Issues in Neuroscience
Courses with this number consider topics that bring to bear knowledge in the fields of psychology, neurology, and physiology. Topics are treated at an intermediate level and the focus will be on topics not covered in detail in Psychology 26 and 65. The selection of issues is at the discretion of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 35 students. Dist: SCI.
In 15F at 12, Neuroscience of Mental Illness
The goal of this course is to explore the neurological correlates of psychopathology.For each mental illness covered in the class, we will first review the characteristics and diagnostic criteria of the disorder and will then explore the neurological correlates in terms of etiology, manifestation, and treatment. We will examine evidence from a variety of sources, including neuroanatomical studies, neuroimaging experiments, and neurodevelopmental studies, with a focus on current research findings. Case histories and video footage will be used to illustrate the experience of psychopathology with the goal of elucidating the links between the brain and behavior. Prerequisite: Psyc 6 or 26 or Bio 34. Funnell.
In 16W at 10A, Decision making: linking behavior to brain
In this course we examine decision making from both behavioral and neurobiological points of view. Specifically, we learn about different methods used in psychology and neuroscience (e.g. operant conditioning, signal detection theory, reinforcement learning) to study decision making at various levels, from cognitive processes to underpinning neural activity. We also learn about the notion of rationality and heuristics in decision making (e.g. why do we show risk aversion?). Overall, this course introduces students to specific topics in behavioral psychology, neurobiology, system and computational neuroscience, and economics. Soltani
In 16W at 2A, Motivation, Drugs, and Addiction
This course will explore how the brain controls our motivation to pursue goals and how drugs of abuse hijack those systems. We will learn about some historical perspectives of motivation as well as modern neuroscience work showing how areas of the brain might contribute to motivations. In the process, we will explore in detail how narcotic drugs (opioids, stimulants, alcohol, cannabis) act in the brain and the mechanisms underlying the transition from drug use to addiction. Prerequisite: Psyc 6 and one of: Psyc 26, Psyc 45, Psyc46, Bio 34. Smith
In 16 W at 2, Human Memory
Knowing how our brains organize and spontaneously retrieve memories is at the heart of understanding the basis of the ongoing internal dialog of our conscious thoughts. Put simply, our memories make us who we are. The field of human memory also has a practical side. For example, should you cram for your exam, or is it better to get a good night's sleep instead? Or, what's the fastest way to memorize a large amount of new information or learn to play a new song on the piano? In this course, we will systematically explore the field of modern human memory by examining the classic and cutting-edge experimental paradigms and formal (mathematical) models that form the foundation of our current understanding of human memory. The mathematical concepts required for this course will be covered in class. Manning
In 16W at 10A, Spatial Cognition and Navigation – A Neurobiological Perspective
This course will explore both the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying spatial orientation and navigation. The course will examine how animals/humans develop and maintain a sense of where they are and the direction they are facing. This process is fundamental to understanding mechanisms underlying navigation. We will examine processes of spatial orientation and navigation in a number of different species including insects, birds, fish, rodents, higher order mammals, and humans, but an emphasis will be placed on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying these processes in mammals. Prerequisites: Psych 6 or permission of the instructor. Taube
In 16S at 12, Exotic Sensory Systems
Humans have 5 special senses (vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell) and a variety of "internal senses" that provide information about the state of our body and internal organs. However, some animals possess senses that are unlike anything that humans can experience. Examples include echolocation, celestial and geomagnetic navigational systems, and bioelectricity. This course explores the discovery and operation of these "exotic" senses, highlighting both the similarities and differences with our own more familiar sensory modalities. Prerequisite: Psychology 1 or 6 and 21 or instructor's permission. Hughes
In 16S at 10A, The Rhythmic Brain
This course explores the physiological basis and functional relevance of oscillations, which are ubiquitous in the brain. Rhythmic pattern generators in specific neurons and circuits are essential for generating repeating movements such as breathing and walking; yet, oscillations are equally prominent in neural systems for sensation, cognition, and memory. Could it be that these rhythms are a fundamental building block of information processing in neural circuits? This course provides an introduction to the detection, analysis and interpretation of oscillations in the brain. Using these tools, we will survey the origin and functional role of oscillations in a variety of neural systems across animal and human species, and ask what general principles emerge. Prerequisites: Psyc 6 and (Psyc 21, Psyc 26, Psyc 27 or Psyc 28). van der Meer