Courses in Psychology

Graduate Course Offerings

Fall Semester

PSYCHOLOGY 553: Comparative Perception, Cognition and Learning
Wed 11:30 – 2:15

Maximum Enrollment: 15. (Permission required prior to enrollment)

Content: This course is an introduction to perception and cognitive neuroscience from the perspectives of psychobiology, comparative cognition, and comparative neuroscience. Areas to be addressed include mechanisms of sensation, object perception, memory, neural plasticity, multimodal integration, spatial cognition, awareness and arousal states, and their development. Primary emphasis will be placed on behavioral, neurophysiological, anatomical, and molecular approaches to the study of nonhuman animals, but work from the human literature will also be used to provide an integrated treatment. Implications for the modularity and evolution of brain systems will also be stressed. The course is intended to be suitable for students in related graduate programs and honors undergraduates as well as NAB students.

 Texts: Readings will consist of selected book chapters and journal articles. Grades will be based on written take-home assignments, in-class presentations, and participation in discussion.

Particulars: Lecture and discussion format.

Spring Semester

PSYCHOLOGY 770R: Advanced Imaging Practicum
Berns, Tues 5:00-7:30, PAIS 393

Content: Prior coursework in neuroimaging, especially fMRI, and consent of instructor. This practicum will assume you already know the basics of how fMRI works, how to design a behavioral experiment, and how to do univariate statistics. Because you will be working in the FERN MRI environment, you will also need to have completed safety training. Details and SOPs can be found on the website at

Particulars: This course will provide a comprehensive and practical introduction to the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Students will learn and apply the basic physics underlying MRI, the biological principles of fMRI, the principles of experimental design, the processing steps associated with data analysis, and the use of available software packages. Each week¿s session will be composed of a lecture and laboratory. Where possible, the laboratory topics will be flexible so that students with more experience can explore the issues covered in more detail. Students will design and conduct their own fMRI study.

Come prepared to each class. The strength of the class depends on everyone coming prepared and actively participating. You may work either individually or in pairs. The graded requirements will be based on completion of five modules:
1. Definition of the cognitive task.
2. Task design.
3. Task implementation.
4. Data collection.
5. Analysis.

Grading: If you complete all the modules, you pass!

Textbook: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 3rd Edition by Huettel, Song, and McCarthy, Sinauer Publishing, 2014.

IRB: You will be collecting data in human subjects. If you want to use these data in a paper or grant application, you must have IRB approval before studying any subjects.