An introduction to communication within the nervous system and functional brain neuroanatomy. Examination of chemical circuits in the brain and associated pathologies, such as Parkinson's disease, Tourettes, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.
An introduction to brain processes associated with perception, emotion, memory and cognition. Consequences of damage to these neurobehavioral processes are examined through reading and discussion of clinical case studies. This course is offered after Spring Break following on from BBS 5068 (Brain and Behavior I: Anatomy and Physiology). Students normally take the two courses in sequence for a total of 3 points, which are distributed across the two courses (2+1 or 1+2). The same main textbook is used across the two courses.
This course is an introduction to the mammalian nervous system, emphasizing the structure and function of the human brain. It provides foundational knowledge for students with little or no background in neuroscience and an essential review for students with limited course work in neuroscience. Topics to be covered include the history of neuroscience, the function of brain cells, intra- and intercellular communication, and the anatomy of the human nervous system. This course takes a Flipped Learning approach to introduce the mammalian nervous system, emphasizing the structure and function of the human brain. It provides foundational knowledge for students with little or no background in neuroscience and an essential review for students with coursework in neuroscience. Topics to be covered include the history of neuroscience, the function of brain cells, intra- and intercellular communication, and the anatomy of the human nervous system. This course incorporates online lectures to emphasize essential topics from the text, weekly quizzes to support students’ consolidation of material and gauge comprehension, in-class discussions to extend topics covered, discussion follow-up work, and group projects. You should expect to spend 7 to 10 hours each week outside of class engaging with course content.
This course is a continuation of the Foundations in Neuroscience series, and is intended for students who have completed Foundations I: Neuroanatomy & Physiology. The topics to be covered include the visual system, the auditory system, the somatosensory system, motor movement, chemical control of brain & behavior, and memory. This course takes a flipped learning approach, incorporating a weekly online lecture that emphasizes essential topics from the textbook alongside weekly quizzes to support students’ consolidation of material and gauge comprehension. In-class discussions and activities extend topics covered and involve follow-up discussion work. Group projects are assigned to support collaborative learning. You should expect to spend 7 to 10 hours each week outside of class engaging with course content.
This course is intended to provide an overview of the scientific methods used in the field of neuroscience. We will be discussing the basic tenets of experimental design and statistical analysis as they are used by all behavioral and cognitive scientists. We also will work to apply those design and analysis concepts to the specific methodologies used by neuroscientists.
Students may register for this course if they are involved in a practicum experience such as working in a lab, an educational setting, or clinical treatment setting doing research independently, such as research toward writing the thesis. The course also covers students who are taking external workshops such as the functional MRI training at MGH's Martinos Center. Registration is for 0 to 3 credits depending on the level of commitment and/ or financial constraints; registering for zero credits is at no tuition cost to the student. Students should consult with their advisor prior to registration.
This course provides basic understanding of electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) methods as they are used in investigations of language and cognitive processes. The course covers the neurophysiology of EEG, principles of experiment design, and some methods for preliminary data processing.
This course reviews the history of cognitive neuroscience, provides an overview of the structure & function of the nervous system, and delves into the methods used to investigate the cognitive and neural processes that support visual object recognition, attention, language, memory, and cognitive control. We will consider evidence from healthy study participants as well as patients with neurological disorders. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical perspectives and converging evidence for each covered topic. Students will work both independently and collaboratively to gain a deeper understanding of the topics covered by synthesizing the extant literature.
This course will examine various neuropsychological testing instruments and their role in research and the evaluation of neuropsychological disorders in children and adults. The course will focus on the basic theoretical and clinical foundations of neuropsychological testing.
This course will survey the application of current neuroscience research to educational practice. We will discuss how neuroscience can (and cannot) inform current pedagogical methodologies, including neuroethical issues as they pertain to education, as well as educational “neuromyths.” We will cover the neural bases of selected cognitive and academic systems (including literacy, math, and self-regulation), as well as the current science of intervention in these domains. We discuss experience-based brain plasticity across a variety of contexts (sleep, physical activity, stress, bilingualism, socioeconomic status, music exposure). Finally, we will discuss the future of neuroeducational research and policy. Throughout the course, we focus on the ability to evaluate, critique, and interpret scientific evidence as it relates to educational practice and policy.
This course is an introduction to the neuroscience of reading, its development, and disorders. We will contemplate questions about the reading brain, including: What is reading? How do we make meaning of marks on a page? How does language development support reading development? What is the significance of this technology to society? How do we study the reading brain? What goes on in the brain when learning to read and in skilled readers? What is or isn't happening in the brains of children who struggle to read? We will consider theoretical frameworks and how they provide a foundation for discussing the neurological underpinnings of sub-processes supporting reading. Experimental findings from neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience will be reviewed and evaluated. The insights gathered from this work will help build an understanding of the sub-processes supporting reading across a lifespan and among linguistic communities. We will also review how developmental and acquired reading disorders have contributed to our understanding of the reading brain and its implications for instruction.
This course will review neuroanatomical terminology and identify structure and function of major landmarks and pathways in the human brain, peripheral nervous system, and spinal cord using clinical cases, MRI images, brain models, and preserved human brain specimens. We will also discuss neurological disorders and pathology as is relevant to each structure.
This course aims to explore the applications, methods, neurophysiology, and psychometrics associated with the use of eye tracking in cognitive, linguistic, developmental and clinical research. Students will learn to use TOBII eye trackers and will explore the use of other head mounted systems as well. Students will design, run and analyze an experiment employing these technologies. In addition, we will learn to use other dynamic event recording systems, including ELAN, MACSHAPA/DATAVYU, PRAAT and CHILDES. These systems are designed for coding video, sound, speech, language and other event based data sets. We will also explore the contents of the shared datasets on CHILDES and DATABERY (as it comes on line).
This course features a series of synchronous Zoom talks by visiting speakers presenting their cutting-edge neuroscientific research. The course introduces graduate students to a range of topics and researchers. The format provides an opportunity for students to engage directly with scientists in a professional arena. For each talk, students will be required to read background papers that describe aspects of the work presented by a visiting speaker. Assigned groups will submit questions/topics of interest for discussion after the talks. Every couple of weeks, the class will meet via Zoom for a "live" discussion. Lecture topics seek to expand student exposure to a diversity of neuroscientific research. Assignments encourage reflection on the topics presented and how the material covered contributes to a deeper understanding of neuroscience more generally.
This course examines neurophysical development from conception through adulthood and its relation to changes in cognitive and linguistic functioning. Topics include visual development, attention, development of action/motor systems, language and reading development, executive function, and social cognition. In addition, the course covers developmental disorders related to specific cognitive, linguistic, and social functions, and theoretical approaches to mental representation and the emergence of cognitive functions.
Emotion and cognition have traditionally been studied in isolation from one another, but these processes typically interact with each other in interesting and unique ways. Understanding these interactions is critical to understanding human behavior: affect can modulate our attention, guide our decision making, bias our perception, and influence our memories. Affective neuroscience utilizes the tools typically used to study cognitive neuroscience to better understand how emotion interacts with these and other aspects of cognition.
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a field that integrates behavioral sciences, cellular neuroscience, endocrinology, and immunology to explain how immune-brain interactions can affect health and behaviors. The course will begin by introducing the principles of neuroscience, immunology, endocrinology, and research methods in PNI. We will then survey foundational work and current research related to brain-immune interactions and how they influence health and disease including topics that are relevant to cognitive neuroscience and education such as learning, memory, and cognitive disorders.
As our ability to measure and understand the functioning of the human brain has rapidly advanced, so too has our need to grapple with the ethical and legal implications of these neuroscientific tools and discoveries. This seminar will introduce students to the emerging fields of Neuroethics and Neurolaw and create a forum for discussion and debate about a range of timely topics. Topics will include brain development in adolescence (related to issues of driving laws, school start times, and adolescents being tried as adults in courts of law); the use of neuroimaging as “brain reading” technology (and its applicability in court); the neurobiology of memory and its legal application; the use of neuropharmacological agents and brain stimulation for cognitive enhancement; the neurobiology of addiction (and implications for the voluntary control of behavior); and death, unconsciousness, and the law. Throughout the course, we focus on the ability to evaluate, critique and interpret scientific evidence as it relates to ethical and legal practice and policy. With each topic we consider, our goal will not be to achieve consensus on what’s right and what’s wrong but rather to understand the ethical quandaries and to think critically about ways that the field could go about addressing them. Students should leave this course with an enhanced appreciation of the many ways in which our work impacts society and a heightened commitment to public engagement.
This course will survey the state-of-the-art research into what happens to our brains following the experience of adversity. We will consider adversity broadly defined, including common forms of adversity such as poverty, as well as more extreme forms of adversity, such as abuse and institutionalization. We will consider adversity across the lifespan and will also focus on plasticity and resilience. Throughout this course, we focus on the ability to evaluate, critique, and interpret scientific evidence as it relates to the neuroscience of adversity.
The goal of BBSN 5500 is to provide a structured approach to writing the thesis. Class meetings involve lectures on selecting and refining thesis topics, writing different sections of an academic paper, APA format and stylistic conventions, and grammar. Students make several presentations on their work over the course of the semester and provide substantive feedback to their peers. Once thesis drafts are completed, the course focuses on best practices for designing poster and professional presentations based on thesis work. This course requires a minimum of 36 hours per week of out of classroom work.
Research and independent study.