Psychology

Mind and Brain: Milestones and Misconceptions **FULL**

Deborah Hannula, Associate Professor

Course: Psych 193, Sem 001
Class Number: 23579
Credits: 3 SS
Time: MW 11:00 – 12:15
Place: NWQ Building D 1975

Course Description

In this course we will navigate the science of mind, exploring major milestones and misconceptions about cognition and the brain. Special emphasis will be placed on claims that have been made about the effectiveness of commercially available cognitive training tools and coverage of cognitive neuroscience investigations in the media. Students will conduct experiments that examine the limitations of attentional control as well as factors that impact the reliability of memory (e.g., why might Brian Williams have misremembered his experiences in Iraq). As a class, we will analyze the data from these experiments and engage in active dialogue about potential explanations for reported outcomes. Finally, because it’s never too soon to look ahead, professional issues will take top-billing – we’ll hear, for example, about how advanced degrees in psychology translate into real-world opportunities (from collaborations with videogame companies to evaluation of potential problems associated with increasingly sophisticated, and potentially distracting, in-vehicle displays).

Work Involved

  • Class Participation – 20%
  • Twice-Monthly Assignments – 30%
  • Papers and Presentations – 40%
  • Other – 10%

About the Instructor

Professor Hannula received her PhD in Brain and Cognition (a division of the Psychology Department) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She uses converging research methods to address questions about how memory and attention are supported by the brain. Her research combines eye tracking, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and neuropsychological methods (e.g., studies conducted with amnesic patients, individuals diagnosed with Schizophrenia) to address fundamental questions about the neural substrates of memory and memory-attention interactions. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award, which is meant to foster innovative research, teaching, and community outreach. She is a dedicated instructor, and is especially excited about this opportunity to interact with a small group of incoming students. For more information about Dr. Hannula and the on-going research activities in her lab, please visit our website: https://sites.google.com/site/mindfulofmemorylab/research