COOL CLASSES: “Revolutions in Neuroscience”

This survey of revolutionary developments in neuroscience included class visits by current leaders in the field and student trips to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to visit the most complex piece of brain art in the world.

Class name: Revolutions in Neuroscience

Taught by:  Assistant Professor of Psychology Laura Been and Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Mary Ellen Kelly

Here’s what Been had to say about their class:

The field of neuroscience is a multidisciplinary, dynamic field exploding with new discoveries and technological advancements. Every week there are new reports that further illuminate the workings of our brain and move us one step closer to a better understanding of human behavior. In designing this course, we wanted to ask, “With all this momentum moving forward, what can be gained by revisiting the past?”

To try to answer this question, we designed this course as a survey of revolutionary developments in the field of neuroscience that produced paradigm-shifts in our thinking of brain and behavior. The goal was not only to discuss the neuroscience underlying these revolutionary discoveries, but also to provide an historical and personal context to the science. We evaluated the environment that produced such insights and, with a new perspective, moved forward to the present day to discuss modern approaches and theorems.

Each section of the course culminated with a visit from a current leader in the field whose research continues to advance our understanding of the brain. The visiting researcher lead an in-class discussion about their research, and students also got to talk with the visitor about the path they took to get to their current position. In addition, two visitors gave a public research talk as part of the Distinguished Visitors lecture series.

Additionally, with generous funding from the Hurford Center for Arts and Humanities, students visited the Franklin Institute to see the Self Reflected installation. Created by artist and neuroscientist Greg Dunn and artist and applied physicist Brian Edwards, Self Reflected is the most complex piece of brain art in the world. Students took a #selfiewithselfreflected and blogged about their experience in the context of course themes.


See what other courses the Psychology Department is offering this semester.

 Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.