Spring 2024

Permission forms will be accepted for Spring 2024 courses beginning on May 1, 2023.  Note that all the PSYC courses listed below are accepted towards the Psychology major, but only some are accepted towards the Neuroscience major.


Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI

In 24S, 2A, Luke Chang

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 students. 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 80.06

Advanced Seminar on Brain Evolution

In 24S at 3A, Richard Granger

For the first 200 million years of mammalian evolution, most animals' brain sizes were highly predictable from their body size. In the past four million years, an evolutionary blink of the eye, primates rapidly evolved brains that are several times larger than previously would have been predicted for their body size. How did this occur? What are the effects of these substantial brain changes? What are the contents of human brains, and how do they differ from the brains of other primates (and other mammals, and non-mammals)? Evolution acts on genes, not on organisms; what are the genetic factors that have been identified in recent primate brain growth? What relationships may obtain between anatomical and functional brain characteristics? What mechanisms are at play, including extrinsic factors and evolutionary "pressures"? What differential predictions do various theories make, and how are they tested? How would we know if a hypothesis is false; how do we know if they are falsifiable? The class will critically examine a set of related topics including brain structure, anthropology, evolution, genetics, development, cognition, race, intelligence.

Approved course for the neuroscience major/minor.

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

PSYC 81.11

Real World Scene Perception

In 24S at 3A, Caroline Robertson

We experience our visual environment as a seamless, immersive panorama. Yet, each view of this environment is discrete and fleeting, separated by expansive eye movements and discontinuous views of our surroundings. How does the brain build a unified representation of an immersive, real-world visual environment? This course will discuss the scientific literature of real-world visual scene understanding.  The topics we will cover in this course cut across human, animal, and computational studies, addressing questions such as: What are the circuits and mechanisms that enable the recognition of a visual scene from just one glance? How are the representational dimensions of visual scenes mapped onto the surface of the brain? How can our understanding of human scene perception guide machine vision systems?

Approved course for the Neuroscience major/minor.
Prerequisite: One of PSYC 6, PSYC 21, or PSYC 28 and instructor permission via the department website.

PSYC 86.05

Future Directions in Psychological Science

In 24S at 6B, Thalia Wheatley

Psychology and neuroscience are ever evolving. Textbooks, with their hundreds of pages, are continually edited, making way for new areas of research previously unstudied. What is on the horizon for these fields? In this culminating seminar, we will look at the ways these fields are breaking new ground in deepening our knowledge of the human mind, the research that foreshadowed those changes, and the role of interdisciplinarity. We will also discuss the implications of these new directions in terms of how we grapple with the deepest psychological questions – What does it mean to be human? How should we treat others? How do minds connect? And how should science, itself, change to become more robust, open and objective? Throughout the class, we will discuss the important and challenging ethical implications of these new frontiers.

Prerequisites: PSYC 1 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)