Courses | Neuroscience and Education | Biobehavioral Sciences

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Neuroscience and Education

Neuroscience and Education

In the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

All Courses

BBSN 4001 Foundations in Neuroscience I: Anatomy & Physiology

This course provides an introduction to the mammalian nervous system with emphasis on the structure and function of the human brain. The course is intended to provide foundational knowledge for students with little or no background in neuroscience. Topics to be covered include the function of nerve cells, intra and intercellular communication, and the anatomy of the human nervous system. Note that this is a half-semester course.

BBSN 4002 Foundations in Neuroscience II: Systems Neuroscience

This course provides an introduction to the systems of the mammalian brain, with emphasis on the structure and function of the human brain. The course is intended to provide foundational knowledge for students with little or no background in neuroscience. Topics to be covered include sensory and motor systems, as well as the circuitry underlying complex behaviors including motivation, emotions, and memory. Note that this is a half-semester course.

BBSN 4005 Research Methods in Neuroscience

This course is intended to provide an overview of the scientic methods used in the eld 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 specic methodologies used by neuroscientists.

BBSN 4007 Neuroscience Applications To Education

This course examines current attempts to apply research findings in neuroscience directly to educational and allied disciplines

BBSN 5500 Thesis and Professional Development

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.

BBSN 4904 Research Practicum and Independent Study: Neuroscience and Education

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 nancial constraints; registering for zero credits is at no tuition cost to the student. Students should consult with their advisor prior to registration. 

BBSN 5000 Electroencephalography (EEG) Lab Methods

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.

BBSN 5003 Cognitive Neuroscience

This course explores the cognitive and neural processes that support attention, object recognition, language, social cognition, and memory. It introduces basic neuroanatomy, functional imaging techniques, and behavioral measures of cognition. We consider evidence from patients with neurological diseases (e.g., Balint's syndrome, amnesia, and focal lesions from stroke) and from healthy human participants.

BBSN 5005 Evaluation of Neuropsychological Instruments for Research

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.

BBSN 5007 Neuroscience Applications to Education

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 scientic evidence as it relates to educational practice and policy.  

BBSN 5022 Eye Tracking Methods

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).

BBSN 5070 Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

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 specic cognitive, linguistic, and social functions, and theoretical approaches to mental representation and the emergence of cognitive functions.

BBSN 5080 Affective Neuroscience

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 inuence 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.

BBSN 5122 Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a eld 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 inuence health and disease including topics that are relevant to cognitive neuroscience and education such as learning, memory, and cognitive disorders.

BBSN 5152 Neuroscience, Ethics, and the Law

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 neuroscientic tools and discoveries. This seminar will introduce students to the emerging elds 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 scientic 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 eld 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.

BBSN 5193 Neuroscience of Adversity

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 dened, 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 scientic evidence as it relates to the neuroscience of adversity. 

BBSN 5199 Section 001 Social Neuroscience 

 Provides an introduction to topics studied within the burgeoning field of Social Neuroscience. Discusses neuroscientific methods applied to questions of social psychology, including how we understand and manage the self, how we reason about moral dilemmas, and how we form relationships and prejudices.

BBSN 5199 Section 002 Pediatric Brain Injury and Education

In the US every year nearly a half-million children below the age of 14 present to an emergency department with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and up to 30% report chronic symptoms after a single or repetitive mild TBIs. TBIs have been associated with a number of neurological outcomes including seizures, neuroendocrine dysregulation, neuro-immunological alterations, somatic symptoms, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairments, and mood disorders that may last months to years after a brain injury. This course is designed to provide a background in TBI for educators and those interested in the field of neuro-education and policy, and to start a conversation around prevention, testing, and accommodation guidelines that have the potential to influence brain development with larger social, emotional, and cognitive implications in educational settings. 

BBSN 5199 Section 005 Neurobiology of Cognitive Aging

The course provides an overview of age-related changes in brain structure and function, and how they are linked to neurocognitive aging in a healthy brain compared to neuropathological conditions. Content is drawn from current research in the fields of neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and cognitive neuroscience.