Winter 2024

Permission forms will be accepted for Winter 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.


Experimental Study of Human Interaction

In 24W at 12, Arjen Stolk

Insight into how human brains work in their most ubiquitous and biologically meaningful context, social interaction, has remained largely elusive. This course ventures into this "dark matter" of social neuroscience, pursuing the question of what constitutes a meeting of minds. Conceptual and methodological challenges of studying human interaction are dealt with in-class discussions, laboratories, and small group research projects on selected topics. Students will be expected to design, run, analyze, and write up an interaction study answering a question of their choosing. Example research projects include but are not limited to studies of human interactive behavior in the real world, the lab, simulated scenarios, or on social media.

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

PSYC 81.08

Animal Cognition

In 24W 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 24W at 10A, 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 84.05

The Power of Beliefs

Waitlist only. This course is full.

In 24W at 2A, 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