PSY/NEU338From Animal Learning to Changing People’s Minds (taught approximately every other year)

We take a modern, integrative view of animal learning phenomena from experimental psychology, analyzing them through the lens of computational models of reinforcement learning and current neuroscientific knowledge. The goal is to explore how theoretical concepts apply to every-day attempts to change people’s minds, and how computational modeling is a useful framework for understanding human behavior. To maximize learning and skill acquisition, the course includes group work and class presentations, and follows the ‘teaching without grades’ method, primarily motivated by progress towards your own goals, rather than by grades.

NEU/PSY443 & NEU543 – Computational Psychiatry (NEW!)

Computational psychiatry is an emerging field of research that strives to leverage recent discoveries in the computational basis of high-level cognitive functions in order to understand, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions. Psychiatry is the only field of medicine where there are currently no laboratory tests, due in part to a lack of understanding what is the biological basis of symptoms. Computational theories of the brain’s mechanisms for evaluation and decision may provide a foundation for such an understanding, and tasks measuring their function can offer objective measures. This seminar discusses recent findings in this field.

NEU/PSY510Mentoring Best Practices (NEW!)

A major component of many careers is mentoring trainees. Mentoring practices profoundly affect the well-being of a team, and consequently, its scientific productivity and success. While there is no magic formula, there are best practices for mentoring and for developing a reflective personal style. In this course, we discuss these and practice them weekly. Small groups meet for weekly facilitated discussions of what worked and what did not, and to help each other solve dilemmas encountered. We also practice self-mentoring through goal-setting and tracking. This course is aimed at advanced graduate students (year 3+) and postdocs. It is best taken when you are actively mentoring someone, however, this is not a pre-requisite.