Brain, Behavior, and Human Well-Being
Senior Seminar in Neural and Behavioral Sciences
Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges
"research on the brain, like nuclear physics and molecular genetics, creates both opportunities and risks for humanity sufficiently great so that special attention needs to be paid to them, both by researchers and by the public at large"
In this course, we will explore some of the opportunities and risks being opened up by past, ongoing, and anticipated research in the neural and behavioral sciences, in ways that make such explorations accessible to broader and continuing engagement by the public at large. Web materials providing access to relevant observations and perspectives will be prepared and posted on selected topics, and a public on-line forum will be used for continuing discussions of these topics.
Likely take off points for these discussions include
- Autism gene findings raise questions, hype (Wired Science, 10 Jan 2008)
- A conversation with Scott E. Page: In professor's model, diversity = productivity (NYTimes, 8 Jan 2008)
- What makes us want to be good? (NYTimes Magazine, 13 Jan 08)
- Advances in Neuroscience: Decision Making (Science, 26 October 2007)
- Social Cognition (Science, 7 September 2007)
- Culture as disability (Serendip)
- Brain and education (Serendip)
- Brain and mental health (Serendip)
- My Cortex Made Me Buy It (NYTimes, 9 Feb 2008)
- The First Ache (NYTimes Magazine, 10 Feb 2008)
- From Mirror Neurons to Moral Neuropolitics (Gary Olson, PoliSci, Moravian)
- Pain as an Art Form (NYTimes, 22 April 2008)
In addition to active participation in class and on-line forum discussions, students will be expected to prepare web materials for and lead one of the class discussions. Web materials should provide appropriate background on a relevant topic, clearly develop a novel and useful synthesis in this area, and provide directions and resources for further exploration. These materials should reflect the perspectives, skills, and critical abilities acquired during one's studies but be presented in a way that is accessible to and engaging for a general audience.
- Course home page: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/courses/NBSseminar/s08
- Course on-line forum area