This course will analyze and evaluate through a psychological lens the psychosocial causes and consequences of significant current events that impact different Asian groups in the U.S., such as pandemic-spurred anti-Asian sentiment and educational policy (e.g., the debate over magnet schools moving to lottery systems rather than test based), as well as long-standing "everyday" experiences common to Asian Americans (e.g., navigating biculturalism, microaggressions and model minority stereotypes) that may impact identity and mental health.
Plasticity refers to the nervous system's ability to change its structure and function in response to intrinsic or extrinsic influences. Plasticity is necessary for healthy brain development and is an important player in brain damage and disease, as too little or too much can underlie the inability of the brain to effectively repair itself. This course will consider recent research into these topics exploring molecular, cellular and circuit-level mechanisms of synaptic and structural plasticity during development and adulthood, under conditions of health as well as damage and disease.
Understanding how people believe and how what they believe impacts their behavior has recently become a central topic across the social sciences. This recent interest was spurred by the recent misinformation epidemic that has been consuming our communities. How do people change their beliefs? What factors facilitate the endorsement of conspiracy theories? How do people influence each other's beliefs during communication? How do beliefs propagate through social networks? As part of this course, we will explore a multidisciplinary framework to understand the endorsement and propagation of true and false beliefs through social networks.
An overview and examination of the cognitive science of human values and applications to contemporary global challenges. Interdisciplinary course highlighting research from cognitive neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, data science, and public health. Topics include utility and value, reinforcement learning, risky decision making, time preferences and self-control, social decision making, and applications to pandemics, polarization, technology, and the climate crisis.
Cyborgs are created when biological brains are enhanced with technology. This course will explore a wide range of mind-machine interactions. Are search engines changing the structure of human memory? Is your laptop or smartphone part of your mind? Are human brains flexible enough to update motor and sensory systems, expanding the self to include artificial limbs, exoskeletons, remote-control devices, night vision, wearable computing, etc.? How do experiences in virtual reality impact psychology? As technology advances we are all becoming cyborgs. Now is an exciting time to study the interactive interface of technology and mind.