Departmental Courses

PSYC 32350. Sex Differences in the Human Brain from DNA to Human Culture. This graduate seminar provides a foundation and a critical overview of theories and empirical research in neuroscience and psychology on sex differences, as well as their implications for medicine, health, education and public policy. J. Decety, Winter.

PSYC 33000. Cultural Psychology: Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations. 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. Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required. R. Shweder, Autumn.

PSYC 33200/43200. Seminar in Language Development. Advanced undergraduates and MAPSS students should register for PSYC 33200. Psychology graduate students should register for PSYC 43200. This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child's production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics). S. Goldin-Meadow, Winter.

PSYC 33750. Seminar: Skill Acquisition and Sensorimotor Learning. Skill acquisition has been studied scientifically for well over a hundred years although the vast majority of memory research focuses on learning facts and declarative memory.  This seminar will examine how we learn skills both the kind we use routinely without much thought such as walking and language use and the kind that represent expertise resulting from practice and experience. We will read and discuss the research literature on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor learning.  We will consider specific topics such as the interaction of sensory systems and motor systems in learning and the role of sleep in consolidation of learning.  Course requirements will include class presentations of research papers, weekly writing assignments, and a final paper. H. Nusbaum, Spring.

PSYC 34400. Computational Neuroscience III: Cognitive Neuroscience. This course is concerned with the relationship of the nervous system to higher order behaviors (e.g., perception, action, attention, learning, memory). Psychophysical, functional imaging, and electrophysiological methods are introduced. Mathematical and statistical methods (e.g., neural networks, information theory, pattern recognition for studying neural encoding in individual neurons and populations of neurons) are discussed. Weekly lab sections allow students to program cognitive neuroscientific experiments and simulations. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24222 or CPNS 33100. N. Hatsopoulos, Spring.

PSYC 34410. Computational Approaches for Cognitive Neuroscience. This course is concerned with the relationship of the nervous system to higher order behaviors such as perception and encoding, action, attention, and learning and memory. Modern methods of imaging neural activity are introduced, and information theoretic methods for studying neural coding in individual neurons and populations of neurons are discussed. Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24222 or CPNS 33100. N. Hatsopoulos, Spring.

PSYC 36210. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I. 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. 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 37300. Experimental Design I. This course covers topics in research design and analysis. They include multifactor, completely randomized procedures and techniques for analyzing data sets with unequal cell frequencies. Emphasis is on principles, not algorithms, for experimental design and analysis.  Not offered in 2018-19.

PSYC 37400. Human Memory. This seminar surveys the scientific study of human memory, emphasizing theory, research, and applications. We will cover current research and methods in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, as well as historical precursors and classic studies. Topics include conscious and nonconscious memory processes, corresponding neural systems, and various phenomena such as amnesia, source monitoring, reconsolidation, confabulation and distortion, and autobiographical memory.  D. Gallo, Winter.

PSYC 37900. Experimental Design II. 100 Units. Experimental Design II covers more complex ANOVA models than in the previous course, including split-plot (repeated-measures) designs and unbalanced designs. It also covers analysis of qualitative data, including logistic regression, multinomial logit models, and log linear models. An introduction to certain advanced techniques useful in the analysis of longitudinal data, such as hierarchical linear models (HLM), also is provided. For course description contact Psychology. Not offered in 2018-19.

PSYC 38655. Environmental Neuroscience. In this course we will be examining how the physical and social environment affects brain and behavior.  This course will span biological psychology with non-human animals to large Epidemiological studies examining how environments affect brain and Behavior. M. Berman, S. London, Spring.

PSYC 37950. Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior. 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 40107. Behavioral Neuroscience. This course is concerned with the structure and function of systems of neurons, and how these are related to behavior. Common patterns of organization are described from the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral perspectives of analysis. The comparative approach is emphasized throughout. Laboratories include exposure to instrumentation and electronics, and involve work with live animals. A central goal of the laboratory is to expose students to in vivo extracellular electrophysiology in vertebrate preparations. Laboratories will be attended only on one day a week but may run well beyond the canonical period. 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. M. Berman, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

PSYC 40851-40852-40853. Topics in Developmental Psychology I-II-III. Brown-bag discussion of current research in psychology. Autumn, D. Yurovsky; Winter, S. Goldin-Meadow; Spring, S. Godin-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, Autumn.

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 42270-42271-42272. Advanced Topics in Electrophysiology I-II-III.  E, Awh, E. Vogel. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

PSYC 42750. Advanced  Topics in Chronobiology and Behavior. This course will explore the mechanisms by which circadian and seasonal biological clocks influence the development and adult functioning of the brain, the neuroendocrine system, and the immune system, all within the context of adaptive changes in behavior.  In addition to being immersed in theoretical aspects of chronobiology, students will be trained in critical reading of primary research literature, the construction of testable hypotheses, and designing experiments to test these hypotheses. We will also discuss features of the scientific process that allow rapid progress in developing a scientific field. B. Prendergast, 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, Winter.

PSYC 43165. Homo Moralis: 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, Winter.

PSYC 43200. Seminar in Language Development. Advanced undergraduates and MAPSS students should register for PSYC 33200. Psychology graduate students should register for PSYC 43200. This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child's production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).  S. Goldin-Meadow, Winter.

PSYC 43360. Computational Models of Cognitive Development. Computational models are powerful tool for integrating empirical research, and for making novel predictions about cognition and development. This course will survey computational models of attention, Learning, Decision Making, and Language Processing, aiming to develop students’ understanding of what models are for broadly, as well as what kinds of models are used and useful in their individual research areas. D. Yurovsky, Spring.

PSYC 43600. Processes of Judgement and Decision Making. This course offers a survey of research on judgment and decision making, with emphasis placed on uncertainty and (intrapersonal) conflict. An historical approach is taken in which the roots of current research issues and practices are traced. Topics are drawn from the following areas: evaluation and choice when goals are in conflict and must be traded off, decision making when consequences of the decision are uncertain, predictive and evaluative judgments under conditions of uncertain, incomplete, conflicting, or otherwise fallible information. W. Goldstein, Autumn.

PSYC 43820. Attention and Working Memory. E. Awh, E. Vogel, Autumn.

PSYC 43980. Psychneuroimmunology. The aim of this course is to present some of the basic information necessary to interpret literature in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Given the breadth of this line of research, the course is structured to provide students with an overview of several areas central to the field including basic immunology and neurobiology, psychological stress, coping and PNI, immune-mediated alterations in affective and cognitive processes, and PNI processes associated with health and disease. Course requirements include in-depth weekly discussion of assigned readings and a final paper. G. Norman, Autumn.

PSYC 44700. Seminar: Topics in Judgement and Decision Making. 100 Units. This course offers a survey of research on judgment and decision making, with emphasis placed on uncertainty and (intrapersonal) conflict. An historical approach is taken in which the roots of current research issues and practices are traced. Topics are drawn from the following areas: evaluation and choice when goals are in conflict and must be traded off, decision making when consequences of the decision are uncertain, predictive and evaluative judgments under conditions of uncertain, incomplete, conflicting, or otherwise fallible information. W. Goldstein, 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. S. Levine, 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. TBD, Spring.

PSYC 48155. The Quest for Interesting Research.  Time is short so we often do what we have to do. This seminar is an opportunity to read the articles we wish we had the time to read not those we have to. We will read an eclectic series of articles. They need not necessarily have a common theme, they will be mostly from psychology, perhaps with relevance to law, perhaps to public policy. We will discuss what makes each article interesting, what makes findings important, how to decide what questions to ask and how to determine in what direction to take a research program. But mainly we will just be reading, discussing and enjoying the quest. B. Keysar, Winter.