I have taught several courses at Penn (descriptions below). If
you are a Penn student wishing to know when I will next be
offering one of these courses, please send me an e-mail!
A Course in Memory for the UPenn Pre-freshman Program
Last taught: Summer 2013
This 4-week course will examine an area of cognitive psychology that has special relevance for students: Memory. We will first discuss the various kinds of memory we have at our disposal, and how psychology researchers have discovered the differences between them. As we explore the nature of our memory systems, we will encounter methods used in the field of psychology, including behavioral studies, investigations involving neurological patients, and brain imaging techniques. We will discuss factors that have been found to influence learning, including sleep, emotion and aging.
Cognitive Neuroscience (Psych 149)
Last taught: Summer 2010
For fifty years cognitive psychologists have been investigating the many features and functions of the human mind. Using behavioral techniques and careful experimental design, these researchers have been exploring the impressive array of cognitive functions that we all take for granted. In parallel, the field of neuroscience has been building our knowledge of the human brain, from its lobe-organization down to the properties of receptors on cell membranes. Cognitive Neuroscience is at the intersection of these two disciplines. The field asks some of the toughest but most fascinating questions in all of science: how does the brain store our memories? Is our brain pre-prepared to learn language, and if so, how? Why is it that the average human can still outperform most face recognition software?
In this course we will explore these questions and many others. Cognitive Neuroscience is increasingly having an impact on all our lives, from the developing field of ‘mind reading’ with brain scanners to the growing potential of applying magnetic fields to change how our brain functions. By learning about the techniques used by cognitive neuroscientists and reading some of the studies first-hand, it is hoped that you will come away with a better understanding of the topics of the field and a greater appreciation of the science behind the headlines.