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Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 14, 2014 - August 01, 20143M-F 12:45-3:35PWaitlistedKristin Scaplen10065

Course Description

The facts you have learned across your lifetime and your memories for personal experiences make each one of us unique, as humans. 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 the opportunity to explore the field’s current understanding of learning and memory processes gained largely from both human and animal research.

Arguably even more interesting, we will also explore what topics are still not well understood in the field. Throughout the course we will discuss how science is performed, learning is measured, and memory is studied. We will compare and contrast different types of learning and multiple memory systems that are responsible for various types of memories and discuss some of the molecular mechanism thought to underlie these processes. Finally we will discuss how disruptions to these mechanisms or insults to specific brain regions can result in learning and memory deficits.
The main objectives of this course are to: 1.) Explore the science of learning and memory 2.) Describe and differentiate, at multiple different levels, the bases of various learning and memory processes 3.) Appreciate the importance and complexities of such processes.

Students will:
•be able to describe and differentiate the various types of learning and memory and the brain regions that underlie these different processes.
•be able to express and evaluate their understanding of course materials through assignments and discussion.
•be able to describe how research in the field of learning and memory is performed.
•be able to discuss and evaluate empirical research in the field of learning and memory.
•be able to evaluate their own learning and understand how to improve their learning and memory in different settings.
•have an appreciation for the complexity and adaptive nature of different memory processes.

There are no prerequisites for this class. There will be a thorough overview of the psychological basis of learning and memory and the foundations of behavior that will allow students from different backgrounds and disciplines to gain the necessary familiarity with basic psychology and neuroscience concepts.