Winter 2014


Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI


14W:2AWon Mok Shim

This course is designed to introduce students to the theoretical and practical issues involved in conducting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments of cognitive and behaviorally-related brain activity. Participants will gain an understanding of the physiological principles underlying the fMRI signal change, as well as the considerations for experimental design. The course will include firsthand exposure to the scanning environment and data collection procedures. Participants will be provided conceptual and hands-on experience with image processing and statistical analysis. At the completion of this course, it is expected that participants will be prepared to critique, design and conduct fMRI studies; appreciate limitations and potentials of current fMRI methods and techniques; and better understand the broad range of expertise required in an fMRI research program. The course is designed to provide the participant with intensive, hands-on instruction. As a result, enrollment in the course will be limited to 12 people. Knowledge of MR physics, signal processing, or the UNIX/Linux operating system is not a prerequisite. Permission through the department website.



Neuroscience of Reward

In 14W:10AKyle Smith

Much of the life of humans and other animals revolves around reward, whether engaging in basic pleasures like food and sex or enjoying more complex things like music. This course will introduce conceptual frameworks to understand reward as a phenomenon that is distinct from other features of goal-directed behavior. We will then discuss recent advances in neuroscience research that are helping us to understand the basic brain mechanisms that make things pleasurable, including anatomical pathways, neurotransmitter systems, and dynamics of neural activity. Prerequisite: Psyc 6, and Psyc 26 or Psyc 45 or Bio 34.

PSYC 83.1

Non-Verbal Aspects of Social Interaction


14W: 2ARobert Kleck

The seminar will focus on the nonverbal and paraverbal dimensions of human communication. Particular attention will be given to research which has examined the role of gaze behavior, facial expressions of emotion and appearance cues in social relationships. Video records of social interaction will be used to demonstrate and illustrate the various ways in which nonverbal behaviors play an important role in interpersonal dynamics. A mid-term exam, a seminar paper and participation in class discussions are the mechanisms through which the student's mastery of the seminar materials is assessed. Permission through the department website.

PSYC 83.2

Person Perception


In 14W: 3BJon Freeman

Whether it be a first date, a job interview, or simply walking down the street, the brain is constantly extracting information from other people's sensory cues. This course will provide an introduction to the psychology and neuroscience of person perception. As such it will explore a basic contradiction. At first blush, seeing and understanding people can seem so intuitive that it does not require any scientific description. In fact, however, the kind of computations the brain must make to accomplish it is astounding and complex. We will consider person perception processes through a multidisciplinary approach, one that incorporates research, methods, and theories across social psychology and the cognitive, vision, and neural sciences. We will also look at social, cultural, and contextual influences on processing others' facial, vocal, and bodily cues. We will pay particular attention to how we use this information to sort others into categories (e.g., gender, race, age), and infer their emotions, intentions, and personalities. Permission through the department website.


Higher-level Cognition

In 14W:2AJerald Kralik

"What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty?" To answer Shakespeare's question is to understand higher-level cognition. Cognition balances our instincts with thoughtfulness and tempers impulsivity with patience. Cognition allows us to plan over long time horizons, to solve novel and seemingly intractable problems, and to rise above the concrete experiences of our daily lives to thrive in a world of analogy, metaphor and imagination. In this course, we study problem-solving, planning, reasoning, insight, decision-making, symbolic processing, and virtually instant learning. We explore whether these are distinct processes, what they allow us to accomplish, and how they may interact with other brain functions, such as emotions, to create nobility in reason and infinity in faculty.  Permission through the department website.