Spring 2025

Permission forms will be accepted for Spring 2025 courses beginning on April 19, 2024.  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 25S, 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 80.01

Neuroscience of Reward

In 25S at 10A, 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 80.06

Advanced Seminar on Brain Evolution

In 25S 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 86.01

Selective Developmental Deficits

In 25S at 10A, Brad Duchaine

Cognitive neuropsychology relies on selective deficits to shed light on the organization of the brain.  In the past, nearly all selective deficits reported in the neuropsychological literature involved brain-damaged patients who lost particular abilities, but many selective deficits due to failures of development have been identified in recent years.  These include deficits affecting computations concerned with color, faces, objects, spatial abilities, music, language, reading, number, and memory.  This course will discuss the theoretical basis of selective deficits, examine the cognitive and neural profiles of particular selective developmental deficits, and consider the more general implications of selective developmental deficits and the research opportunities they present.

Approved course for the Neuroscience major/minor.
Prerequisite: 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)