our bodies on a long run; we try to get the mind back into the body through yoga. After looking at the two sides of Cartesian dualism, Cartesian body and Cartesian mind, we will consider some of the notorious metaphysical problems it gives rise to and six 17th- century attempts to push back against it in the figures of Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Cambridge Platonists Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Anton Wilhelm Amo.
Brain Damage as a Window into the Mind: Cognitive Neuropsychology
Alfonso Caramazza / Psychology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 1304, Wednesdays 3-5:45 p.m., William James Hall room 401
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering and Applied Science, course ID 116622, class # 21684
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. Recommended Prep: 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, MCB 80 or Neuro 80 or MCB 81 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Broken Brains: Mechanisms and Markers of Mental Illness
Mayron Pereira Piccolo Ribeiro / Psychology-FAS / email@example.com
Psychology 1816, Mondays 12-2 p.m., William James Hall, room B4
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Applied/Engineering Science, course ID 218525, class # 20961
This course will integrate clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience to explore the biological underpinnings of mental illness. We will adopt a systems-level approach, examining the relationship between function and dysfunction of specific brain circuits and networks and mental health disorders. For example, addiction, disordered eating, depression, and psychosis have all been linked to the brain’s reward system. What does this common neural foundation indicate and how has this discovery advanced treatment options? Throughout the course, we will draw on findings from traditional and cutting-edge methodologies that have produced critical insights and key breakthroughs. We will also discuss how large-scale neuroimaging studies, like the Human Connectome Project, can be used to trace disordered behaviors such as criminality, depression, and hallucinations to specific brain networks. As we explore these topics, we will discuss how these research findings inform mental health treatment and potentially complement discussions around important societal issues such as racial bias and criminal responsibility. Prerequisite: 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 one of PSY 18 or PSY 1861 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
But Why? Ultimate Explanations for the Quirks of the Mind
Bethany Burum / Psychology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 980JS, Mondays 9:45-11:45 a.m., William James Hall room 950
4 units of course credit, course ID 203917, class # 14341
Social psychology has documented many surprising features of the human mind, providing robust evidence that people deceive themselves, are systematically overconfident, believe implausible things to avoid inconsistency, and so on. Explanations often focus on proximate psychological mechanisms (e.g., we avoid inconsistency because we find it uncomfortable). But behind every proximate mechanism is an ultimate explanation (why is inconsistency uncomfortable?)—why did evolution or learning lead us to be this way? This course will examine proximate and ultimate explanations for classic social psychological phenomena and the insight that ultimate level explanations add, with a focus on how to test ultimate explanations convincingly. Note: This is the same course as PSY 1576 But Why? Ultimate Explanations for the Quirks of the Mind, which has been offered previously. Students who have taken 1576 cannot enroll in this course. Recommended Prep: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or PSY 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, or PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Controlling the Uncontrollable? Emotion Regulation and Well-Being
Jessica Jones / Psychology-FAS / email@example.com
Psychology 1708, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James Hall room 950
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 218508, class # 20959
We are at their mercy. We can’t control them. We may even do their bidding. But are these assumptions about our emotions accurate? By examining when, how, and why we might change (or maintain) our emotions, this course will explore the ways in which the field of emotion regulation has both challenged and upheld these beliefs. We will examine how emotion regulation has been defined and assessed and evaluate methodologies commonly used to measure regulation-induced changes in day-to-day experiences, the body, and the brain. We will also discuss how emotion regulation develops and changes as we age, and address its shared foundations with other regulatory systems (e.g., executive function, self-regulation). Finally, we will consider individual differences in emotion regulation, with a particular focus on pandemic-related stressors, psychopathology, and the importance of regulation tactics for health and well-being. Prerequisite: 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, and PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Debugging the Brain: Computational Approaches to Mental Dysfunction
Samuel Gershman / Psychology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 1451, Thursdays 9:45-11:45 a.m., Northwest Building room B127
4 units of course credit, course ID 203211, class # 17482
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 Prep: For Psychology concentrators: 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 either PSY 18 or PSY 1401 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Dogs: Behavior, Evolution, and Domestication
Erin Hecht / Human Evolutionary Biology-FAS / email@example.com
Human Evolutionary Biology 1353, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:45 a.m., DeVore Conference Room / Museum of Comparative Zoology 529
4 units of course credit, course ID 220650, class # 22953
What makes dogs behave the way they do, and what can this teach us about our own species? In this course, we will explore the evolution of canine behavior through the lens of ethology. We will discuss current research on the evolutionary history of dogs, and consider whether this might parallel some aspects of human evolution. We will also examine communication, cooperation, attachment, and other aspects of behavior in dogs, humans, and other species. Students will learn to understand behavior as an adaptive, evolved trait and consider artificial selection as a window on mechanisms of behavior evolution. In the weekly 3-hour lab, students will also receive hands-on training in the collection and analysis of dog behavior data through a semester-long group research project. Note: Dog behavior data will be collected on campus in the Canine Brains Project dog behavior lab space.
Clinical Comparative Medicine: Evolutionary Perspectives on Physical and Mental Health
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz / Human Evolutionary Biology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Evolutionary Biology 1328, Tuesdays 6-8 p.m., DeVore Conference Room / Museum of Comparative Zoology 529
4 units of course credit, course ID 205490, class # 21588
Heart attacks, breast cancer, anxiety and eating disorders occur across the animal kingdom. Taught by a physician, the course explores the species-spanning and evolutionary origins of medical, surgical, and psychiatric illnesses. A ‘mini-medical school’ format will be used to introduce students to ten forms of human pathology emphasizing the typical mechanistic explanations of disease causation offered by physicians followed by in depth evolutionary analyses. Both physical and mental illnesses will be explored across the animal kingdom with a special focus on how emerging awareness of psychopathology in animals can alter the perception (stigma) and treatment of mental illness in human beings.
History of Psychology: The Famous, the Infamous, and the Forgotten
Leslie Rith-Najarian / Psychology-FAS / email@example.com
Psychology 980HI, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., William James Hall room 950
4 units of course credit, course ID 220093, class # 21439
Over the past 200 years, psychologists have made tremendous discoveries and impacted the world in positive ways. The successes are often what make it into textbooks, but who have we forgotten, and why? We will consider how psychological science has been shaped by brilliant thinkers, serendipitous discoveries, unethical research, historical context, and personal biases. As we explore the history of psychology, we will cover famous psychologists (e.g., B.F. Skinner), infamous studies (e.g., Milgram’s obedience research), and forgotten psychologists (e.g., Mary Whiton Calkins). We will often find ourselves close to home, as many eminent psychologists have been from the Harvard Department of Psychology. Student presentations will focus on underrepresented psychologists, including women psychologists, psychologists of color, psychologists from non-Western countries, and more. Recommended Prep: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or PSY 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, or PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Introduction to Neural Computation (fall and spring terms)
Kian Hardcastle / Organismic and Evolutionary Biology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neuroscience 101UA (must also take Neuroscience 101UB in the spring), Thursdays, 4:30-5:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit each term, divisional distribution Science and Engineering and Applied Sciences
fall: course ID 220737, class # 23069
spring course ID 220738, class # 20240
One of the biggest mysteries in neuroscience lies in understanding how neural circuits perform complex computations to support behavior. For example – how do networks of neurons transform abstract sensory inputs, like a visual scene, into a meaningful quantity, like an estimate of one’s own position within the environment? How do neural circuits use reward and prior experience to implement trial and error learning? In this course, we’ll explore how neuroscientists have investigated these and other questions over the last 50 years. We’ll cover models of memory, navigation, olfaction, vision, reinforcement learning, and decision-making, with an emphasis on understanding the intuition behind these models and the techniques used to build them. Note: Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisites: Math 1A and NEURO 80.
Neurobiology of Emotions and Mood Disorders (fall and spring terms)
Alen Juginovic / Medical School / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101 RA (must also take Neuroscience 101 RB in the spring), Wednesdays 6-7:15 p.m., Robinson 107
2 units of course credit each term, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences
fall: course ID 220396, class # 21289
spring: course ID 220397, class # 18244
Emotions play an important role in everyday lives of humans, yet their neurobiology remains enigmatic. The course will cover the fundamental molecular neurobiology and neuroanatomy of happiness, depression, love, aggression and empathy. Furthermore, it will focus on the latest advancements in the field of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, thus reviewing their neurobiological, as well as clinical aspects. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisites: (LIFESCI 1A OR LPS A) AND (MCB 80 OR NEURO 80)
The Neurobiology of Sleep and its Role in Mental Health (fall and spring terms)
Edward Pace-Schott / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org & Tony Hardcastle / Medical School & Molecular and Cellular Biology-FAS / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101LA (must also take Neuroscience 101LB in the spring), Mondays 6-7:15 p.m., Robinson 107
2 units of course credit each term, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences
fall: course ID 207615, class # 14758
spring: course ID 207616, class # 14171
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: (LPS A or LS 1a) and (MCB 80 or MCB 81).
The Neuroscience of Addiction (fall and spring terms)
Chloe Jordan / Molecular and Cellular Biology-FAS & Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neuroscience 101TA (must also take Neuroscience 101TB in the spring), Tuesdays 6-7:15 p.m.. Robinson 107
2 units of course credit each term, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences
fall: course ID 220400, class # 21302
spring: course ID 220401, class # 18249
This tutorial will review substance use disorders (SUD) and addiction, with a focus on the ongoing opioid crisis and rising methamphetamine problem in the United States. Content will include: 1) basic neuroscience research on neural circuitry underlying substance use and addiction, 2) individual, community, economic and sociopolitical contributors to SUD, and 3) clinical trials and latest directions of SUD treatment. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisite: (LIFESCI 1A OR LPS A) AND (MCB 80 OR NEURO 80).
Neuroscience Fiction: An Introduction to Cutting Edge Neuroscience through the Lens of Film and Television
George Alvarez / Psychology-FAS / email@example.com
Psychology 1454, Thursdays 3-5 p.m., William James Hall room 765
4 units of course credit, course ID 156569, class # 17494
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 Prep: 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/NEURO 80 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory (fall and spring terms)
Vincent Pham / Molecular and Cellular Biology / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neuroscience 101QA (must also take Neuroscience 101QB in the spring), Mondays 7:30-8:45 p.m., Robinson 107
2 units of course credit each term, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences
fall: course ID 218610, class # 16551
spring: course ID 218611, class # 15829
The brain’s ability to learn and form memories gives organisms the flexibility to alter their behaviors in changing environments beyond simple reflexes and stereotyped behaviors. This course will provide an overview of the molecular mechanisms at play underlying the fundamental processes of learning and memory. Note: Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year to receive credit. Prerequisite: (LS 1A or LPS A) and (MCB 80 or Neuro 80).
Sculpting Activity: How Inhibition Shapes the Brain in Health and Disease
Saad Hannan / Molecular and Cellular Biology-FAS / email@example.com
Neuroscience 101VA (must also take Neuroscience 101VB in the spring), Tuesdays 7:30-9:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit each term
Technology, Behavior, and Human Evolution
Abigail Desmond / Human Evolutionary Biology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Evolutionary Biology 1245, Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-4:15 p.m., DeVore Conference Room (MCZ 529)
4 units of course credit, course ID 220758, class # 23105
When does human history begin? We now know that some of the first Homo sapiens appeared over 315,000 years ago. Looking back to even earlier human species, around 2-3 million years ago, we would perhaps be surprised to encounter familiar behaviors: people walking upright, cooperating and socializing, hunting, and using technology. Everything that exists as written history represents less than 2% of what has happened since we emerged as a species, and less than 0.3% of what has happened since archaic humans first emerged. If we want to understand who we are, and why we do the things we do, we need to take a closer look at our relatives in the Paleolithic. Technology, Behavior, and Human Evolution is an introductory course which offers primatological, fossil, environmental, genetic, and archaeological perspectives on human evolution. Starting with the earliest hominins, each week we will examine central themes and developments in human evolution over the last 6 million years. Students will consider how the emergence and spread of new technologies, biological capacities, changing social dynamics, symbolic behaviors, and cultural complexity shaped human evolutionary trajectories. The behavioral repertoire of modern humans at the end of the last ice age will form the final part of the lecture course. Note: Class visit to the Peabody Museum collections, details to be announced.
MBB 980 SEMINARS FOR SPRING 2022
Functional Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Disorders: Insights into the Human Brain-Mind in Health and Disease
David Silbersweig / Medical School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980M, Thursdays 3-5 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160759, class # 12656
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.
Neuroimaging and Big Data in Connectomics: Advances in Understanding the Wiring of the Brain
Lisa Nickerson / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980V, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m.
4 units of course credit, course ID 215757, class # 14098
The last decade has seen a revolution in mapping the human brain “connectome” of functional and structural wiring patterns that generate our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. In this course, we will learn the basics of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods used for connectomics research - functional and diffusion MRI. Key methodological and interpretational issues for each technique will be examined to gain a deeper understanding of MRI measures of connectivity. We will discuss some of the key brain networks in the brain’s connectome, and the links between the functional and structural wiring of the brain. Last, tremendous advancements in human brain connectomics have been made possible by efforts to collect “big” neuroimaging data in thousands and thousands of individuals. We will discuss some of these key open access resources for connectomics research, including: the Human Connectome Projects with petabytes of neuroimaging and phenotyping data collected in thousands of individuals across the entire lifespan and in numerous brain diseases; the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) decade-long longitudinal study of childhood through adolescence in 10,000 kids, and the largest neuroimaging study in the world – the UK Biobank that is collecting imaging, genetics, medical records, and deep phenotyping data in 100,000 individuals. This wave of “big data” is providing exceptional opportunities for advancements in connectomics and in machine learning applications to human health, yielding breakthroughs every day in our understanding of how our brains work, and what makes us uniquely us when we are healthy and when we are sick.
Translational Neuroscience: The Limits of Adaptation from Extreme Environments to Clinical Practice
Vladimir Ivkovic / Medical School / email@example.com & Gary Strangman / Medical School
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980X, Fridays 12-2 p.m.
4 units of course credit, course ID 219973, class # 16372
Within the translational neuroscience paradigm, this course explores the concepts of neurobehavioral adaptation, stress, resilience, and neuropsychiatric disorders, in relation to the underlying neurophysiologic mechanisms that regulate them. What can we learn about the limitations of human neurobehavioral function through exposure and adaptation to extreme environments, as well as readaptation to “normal” environment, or onset of neuropsychiatric disorders? We will explore neurobehavioral adaptations to extreme activities such as spaceflight, expeditionary (polar, underwater, desert exploration, military deployments), emergency response services (e.g. firefighting), and impact sports (e.g. football). The limits to neurobehavioral adaptations will be discussed in the broader context of mental and occupational health, gender differences, and understanding the etiology of neuropsychiatric conditions such as, depressive and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), intracranial hypertension and stroke, etc. These will be augmented with insights from COVID-19 pandemic which placed a large portion of the world’s population in an extreme environment defined by social and physical isolation/confinement, movement and travel restrictions, disruption of personal and professional activities, novel health risks, and behavioral adjustments. Contemporary findings from research studies conducted in laboratory, occupational/extreme, and clinical environments will be discussed in the context of translational neuroscience paradigm including neurocognitive, neurophysiological, and psychoneuroimmunological considerations. Special focus will be placed on demonstrations of research/clinical application of novel technologies such as ambulatory brain and physiologic monitoring. Theoretical concepts and research findings will be evaluated relative to their utility in developing prevention and mitigation strategies in extreme environments, as well as translational implementation in clinical treatments for related medical conditions in the general population. This course may be particularly interesting to Mind Brain and Behavior students pursuing careers in translational neuroscience, psychology, medicine, and related fields. This course features expert guest lecturers (e.g. NASA astronauts and researchers, Antarctic expeditionary physicians, underwater explorers, etc.), demonstrations of unique experimental methodologies and equipment (e.g. ambulatory brain and physiologic monitoring) used in extreme environments, and field visits to operational facilities such as Boston Fire Department Training Academy and/or Neural Systems Group (NSG) at Massachusetts General Hospital (directed by course head, Dr. Strangman).
Sara Lazar / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org & Michael Ferguson / Medical School-Divinity School / email@example.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980Y, Mondays 6-8 p.m.
4 units of course credit, course ID 220770, class # 20266
“Virtue” refers to excellence in living. Philosophical questions about how to live with excellence have ancient legacies dating back to the earliest records in human history. In fact, human striving for virtue is a truly universal phenomenon that is represented in every cultural tradition and has shaped every system of human mythos, without exception. However, relative to their ancient histories, questions pertaining to human virtue have only recently become subjects of scientific inquiry. Positive psychologists in particular have led this translation of virtue ethics from philosophical traditions into evidence-based research paradigms. Today, this collective effort to construct a systematic virtue science has been joined by cognitive scientists, social scientists, developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, and healthcare professionals. In this course, we will 1) introduce historic, religious, and contemporary approaches to virtue philosophy, 2) examine evidence-based developmental science paradigms for virtue acquisition, 3) survey contemporary psychology and neuroscience studies of virtue and character, and 4) explore clinical relevancies of virtue, including moral injury and recovery from moral injury. No prior knowledge of virtue philosophy, psychology, or neuroscience is required for this course. However, students are expected to engage each of these disciplinary lenses with curiosity and a desire for integrating multidisciplinary knowledge and understanding. The course will be a mixture of lecture, discussion of two primary scientific articles that are assigned each week, and a semester-long “Virtue In Action” project to be completed by each course participant. The “Virtue In Action” project will entail selecting a specific virtue, writing a mini literature review on the virtue, creatively designing a developmental intervention around the selected virtue, engaging the self-directed developmental virtue intervention, and reporting on the subjective experience of intentional virtue development.
What Disease Teaches about Cognition
William Milberg / Medical School / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980H, Tuesdays 3:45-5:45 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 109866, class # 13402
This course 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 using the examples of famous landmark cases in the literature (e.g.Broca’s Monsieur Leborgne, Phineas Gage, HM and others) The course will include a dissection of a human brain, an examination of how the actual brain maps onto two dimensional neuroimages, and discussions of how the classic lesion based maps of cortical function are related to contemporary maps based on functional neuroimaging.
DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS FOR SPRING 2023
Departmental courses that will fulfill the MBB seminar requirement include neuroscience junior tutorials. These tutorials are full-year courses, and the following second-half courses are available this spring: Introduction to Neural Computation (Neuroscience 101UB); Neurobiology of Emotions and Mood Disorders (Neuroscience 101RB); The Neurobiology of Sleep and its Role in Mental Health (Neuroscience 101LB); Neuroscience of Addition (Neuroscience 101TB) Neuroscience of Learning and Memory (Neuroscience 101QB); and Sculpting Activity: How Inhibition Shapes the Brain in Health and Disease (Neuroscience 101VB). More detail on the courses are available below in the departmental seminar fall 2022 section of this page above.
Biological and Artificial Intelligence
Gabriel Kreiman / Medical School / email@example.com
Neuroscience 140, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 207645, class # 14177
This course provides a foundational overview of the fundamental ideas in computational neuroscience and the study of Biological Intelligence. At the same time, the course will connect the study of brains to the blossoming and rapid development of ideas in Artificial Intelligence. Topics covered include the biophysics of computation, neural networks, machine learning, Bayesian models, theory of learning, deep convolutional networks, generative adversarial networks, neural coding, control and dynamics of neural activity, applications to brain-machine interfaces, connectomics, among others. Recommended Prep: Basic knowledge of multivariate calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and elementary probability theory.
How Hidden Ideologies Shape the Mind: The Origins of Our Beliefs and Ideologies
Bethany Burum / Psychology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 980JT, hours to be arranged
4 units of course credit, course ID 207824, class # 15195
Why do our ideologies change when we are put in positions of power (e.g., victim dehumanization), or subordination (e.g., Stockholm Syndrome), or with peers with a different opinion (e.g., conformity)? Why are our moral and political ideologies so different across time and culture (e.g., the ideologies of ISIS members compared to Americans)? Why do we claim that our morals are logically justifiable when we cannot justify them (e.g., moral dumbfounding)? This course will explore the hidden incentives that can explain these and many other puzzling features of our beliefs and ideologies. Evidence from psychology, as well as philosophy, economics, history, and current events (including the election cycle), will demonstrate the crucial way that incentives outside of our awareness shape our beliefs and ideologies. Note: This is the same course as PSY 1575 How Hidden Incentives Shape the Mind: The Origins of Our Beliefs and Ideologies, which has been offered previously. Students who have taken 1575 cannot enroll in this course. Recommended Prep: 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, or PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Psychology and Criminal Law
Lindsey Davis / Psychology-FAS / email@example.com
Psychology 980CL, hours to be arranged
4 units of course credit, course ID 220475, class # 18725
Why do eyewitnesses often identify the wrong suspect? Why would an innocent percent confess to a crime they did not commit? Can we predict who will commit a violent crime in the future? This course examines how behavioral science can be used to answer these and other questions central to the legal system. Psychologists with expertise at the intersection of psychology and criminal law conduct empirical research, interpret study findings and provide explanations to judges and juries, evaluate the mental states of criminal defendants and victims, consult with attorneys and law enforcement agencies, and serve in a variety of roles to help improve the fairness of our criminal justice system. Drawing on key areas of research from clinical and social psychology, we will delve into theories of criminal behavior, forensic evaluation, the role of bias in the courtroom, false confessions, eyewitness testimony, deception, and treatment of offenders. Research will be applied to real-world cases. Recommended Prep: 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, and PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Psychology of Cults
Bethany Burum / Psychology-FAS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology 980AH, hours to be arranged
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Science, course ID 214498, class # 15178
In November of 1978, 909 members of The People’s Temple perished in Jonestown, Guyana after drinking Kool Aid laced with cyanide. David Berg of the Children of God convinced his followers to abandon their monogamous marriages, encourage pedophilia, and allow their children to be sex trafficked. How do certain groups convince people to harm and even kill themselves and their children? This course will explore the psychological mechanisms that enable cults to form and to take human belief and behavior to such extremes. What do cults share with other groups (mainstream religions, nations, everyday social interactions, etc.), and what makes them stand apart? In what ways are cults an environment in which many of our psychological tendencies (toward ingroup conformity, heuristic decision making, rationalization, etc.) are magnified? And what do cults reveal about the profound power of our social environment? We will examine case studies through the lens of empirical psychological science to uncover how psychological research can shed light on cult behavior, and how cult behavior can shed light on our everyday psychology. Recommended Prep/Course Requirements: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or PSY 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, or PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.
Psychology of Humor
Arkadiy Maksimovskiy / Medical School / email@example.com
Psychology 980HU, Mondays and Wednesdays 9:45-11:45 a.m., William James Hall 4 (basement classroom)
4 units of course credit, course ID 218334, class # 17744
What makes some jokes funny but others dull? Why does the act of laughing feel good? From an evolutionary perspective, if seeking food, finding mates, and detecting predators served a clear purpose, what could be gained by mirthful laughter? What benefits could justify the energy cost of laughing? The answers to these questions are deeply rooted in ancient neurocognitive mechanisms that evolved over long periods of time. In this course, we will critically evaluate scientific perspectives on humor from different subfields of psychology including clinical psychology, social psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. Covered topics will include different styles of humor, why some jokes are funnier when we laugh with friends, why it feels hurtful when others laugh at us, and how humor and laughter are affected across certain mental health disorders. Note: This is a full credit, half-term course. This means it is an intensive, half-term seminar that runs during the first 7 weeks of the semester (from September 1 – October 15). Prerequisites: 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, and PSY 18 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.