Departmental and Cross-listed Courses (subject to change)
PSYC 30401. Psycholinguistics: Language Processing. (LING 30401). This is an advanced introduction to the field of psycholinguistics. We will do an in-depth overview of both the empirical findings and the methodologies used on various topics in language comprehension/production, including areas of speech perception, lexical processing, syntactic parsing, and semantic/pragmatic processing. Models at both the computational and the mechanistic levels will also be examined. M. Do, Autumn.
PSYC 30550 (CHDV 30550). From Data to Manuscript in R. This course tackles the basic skills needed to build an integrated research report with the R programming language. We will cover every step from data to manuscript including: Using R's libraries to clean up and re-format messy datasets, preparing data sets for analysis, running statistical tools, generating clear and attractive figures and tables, and knitting those bits of code together with your manuscript writing. The result will be a reproducible, open-science friendly report that you can easily update after finishing data collection or receiving comments from readers. Never copy-paste your way through a table again! The R universe is large, so this course will focus specifically on: The core R libraries, the tidyverse library, and R Markdown. Students will also learn about the use of GitHub for version control. N. Dowling, Winter.
PSYC 31600. Biopsychology of Sex Differences (CHDV 30901). This course will explore the biological basis of mammalian sex differences and reproductive behaviors. We will consider a variety of species, including humans. We will address the physiological, hormonal, ecological and social basis of sex differences. To get the most from this course, students should have some background in biology, preferably from taking an introductory course in biology or biological psychology. J. Mateo, Autumn.
PSYC 31900. The Neuroscience of Narratives. Narratives have a powerful hold over the human mind. People are more often convinced by a compelling story than by concrete facts. More broadly, people use narratives to organize their thoughts and communicate their ideas. Recent advances in natural language processing (NLP) tools and neuroscience methods provide exciting new opportunities to study how the brain understands and constructs narratives. The goal for this seminar is to provide an in-depth look into the cutting-edge research on the neuroscience of narratives. We will begin with a review of the burgeoning literature on the use of narratives in cognitive and social neuroscience. We will then introduce NLP approaches that provide a framework to model narratives computationally, and discuss how NLP models can be combined with neuroscience measures in a synergistic manner. Finally, we will discuss how studying the neuroscience of narratives can provide insights into people's mental models of the world. Background in cognitive neuroscience or natural language processing is a prerequisite. Please email the instructor for consent. YC Leong, Spring.
PSYC 33000. Cultural Psychology. There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning. R. Shweder, Autumn.
PSYC 33165. Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Morality. The past decade has seen an explosion of empirical research in the study of morality. Amongst the most exciting and novel findings and theories, evolutionary biologists and comparative psychologists have shown that moral cognition has evolved to facilitate cooperation and social interactions, and that certain precursors of morality are present in non-human animals. Developmental psychologists came up with ingenious paradigms, demonstrating that the elements underpinning morality are in place much earlier than we thought. Social neuroscientists have begun to map brain circuits implicated in social decision-making and identify the contribution of specific neuropeptides to moral sensitivity. Changes in the balance of brain chemistry, and in anatomical connectivity between specific regions can cause drastic changes in moral behavior. The lesson from all this new knowledge is clear: human moral cognition and behavior cannot be separated from biology, its development, and evolutionary history. As our understanding of the human brain improves, society at large, and justice and the law in particular, are and will be increasingly challenged. The intent of this class is to provide an overview of the current theories and research on morality, and examine this fascinating topic from a range of relevant interdisciplinary perspectives. These perspectives include anthropology and philosophy, evolution, development, social neuroscience, psychopathology, and justice and the law. J. Decety, Spring.
PSYC 33360. Methods in Gesture and Sign Language Research. In this course we will explore methods of research used in the disciplines of linguistics and psychology to investigate sign language and gesture. We will choose a set of canonical topics from the gesture and sign literature such as pointing, use of the body in quotation, and the use of non-manuals, in order to understand the value of various effective methods in current use and the types of research questions they are best equipped to handle. S. Goldin-Meadow, D. Brentari, Autumn.
PSYC 33600. Cognition in Infancy. In this course, we explore the development of human perceptual, cognitive, motor, and social abilities during the first two years of life. The study of infants provides a window into issues of nature and nurture, and the ways in which structure in the organism and structure in the environment converge in developing systems. We cover both classical and current models, giving special attention to the role of changing empirical methods in informing theory. A. Woodward, Autumn.
PSYC 33830. Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain. This course will provide a broad overview of current work in psychology and neuroscience related to attention and working memory. We will discuss evidence for sharp capacity limits in an individual's ability to actively monitor and maintain information in an "online" mental state. Readings will be primarily based on original source articles from peer-reviewed journals, with a focus on behavioral and neural approaches for measuring and understanding these basic cognitive processes. E. Awh, E. Vogel, Winter.
PSYC 34133. Neuroscience of Seeing. (NSCI 2240). This course focuses on the neural basis of vision, in the context of the following two questions: 1. How does the brain transform visual stimuli into neuronal responses? 2. How does the brain use visual information to guide behavior? The course covers signal transformation throughout the visual pathway, from retina to thalamus to cortex, and includes biophysical, anatomical, and computational studies of the visual system, psychophysics, and quantitative models of visual processing. This course is designed as an advanced neuroscience course for undergraduate and graduate students. The students are expected to have a general background in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. PQ: NSCI 20111 or BIOS 24110 or consent of instructor. W. Wei, J. Maunsell, M. Sherman, S. Shevell. Autumn
PSYC 35210. Communication in humans and non-humans. This seminar will compare communication in humans and non-humans. Topics to be covered include the reliance of communication on more general cognitive processes, the learnability of communicative systems, referential intent, honest signaling, and deception. These issues will be explored through readings that cover recent work at the intersection of human and animal communication. J. Mateo, Winter.
PSYC 36210. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I (BIOS 26210). This course builds on the introduction to modeling course biology students take in the first year (BIOS 20151 or 152). It begins with a review of one-variable ordinary differential equations as models for biological processes changing with time, and proceeds to develop basic dynamical systems theory. Analytic skills include stability analysis, phase portraits, limit cycles, and bifurcations. Linear algebra concepts are introduced and developed, and Fourier methods are applied to data analysis. The methods are applied to diverse areas of biology, such as ecology, neuroscience, regulatory networks, and molecular structure. The students learn computations methods to implement the models in MATLAB. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 20151 or BIOS 20152 or consent of the instructor. D. Kondrashov, Autumn.
PSYC 36211. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences II (BIOS 26211). This course is a continuation of BIOS 26210. The topics start with optimization problems, such as nonlinear least squares fitting, principal component analysis and sequence alignment. Stochastic models are introduced, such as Markov chains, birth-death processes, and diffusion processes, with applications including hidden Markov models, tumor population modeling, and networks of chemical reactions. In computer labs, students learn optimization methods and stochastic algorithms, e.g., Markov Chain, Monte Carlo, and Gillespie algorithm. Students complete an independent project on a topic of their interest. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 26210 Equivalent. D. Kondrashov, Winter.
PSYC 36530. Mind, Brain, and Meaning. What is the relationship between physical processes in the brain and body and the processes of thought and consciousness that constitute our mental life? Philosophers and others have puzzled over this question for millenia. Many have concluded it to be intractable. In recent decades, the field of cognitive science--encompassing philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics and other disciplines--has proposed a new form of answer. The driving idea is that the interaction of the mental and the physical may be understood via a third level of analysis: that of the computational. This course offers a critical introduction to the elements of this approach, and surveys some of the alternatives models and theories that fall within it. Readings are drawn from a range of historical and contemporary sources in philosophy, psychology, linguistics and computer science. J. Bridges, L. Kay, C. Kennedy, Autumn.
PSYC 37950. Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior. (CHDV 37950). This course explores how evolutionary biology and behavioral economics explain many different aspects of human behavior. Specific topics include evolutionary theory, natural and sexual selection, game theory, cost-benefit analyses of behavior from an evolutionary and a behavioral economics perspective, aggression, power and dominance, cooperation and competition, biological markets, parental investment, life history and risk-taking, love and mating, physical attractiveness and the market, emotion and motivation, sex and consumer behavior, cognitive biases in decision-making, and personality and psychopathology. D. Maestripieri, Autumn.
PSYC 38960. The Development of Communicative Competence. (=CHDV 38950). This course examines the emergence of communicative skills in humans. We will focus on how children glean information about language structure and language use from their home environments. We will also discuss the proposed cognitive and evolutionary roots of communicative behaviors, with a focus on current gaps in our knowledge and possible pathways forward. The course will consider these issues from multiple perspectives including linguistics, psychology, and linguistic anthropology. We will also briefly cover a range of methods associated with these different areas of study. It is expected that, by the end of the course, you should be able to think and write critically about how human communication and human language are intertwined in both adults and children. M. Casillas, Winter.
PSYC 40107. Behavioral Neuroscience. This course provides an introduction to neuroethology, examining brain activity relative to behaviors and organisms evaluated from an adaptive and evolutionary perspective. It starts with a brief introduction to classical ethology, and then develops a series of example animal model systems. Both invertebrate and vertebrate models are considered although there is a bias towards the latter. Many of these are “champion” species. There is a heavier demand for reading original data papers than typical in introductory graduate level courses. An integral part of the course is a series of assignments where you develop grant proposals describing novel science experiments in the animal models, thereby challenging your knowledge of the material and teaching aspects of scientific writing. In recent years there has been more computational material presented. The course is not available to undergraduates without prior approval of the instructor. D. Margoliash, Spring.
PSYC 40450-40451-404522. Topics in Cognition I-II-III. Broadly speaking, this workshop will address fundamental topics in cognitive psychology such as attention, memory, learning, problem solving, and language. One unique aspect of this workshop is that we will not only explore topics central to the study of cognition, but we will also explore how the study of cognitive psychology can be used to enhance human potential and performance in a variety of contexts. These contexts range from an exploration of optimal teaching practices to enhance the acquisition of mathematical knowledge in the classroom, to issues regarding how individuals communicate best to foster the optimal exchange of information in, for instance, medical settings, to the optimal strategies older adults can use to help stave off the deleterious effects of aging on cognitive functioning and the performance of everyday activities. A. Bakkour, Autumn, Winter, Spring.
PSYC 40460. Computation and the Identification of Cultural Patterns. (MACS 40400). Culture is increasingly becoming digital, making it more and more necessary for those in both academia and industry to use computational strategies to effectively identify, understand, and (in the case of industry) capitalize on emerging cultural patterns. In this course, students will explore interdisciplinary approaches for defining and mobilizing the concept of “culture” in their computational analyses, drawing on relevant literature from the fields of Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology. Additionally, they will receive hands-on experience applying computational approaches to identify and analyze a wide range of cultural patterns using the Python programming language. For instance, students will learn to identify emerging social movements using social media data, predict the next fashion trends, and even decipher ancient symbols using archaeological databases. PQ: No previous coding experience required. A Python boot camp will be held at the beginning of the quarter to teach the coding skills necessary to succeed in the course. Open to Advanced Undergraduates with Instructor Permission. J. Clindaniel, Winter.
PSYC 40710. Early Childhood: Human Capital Development and Public Policy. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the literature on early child development and explore how an understanding of core developmental concepts can inform social policies. Our substantive foci will be on early childhood poverty, the role of parenting and the home environment in shaping children's development, and the evidence base for intervention in early childhood for economically disadvantaged children. The course will cover evidence from neuroscience, psychology, economics, sociology, and public policy as it bears on these questions. In particular, we will explore how the principles of early childhood development can guide the design of policies and practices that enhance the healthy development of young children, particularly for those living in adverse circumstances, and thereby build a strong foundation for promoting equality of opportunity, reducing social class disparities in life outcomes, building human capital, fostering economic prosperity, and generating positive social change. In doing so, we will discuss the evidence on whether the contexts of children's development are amenable to public policy intervention and the costs and benefits of different policy approaches. A. Kalil, Winter.
PSYC 40850. Seminar on Mathematical Development. We will examine the development of numerical and spatial skills in young children, which have been found to predict their long term mathematical outcomes. The course will examine the role of children's early mathematical skills and concepts, domain general abilities such as executive functioning and math attitudes (e.g., math anxiety, math ability self-concepts, mindset, and math gender stereotypes) on their math learning trajaectories. Finally, we will consider how key socializers - parents and teachers - contribute to children's math learning and math attitudes. S. Levine, Spring.
PSYC 40851-40852-40853. Topics in Developmental Psychology I-II-III. Brown-bag discussion of current research in psychology. Autumn, S. Levine; Winter, L. Bian; Spring, S. Goldin-Meadow.
PSYC 41115. Social Cognitive Development. Human beings inhabit a very complex social world and our mind has structures that enable us to navigate this complexity. Where do these concerns come from? Are we blank slates that passively absorb cues from our environment? If not, what early competencies enable us to learn? How do these competencies interact with our culture? To answer these questions, this class will cover literature from infants, toddlers, children, and adults to give a rich picture of what changes and remains constant across development. We will cover topics such as children's understanding of intentions, theory of mind, communication, ownership, morality, and inter-group attitudes. A. Shaw, Spring.
PSYC 42100. Trial Research Seminar. PSYC 42100 is required of first-year Psychology graduate students. The purpose of this seminar is to assist students in formulating their trial research project. S. London, Spring.
PSYC 42220. Understanding Inequality as a Psychologist. Inequality within and across social groups has risen sharply in the past few decades. What are the early traces and psychological mechanisms of this pervasive phenomenon? In this seminar, we will discuss these questions from multiple angles, integrating developmental, social and cognitive psychology. Specifically, this course will cover topics in early social cognition, including social categorization, essentialism, structural reasoning, normative reasoning, stereotypes and prejudice, etc. Students will evaluate past studies throughout the course and propose original research at the end. L. Bian, Spring.
PSYC 43310. Affective Neuroscience. This course aims to provide an overview of and historical basis for the study the neural mechanisms of emotion. Emphasis will be on mapping affective experience and behavior to brain function, including multilevel integration of social, psychological, neurobiological, and genetic data. Readings will come from the current literature. Course requirements include in-depth weekly discussion of assigned readings and a final paper. G. Norman. Winter.
PSYC 42550. Topics in Cognitive Development. In the first years of life, children’s cognition undergoes dramatic qualitative and quantitative change. For nearly a century, experimental psychologists have sought to understand the nature and causes of these developmental changes. This course surveys classic and current approaches to the study of cognitive development in infants and children. A. Shaw, S. Levine, Spring.
PSYC 43110. Affective Neuroscience. This course aims to provide an overview of and historical basis for the study the neural mechanisms of emotion. Emphasis will be on mapping affective experience and behavior to brain function, including multilevel integration of social, psychological, neurobiological, and genetic data. Readings will come from the current literature. Course requirements include in-depth weekly discussion of assigned readings and a final paper. G. Norman, Spring.
PSYC 43910. Current Topics in Working Memory and Attention. This will cover a broad range of topics in the working memory and attention literature. E. Awh, Winter.
PSYC 44400. Moral Psychology and the Anthropology of Morality (CHDV 45601). Three types of questions about morality can be distinguished: (1) philosophical, (2) psychological, and (3) epidemiological. The philosophical question asks, whether and in what sense (if any) "goodness" or "rightness" are real or objective properties that particular actions possess in varying degrees. The psychological question asks, what are the mental states and processes associated with the human classification of actions are moral or immoral, ethical or unethical. The epidemiological question asks, what is the actual distribution of moral judgments across time (developmental time and historical time) and across space (for example, across cultures). In this seminar we will read classic and contemporary philosophical, psychological, and anthropological texts that address those questions. R. Shweder, Autumn.
PSYC 44550. Cognitive Neuroscience Core Course. This course will cover broad topics in cognitive neuroscience, including attention, memory, perception, and reasoning. Strong integration of behavioral and neural approaches will be emphasized.E. Awh, Autumn.
PSYC 45300. When Cultures Collide: Multiculturalism in Liberal Democracies. (=CHDV 45600, ANTH 45600, HMRT 35600, GNDR 45600) Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape. This seminar examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States. Note: Advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission of instructor. R. Shweder, Winter.
PSYC 45500. Cognitive and Social Neuroscience of Aging. As the baby boom generation ages, the rising prevalence of aging-related cognitive decline has become a major challenge for individuals, families and society. However, not all cognitive systems are negatively impacted by aging, and aging also causes complex social and emotional changes. How does aging affect our brains and our minds, and are these changes inevitable? This seminar provides an introduction to the scientific literature of the aging mind, focusing on both normal and pathological (e.g., Alzheimer's disease) changes in late adulthood. We will cover contemporary research from cognitive and social neuroscience perspectives. Topics include different psychological domains (e.g., attention, memory, metacognition, affective control) and applied issues (e.g., physical exercise, mental training, stereotype threat). D. Gallo, Winter.
PSYC 46050. Principles of Data Science and Engineering for Laboratory Research. The quantity of data gathered from laboratory experiments is constantly increasing. This course will explore the latest concepts, techniques and best-practice to create efficient data analysis pipelines. We will focus on the python ecosystem. By the end of the course, you are expected to be able to apply appropriate tools to streamline your own data analysis. PQ: Familiarity with coding in python. J. Yu, Spring.
PSYC 47001. Language in Culture I. (ANTH 37201). Among topics discussed in the first half of the sequence are the formal structure of semiotic systems, the ethnographically crucial incorporation of linguistic forms into cultural systems, and the methods for empirical investigation of “functional” semiotic structure and history. C. Nakassis, Autumn.
PSYC 47002. Language in Culture II. (ANTH 37202). This is the second part of a two-quarter sequence on the role of language in social life. Building on the first quarter's focus on the interaction order, this quarter explores how ideologies regiment and reflexively mediate between discursive/expressive practices of the interaction order and the wider organization of social life. How are people's ideas about ways of speaking and modes of expression shaped by their social positions and values? And how do their ideas shape interaction and vice versa? How is difference, in language and in social life, made - and unmade? How and why are some differences persuasive as the basis for action, while other differences are ignored or erased? The course proposes that ideologies are neither true nor false, they are positioned and partial visions of the world, relying on comparison and perspective; they exploit differences in expressive features - linguistic and otherwise - to construct convincing images of people, spaces and activities in sociopolitical processes. S. Gal, Winter.
PSYC 47500. Survey Questionnaire Design. (PPHA 41800). The questionnaire has played a critical role in gathering data used to assist in making public policy, evaluating social programs, and testing theories about social behavior (among other uses). This course offers a systematic way to construct and evaluate questionnaires. We will learn to think about survey questions from the perspective of the respondent and in terms of cognitive and social tasks that underlie responding. We will examine the impact of questions on data quality and will review past and recent methodological research on questionnaire development. The course will help students to tell the difference between better and worse types of survey questions, find and evaluate existing questions on different topics, and construct and test questionnaires for their own needs. R. Bautista, Spring.
PSYC 48000. Proseminar in Psychology. Required of first-year Department of Psychology graduate students. Department of Psychology faculty members present and discuss their research. This introduces new students to the range of research areas in the department. M. Rosenberg, Autumn.
PSYC 48001-48002-48003. Mind and Biology Proseminar I-II-III. Seminar series at the Institute for Mind and Biology meets three to four times per quarter. Sign up for three quarters; receive credit at the end of Spring Quarter. E. Vogel, Autumn, Winter, Spring.