Winter 2022

Permission forms will be accepted for Winter 2022 courses beginning on July 11, 2021.  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 22W at 2A, James Haxby​

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.


Experimental Study of Human Interaction

In 22W at 10, Arjen Stolk

A deep understanding of any social species requires understanding why and how brains interact. Paradoxically, social neuroscience has focused nearly exclusively on mapping the brain as if it evolved in isolation. This focus on the individual brain is understandable as serious methodological constraints have traditionally limited multi-brain, interactive paradigms. Making headway on how brains interact, however, is becoming increasingly tractable. This course highlights scientific and technological innovations advancing our understanding of how human minds meet during social interaction. Conceptual and methodological challenges of studying human interaction are dealt with in class discussions, laboratories, and small group research projects on selected topics.

Prerequisites: PSYC 11 and PSYC 23 and instructor permission via the department website.

PSYC 80.02


In 22W at 10A, Alireza Soltani

Neuroeconomics is an emerging field in which a combination of methods from neuroscience, psychology, and economics is used to better understand how we make decisions. In this seminar course, we learn about economic and psychological theories that are used to investigate and interpret choice behavior, and mental and neural processes that underlie decision making. We also examine how recent neurobiological discoveries are used to refine decision theories and models developed in psychology and economics. During this course, students will read and discuss the most current research findings in neuroeconomics. They will also learn to develop new ideas/hypotheses and design experiments to test those ideas/hypotheses, or to use their knowledge to inform society about the implications of findings in the field of neuroeconomics. 

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

PSYC 81.08

Animal Cognition

In 22W at 3A, Matthijs van der Meer​

Can rats empathize with others, or experience regret? Can birds grasp the intentions of others, or imagine the future? Do dogs deliberately deceive their human companions? This seminar will explore the cognitive abilities of a range of animals through the careful analysis of behavior, defining rigorous and measurable criteria for inferring complex behaviors, and contrasting them with simpler alternatives. We will draw on neural data, asking if phenomena such as creativity, mental time travel, and theory of mind can be detected based on the observation of brain activity. Finally, we will consider questions relevant to human health: can mice become schizophrenic, chronically depressed, or develop post-traumatic stress disorder? Lively discussion in the classroom is encouraged.

Approved course for the Neuroscience major/minor.
Prerequisite: PSYC 22 or PSYC 28; and instructor permission via the department website

PSYC 81.09

Storytelling with Data

In 22W at 2A, 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 81.11

Real World Scene Perception

In 22W at 2A, Adam Steel

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.