This journal will be a central component to our seminar and in addition to completing the requisite entries and comments I expect students to become habitual visitors to this site. In class we can use the content of individual journal entries to foster and enrich our discussions, to acknowledge different views, and to broaden our perspectives on a variety of matters. I encourage students read the class journal before classes and to incorporate ideas and information into the class discussion. Similarly, students may feature aspects of class discussions in their entries or comments.
This year the seminar will focus on psychological disorders. For each that we cover, we will examine the nature of the disorder itself as we prepare to tackle the ways in which psychology and neuroscience have contributed to and continue to contribute to our understanding of it. We will explore the historical context, progression of empirical research, current models and ongoing issues and questions. Our continuing objective will be to think about how psychology contributes to what neuroscientists can learn about the disorder and why neuroscience needs to be a substantive factor in how psychologists think about human psychopathology. We will critically evaluate published data and models. These will primarily be within the domain of behavioral neuroscience, but we will also draw on studies and ideas from other kinds of research in psychology and neuroscience where relevant or necessary.
Another key aspect to this course is to broaden our vision of these fields by considering how professionals and researchers tackle issues related to these disorders from different perspectives. I encourage students to regularly try to shift their focus on a topic by taking different perspectives in their thoughts, entries, comments, and class contributions.
To wrap up this short introductory entry I give you a short video featuring Robert Sapolsky.