Exploring the Mind


Exploring the Mind introduces students to the multifaceted study of the mind. We take a broad view of the disciplines that contribute to our understanding, and these include, among others, cognitive neuroscience, cultural anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, primatology, and psychology. The courses in this cluster will address such questions as: the nature of minds and mental phenomena; the connection between perception, language, cognition, and the world; how the brain has evolved and how the mind develops through one’s life; and how both brain mechanisms and language contribute to our understanding of human experience, consciousness, and the self. This cluster will appeal to anyone curious about understanding how the mind/brain works to produce sensation, perception, thought, emotion, consciousness, and language and how advances in these domains have found practical applications in fields such as robotics.


The Mind and Language (SS)

Julie Tetel Andresen, Professor of English and Linguistics

Explores how traditional and new models of language interpret the capacity for language in its relationship to the neurosciences, the cognitive sciences, and the social sciences.  For Focus Program students only. 

Seminar:  Neurosci 153FS/PUBPOL185FS

Drugs and the Law (SS, NS)

Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical Psychology  

This course will explore the relationship between addictive drugs and the law.  We will begin by briefly examining the mechanisms by which drugs of abuse affect the brain and decision-making on the individual level, and then we will examine the consequences of those effects on the societal level.  Finally, we will examine how society responds to these behaviors in terms of attitudes and laws.  We will compare the perspectives of the criminal justice system with that of drug users.  The class will consist of lectures, discussions, guest speakers, and media presentations and a project examining cross-generational views on drug use, abuse, and laws.  

Seminar:  Neurobiology 193FS.01/Psychology193FS.01/Neuroscience 193FS.01

Neurobiology of the Mind (NS)

William C. Hall, Professor of Neurobiology

No textbooks or lectures in this seminar.  The course is taught by the Socratic Method.  The students read original papers authored by famous neuroscientists and then discuss and answer questions about the papers in class.  The papers are concerned with four topics: how information from our sense of organs instructs the centers in the brain that organize and initiate behavior, the cellular and molecular basis of learning and memory, how nerve cells form their proper connections during the development of the brain and, finally, why nerve cells fail to regenerate and reestablish connections that are severed by brain disease or injury.

Seminar:  NEUROSCI 155FS/PSY 155S

Vision (NS, W)

Dale Purves, George Barth Geller Professor of Neurobiology

Course will explore the remarkable phenomenology of visual perception and its neural basis.  Seminar format.  Some background in neuroscience is desirable. 

    • tetel julie

Faculty Director

Julie Tetel Andresen, Ph.D.

Professor of English and Linguistics +1 919 681 7610(tel)