Pre-College Programs

Neuroscience Courses (20)

From Brain to Sensation: Neurobiology of Perception - Senior SPARK

Taste! Smell! Sound! Sight! Touch! Balance! How is all of this information turned into sensation? Hint: it involves the brain! Students will learn how our brains make sense of the world around us, and they'll learn a little brain anatomy along the way too!

Through a combination of individual and small group experiments, students will about the sensory systems...

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From Brain to Sensation: Neurobiology of Perception - Junior SPARK

Taste! Smell! Sound! Sight! Touch! Balance! How is all of this information turned into sensation? Hint: it involves the brain! Students will learn how our brains make sense of the world around us, and they'll learn a little brain anatomy along the way too!

Through a combination of individual and small group experiments, students will about the sensory systems...

Brain Basics: From Biology to Behavior

The study of the brain as a biological structure is very different from the study of any other organ in the body. The cells that make up the brain, neurons, share many of the same fundamental characteristics with other cells of the body (exocytosis, manufacturing of proteins, metabolism, growth). However, the functions of these cells result in products that are quite unique...

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Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior

The facts we have learned as humans across our lifetime and our memories of personal experiences make each one of us unique. Consider, however, how one’s sense of self would be affected if they were unable to form new such memories? At a more basic level, how could animals survive if they were unable to learn from their experiences? This course will offer students...

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Psychoactive Drugs: Brain, Body, Society

Have you ever wondered about the difference between recreational and medicinal usage of psychoactive drugs (drugs that alter mood and behavior)? Are there basic differences in the action of psychoactive drugs when they are taken for recreational versus medicinal purposes? And how does society decide how to categorize psychoactive drugs: which ones to make legal and which illegal?...

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Neuroscience in Health and Disease

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and networks of nerve cells, or neurons, that travel throughout the body. Although the field of neuroscience is relatively new, being recognized only in recent decades as a formal discipline, it is growing and expanding at a very rapid rate. The rapid growth of neuroscience and the pace of biomedical...

Two Sections Offered »

The Secret Life of the Brain: From Shrimps to Humans

The human brain contains about 100 billion cells known as neurons, yet it remains a mystery how the activity of these neurons makes us think, feel and move. In this course we will try to answer this question.

Standard neuroscience courses usually begin with a description of brain's nuts-and-bolts (neurons, ion channels, synapses), while all the fun topics (behavior,...

Playing Tricks on the Brain!: Perception and Illusion in the Human Visual System

Nearly half of the human brain is devoted to vision, and even the best software engineers at Google and Microsoft can't beat a 3-year-old when it comes to object recognition. Visual perception feels automatic and effortless, and is usually so perfect that we fail to notice it. This course will look at cases where this breaks down when we fall prey to illusions. Like glitches...

Neurotechnology, Where Brain Meets Machine

This course will introduce students to the rapidly advancing interface between the human nervous system and technology, and its potential to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases. A brief introduction to brain basics, and an overview of past, current and future neurotechnology will inspire students to consider how medical technology is envisioned, tested and created in...

The Anatomy of Human Cognition: A Neuropsychological Approach

Much of what is known about the neuroanatomy of human cognition has been inferred from observing how behavior changes as a result of injury or disease. In this course, students will learn about the brain structures and systems involved in memory, language, attention, and executive function by reviewing case studies of patients sustaining brain injuries or disease. By introducing...

From Sound to Synapse: Introduction to Auditory Neuroscience

The main objective of this course is to explore what sound is and how the brain interprets it with a special focus on the perception of music. We will relate the physical properties of sound to acoustic perception, and investigate how music elicits emotional responses.

The course content will answer several central questions that build on one another: How does sound...

Computer Modeling of the Brain

The human brain is one of the most complicated and mysterious systems on the planet. In recent decades a huge push has been made to understand the brain through computer modeling. A large number of scientists have been involved in the development of these models to not only advance our understanding and treatments of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, but also to help...

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Visual Consciousness

How can a physical system of the brain experience anything? We are going to seek answers to this question within a neuro-scientific framework. Consciousness is the major unsolved problem, although we all experience it everyday.

We will address following questions: (1) What is consciousness?
 (2) What are the neuronal correlates of consciousness in brain? This course...

Neuroscience in Action: Understanding Our Brains and Nervous Systems

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Five Weeks

The human brain has more than 85 billion nerve cells, also known as neurons. Ever since the original description of the neuron by Santiago Ramon y Cajal in the 19th century, neuroscientists have known that understanding the neuron is key to understanding how the brain works. This course is an introduction to neuroscience in which we will examine the inner workings of the neuron:...

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The Physics of Music and Neuroscience of Hearing - Senior SPARK

What does it take to hear music? What makes musical instruments sound different from one another even when you play the same note? How can an opera singer shatter glass? Why is a cello much bigger than a violin? Why are the sound of a cymbal and a snare drum different from each other? Why does the note change when you hold different finger holes on a flute?

In this...

Experience and Consciousness

We typically enjoy a rich conscious mental life: there's a subjective feel, or something it's like, to experience the smell fresh brownies, to be stuck with a pin, or to go on a first date. Conscious experience is such a fundamental part of what it is to be a creature like us that we often take it for granted, but some of philosophy of mind's most fascinating...

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Genetics and Human Behavior

The completion of the Human Genome Project may be the most important scientific achievement of our lifetime, but how much can genes tell us about complex human behavior? How much does the environment impact human behavior? What kind of research techniques can be used to identify specific genes and specific environments that impact behavior?

Behavioral genetics is a field...

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The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience

Introduction to the mammalian nervous system with emphasis on the structure and function of the human brain. Topics include the function of nerve cells, sensory systems, control of movement and speech, learning and memory, emotion, and diseases of the brain. No prerequisites, but knowledge of biology and chemistry at the high school level is assumed.

Meditation and the Brain: Applications in Basic and Clinical Science

This class is a detailed exploration of the most recent neuroscientific research of meditation. The course explores the cognitive, affective, and neurophysiological effects of meditation practices with reference to their clinical applications in health, psychiatry and medicine. Current methodological challenges and directions for future research will also be explored.

Contemplative Approaches to Living and Dying

One of the central components of a religious tradition are beliefs about the meaning of human existence - a meaning that is constructed in relation to the significance of one’s inevitable death, the nature of the afterlife, and conceptions of salvation. These core beliefs also deeply inform the ethics, rituals, and contemplative practices of religious communities. Through...