NSCI3505W: Mind and Brain

4 CreditsEnvironmentWriting Intensive

This course is intended as an introduction to the new views on the relationship between mind and brain. Over the last several decades, a new view of cognition and neural processing has been developed based on the concepts of al¬gorithm, representation, computation, and information processing. Within this theoretical frame¬work, psychological constructs are computational processes occur¬ring across physical neural systems. We will take a neuroscience and psychological perspective in which the physical neuroscience instantiates but does not diminish the psychological constructs. Although our conceptual framework will be computational, this course will not require or expect any mathematical or computer background. At the completion of this class, you will understand the implications of the physical nature of the brain – how mentation is explicable from physical processes, and how decision-making arises from those same physical processes. Importantly, you will also understand the limitations of current knowledge and the methodologies being used to push those limitations. This class is not intended as a final step in this understanding, but as a first step into these issues. At the conclusion of the class, you should have sufficient understanding to continue more in-depth reading and study in these issues. There are no official prerequisites. However, I have found that students who have EITHER a strong computational background (computer science, mathematics, economics, physics) OR have taken an introductory neuroscience course (e.g. Nsci 2100) have done better in the class than students with no background. However, I have seen students come in with very little background and do well in the class if they engage with the class and work hard.

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B+ Average (3.398)Most Common: A (41%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

187 students

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