Spring 2021

Permission forms will be accepted for Spring 2021 courses beginning on July 8, 2020.  Note that all the PSYC courses listed below are accepted towards the Psychology major, but only some are accepted towards the Neuroscience major.

PSYC 60

Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI

In 21S, Tor Wager

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.

Approved course for the Neuroscience major/minor.
Prerequisite: Instructor permission through the department website.

PSYC 80.01

Neuroscience of Reward

In 21S, Kyle 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.

Approved course for the Neuroscience major/minor.
Prerequisite: PSYC 6 and PSYC 37 (formerly offered as PSYC 45); and instructor permission via the department website

PSYC 81.09

Storytelling with Data

In 21S, Jeremy Manning

In a world plagued by "alternative facts" but flush with "big data," how can we find truth? For example, can truth be objectively defined, or are there many equally valid truths?  And does truth depend on the question we're asking, or is it a fixed property that we could somehow uncover with the right analysis?  These sorts of question align with other deep questions about how we can really "know" something.  For example, can we really ever hope to prove that the universe works in a particular way?  If so, how?  Or if not, what's the point of observing the world around us at all, or of becoming a scientist?  In this course we will define truth from a (somewhat cynical, but embarrassingly practical) psychological perspective: truth is the story about data that others find most convincing.  To that end, we will examine (from this psychological perspective) tools and strategies for finding patterns in complex datasets, crafting convincing stories about those patterns, and communicating them to others.

Prerequisite: Instructor permission via the department website.

PSYC 83.07

The Problem of Other Minds

In 21S, Meghan Meyer, 
THIS COURSE IS FULL, WAITLIST ONLY​

Success in a social world requires understanding other people's thoughts and feelings. Yet, other people's mental states are not directly observable: you cannot see a thought or touch a feeling. Nonetheless, humans are actually quite proficient in inferring these invisible, internal states of mind. How do we accomplish these mind-reading feats? This course will address this question, which is known as 'the problem of other minds.' We will tackle 'the problem of other minds' from multiple angles, relying heavily on neuroscience and psychology research, as well as a few foundational papers from philosophy. Specifically, we will address questions such as: Do specialized portions of the brain accomplish mental state inference? When do mind-reading skills develop in children and are humans the only species that can represent other minds? Why do some people, such as individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), experience difficulties in understanding others? What leads to biases in mental state inference, such as anthropomorphism  (when people attribute mental states to inanimate objects) and dehumanization (when people under attribute mental states to humans)? 

Prerequisite: PSYC 1, PSYC 10, and instructor permission via the department website.

PSYC 84.05

The Power of Beliefs

In 21S, Luke Chang

How do beliefs affect clinical outcomes?  This course provides an in-depth examination of the role of beliefs and expectations in the manifestation of psychological symptoms and their treatment. Topics to be covered include the psychological and biological bases of pharmacological placebo effects, the mechanisms underlying psychotherapy (e.g., patient and provider expectations), and also how cultural expectations impact how psychological symptoms are experienced (e.g., hallucinations, delusions, and somatization).

Prerequisite: PSYC 1 or PSYC 6; and instructor permission via the department website

PSYC 70 and PSYC 88-91

Independent and Honors Research

See Independent Research for more info on PSYC 70 (Neuroscience Research), PSYC 88 (Independent Psychology Research) and PSYC 90 (Independent Neuroscience Research).

See Psychology Honors for more info on PSYC 89 (Honors Psychology Research)

See Neuroscience Honors for more info on PSYC 91 (Honors Neuroscience Research)