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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2018-19

PSYC 179 Seminar in Special Topics

The Social Brain Hypothesis in 18F, Haxby

This seminar will examine the social brain hypothesis, which has two forms.  In the first version, the hypothesis proposes that the human brain is a social brain, optimized for processing information that is relevant for social cognition and interaction.  The second social brain hypothesis proposes that a specific set of brain structures is “the social brain” that is responsible for social information processing.

Computational Models of Cognition in 19W, Soltani

This course will explore various computational models used for studying cognition. This includes models of attention, decision making, reward-based and reinforcement learning, and working memory. The course will focus on both descriptive and mechanistic models and how these models are used to explain behavior, interpret neural activity, and reveal underlying neural mechanisms. We will emphasize circuit-level models that can provide testable predictions for future experiments in humans and other animals. Overall, the purpose is to introduce students to a broad class of recent computational models of cognitive processes.

Data Mining in 19S, Bharucha

How do we discover meaningful patterns in “big data”? We now have the computational capacity to collect and process troves of observational data at scales unimaginable until recently. Researchers and companies are seeking to understand patterns of behavior implicit in clicks on a website, digital sensors, digitized texts, or downloadable datasets. These data sets may include large numbers of variables that may or may not have been selected by the researcher and that may be interrelated in complex ways. Often the most meaningful information embedded in the data is not manifest by traditional statistical summaries, or the domain is not sufficiently well studied to suggest hypothesis to test. Techniques we will cover include visualization, association, classification, clustering, dimension reduction, statistical learning, neural nets. Students will program in R.
Recommend prerequisites are: PSYC 110 and PSYC 111.


Haxby, Soltani, Bharucha


18F, 19W, 19S: Arrange