Winter 2017

Permission forms will be accepted for Winter 2017 courses beginning on May 1, 2016.

PSYC 60

Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI

In 17W at 2A William Kelley

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.

PSYC 63

Experimental Study of Social Behavior

In 17W at 11 Luke Chang

This course deals with the ways in which social psychologists collect data to answer questions about motivation, social cognition, and interpersonal behavior.  Theoretical issues and methodological problems are dealt with in class discussions, laboratories, and small group research projects on selected topics.
Permission through department website.

PSYC 80.03

Spatial Cognition

In 17W at 10A  Jeffrey Taube

Each year elephants in Chad, Africa migrate over hundreds of miles to different locations in order to obtain food and water resources.  They migrate over a featureless plane, where there is little in the way of distal landmarks, such as mountains, that they can use as reference points to guide them.  How do they do they perform this feat? Closer to home, perhaps you know someone who has a poor sense of direction – how can we assess directional ability and how does the brain compute the path required to accurately navigate to different familiar and novel destinations? What brain areas are involved in these calculations and how are these computations performed? These questions are addressed in this course on the neural basis of spatial navigation. Our focus will be on understanding the relationship between navigational abilities and the patterns of activity generated in the brain (hippocampal place cells, head direction cells, grid cells) as well as data from fMRI, virtual reality, and clinical studies in humans.
Prerequisites: Permission through the department website.

PSYC 81.04

Neural Basis of Human Imagination

In 17W at 3B Peter Tse

The capacities that set humans apart in kind, not just in degree, from all other known animals include, in part, capacities and propensities for art, music, analogical reasoning, abstract thought, creativity, the spontaneous generation and use of symbols, the ability to reason abstractly about others and about events, as well as the ability to manipulate symbols recursively and syntactically. This course will explore the hypothesis that all these modes of human behavior and cognition share a common root cause in our brains. We will focus in particular on the human capacity to imagine. We can, for example, construct a representation of a thing, say an airplane, or an event, say a planned party, and then go about making real that which we imagined. How is this capacity to imagine and creatively plan realized in the brain? Where did it first appear in the human lineage? What is the relationship of imagining to other important capacities, such as attention, volition, consciousness, planning and executive control? The goal of this course is to try to answer such questions by reading empirical and theoretical papers and chapters that try to account for what it is that makes the human mind human, by looking at distinctive aspects of processing in the human brain.
Prerequisite: One of the following: PSYC 6, PSYC 21, PSYC 26, or PSYC 28; and permission through the department website.

PSYC 81.07

Decoding Human Brain Activity

In 17W at 10A James Haxby

This seminar will cover state-of-the-art methods for decoding the information that is carried in patterns of human brain activity and the application of these methods for investigating the functional organization of the human brain and application to brain computer interfaces.  Human brain activity can be measured non-invasively with a range of methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and electroencephalography (EEG).  Computational approaches for decoding human brain activity include multivariate pattern classification, representational similarity analysis, and forward encoding based on stimulus or cognitive models.  The course also will cover state-of-the-art computational models of stimulus and cognitive factors, including convolutional neural networks.  Some background in linear algebra and computer programming are recommended.
Prerequisites: PSYC 27 and permission through the department website.

PSYC 83.03

The Self

In 17W at 2A Todd Heatherton

A unitary sense of self that exists across time and place is a central feature of human experience.  Understanding the nature of self-what it is and what it does-has challenged scholars for many centuries.  Although most people intuitively understand what is meant by the term self, definitions have tended toward the philosophical and metaphysical.  Efforts at creating more formal definitions have largely been unsuccessful as many features of self are empirically murky, difficult to identify and assess using objective methods.  Yet the phenomenological experience of self is highly familiar to everyone.  So, at issue is not whether the self exists, but how best to study it.  This course will survey contemporary approaches to understanding the self, with a strong emphasis on approaches from social psychology. We will consider self's development, its cognitive and affective components, motives related to it, and how it is regulated. We will consider its functional basis, examining both its adaptive and maladaptive consequences.  We will also examine its neurological basis, including case studies of people with disorders of self.
Prerequisite: PSYC 1, PSYC 23, and permission through the department website.

PSYC 84.03

Leadership

In 17W at 10A Judith White

This course will survey the theory and research of leadership from a social psychological perspective. Students will be expected to do a substantial amount of reading and writing each week, and actively participate in discussion each class session. At the completion of the course, students should be able to communicate their informed views of what good leadership is and what good leaders do, who makes a good leader and why, and when good leadership is critical for organizational success.
Prerequisites: PSYC 1, 23 and permission through the department website.

PSYC 88

Independent Research

The course is designed to enable specifically qualified students, usually seniors, to engage in independent laboratory or field research under the direction of a faculty member.  Students may take up to three terms of Independent Research. However, no more than two terms of 88, 89, or a combination of 88s and 89s may count toward the eight required courses for the major. Normally a student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 both overall and in the major to enroll.  Consult the Independent and Honors Research page for further information, including the required permission form for enrolling PSYC 88.

Notes:

  • This course may NOT be used to satisfy the 60- or above requirements for the major.
  • Non-majors may request exemption from normal prerequisites and other requirements of PSYC 88.
  • Prerequisite: PSYC 1 or 6, PSYC 10, and PSYC 11; and completed permission form including the advisor's signature.

PSYC 89

Honors Psychology Research

This course is designed to enable especially qualified students, usually seniors, to engage in independent laboratory or field research under the direction of a faculty member. Students may take two or three terms of Honors Research, but no more than two terms of 88, 89, or a combination of 88s and 89s may count toward the eight required courses for the major. This course may not be used to fulfill the upper-level (60 or above) major requirement. A student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 in the major and 3.0 overall to enroll and must enroll before the end of the Fall term of their Senior year. Consult the Psychology Honors page for further information, including the required checklist for enrolling in PSYC 89.

PSYC 90

Independent Neuroscience Research

This course is designed to enable Neuroscience majors to engage in independent laboratory research under the direction of a neuroscience faculty member. This course is suitable to use for your culminating experience, but cannot be used to fulfill the elective requirement for the Neuroscience major. Students may take up to two terms of independent research. Students are required to write a final report of their research.

Prerequisite: PSYC 6 and 10. A completed complete with the signature of the advisor should be submitted to the PBS Department office. The Neuroscience Steering Committee will evaluate and approve the application.

PSYC 91

Honors Neuroscience Research

This course is designed to enable especially qualified Neuroscience majors, usually seniors, to engage in independent laboratory research under the direction of a neuroscience faculty member. Students must take at least two terms of Psychology 91. A student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 in the major and 3.00 overall to enroll and must enroll by the Fall term of the senior year. Consult the Neuroscience Honors page for further information, including the required checklist for enrolling in PSYC 91.