bottom

home

projects
people
courses
papers
bottom
 
 
2010-11
 
 

Fall semester

 

Psy 101: Introduction to Psychology

A survey of concepts, principles, and theories of an empirical science of behavior. Topics include behavioral biology, learning, memory, sensation, perception, cognition, motivation, emotion, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology.

 

Psy 333: Research in Behavioral Neuroscience (formerly called Advanced Physiological Psychology)

Our ability to learn new information and to remember our past experiences seems to be critical to our sense of self. Who would we be if we had no memory of our childhood? Of our friends? Of high school or your first year at Wabash? Because of the importance of memory in who we are and our ability to function in daily life, memory has attracted a great deal of attention from psychology and related fields, such as neuroscience. In this course, we will be looking at learning and memory in great detail, focusing on 1) what brain areas are necessary for learning and memory? 2) What are these areas doing as we create new memories or retrieve old ones? 3) How are memories created? What actually happens in the brain? Through a better understanding of memory, we hope to understand more about ourselves, and to be able to help individuals suffering from pathological states which impair memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia from other sources.

 

Freshman Tutorial: Me, My Self and My Brain

Imagine you’ve created a machine that is able to make an exact, physical copy of any object. However, the process of making the copy requires that the machine destroys the original. So, if you put your iPad in and turn on the machine, the iPad is instantly vaporized. But, in another compartment you find an exact duplicate of your device. Such a machine would be quite interesting, but we might imagine that it has little practical value.

However, what happens if you step into the machine, and turn it on? You are instantly vaporized (and, let’s assume painlessly!), and out of the second compartment steps your exact duplicate. Who is this duplicate? Does he think he is you? If he does, then are you actually dead? What if the machine malfunctions and you are not vaporized: are you and your duplicate both “you”? If you then kill your duplicate, was there in fact a murder? What if he kills you?

In this class, we will take these types of thought experiments seriously, and use them to look carefully at the problem of self. We’ll try to locate our “I”, our sense of self, using a variety of sources, ranging from philosophical thought experiments, to stories about the lives of humans with brain damage, to science fiction writing and film.

Some of the texts we will read include Ramachandran & Blakeslee’s Phantoms in the Brain, selections from Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Brok’s Into the Silent Land and a number of short works of science fiction. We will also watch several films in the course, including The Thirteenth Floor and The Prestige.

 

Spring semester

 

Psy 101: Introduction to Psychology

A survey of concepts, principles, and theories of an empirical science of behavior. Topics include behavioral biology, learning, memory, sensation, perception, cognition, motivation, emotion, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology.

 

Psy 233: Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral neuroscience can be thought of as part of the intersection between psychology (the study of our behavior and experience) and neuroscience (the study of the nervous system). The goal of behavioral neuroscience is to develop an understanding of how behavior and experience are produced by the nervous system, and consequently how injury and diseases of the brain can impact the mind. This course is intended as a general introduction to the area, and will focus on what we know about the brain systems responsible for sensation, movement, emotion and memory. The course also is intended to introduce the main tools employed in behavioral neuroscience, and the laboratory demonstrations/exercises used will introduce methods for physiological and behavioral data collection.

 

Psy 310: Literature Review in Psychology

An introduction to the principles of searching for and reporting on published literature in psychology. Students will learn strategies for searching databases, identifying credible sources, and developing a theoretical background on a topic. This course features extensive training and practice in writing APA-style manuscripts, and is intended to prepare students for PSY 495/496, Senior Project.