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Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience is the study of higher cognitive functions in humans and their underlying neural bases. It is an integrative area of study drawing primarily from cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. There are two broad directions that can be taken in this concentration - one is behavioral/experimental and the other is computational/modeling. In both, the goal is to understand the nature of cognition from a neural perspective. The standard concentration for the Sc.B. degree requires courses on the foundations, systems level, and integrative aspects of cognitive neuroscience as well as laboratory and elective courses that fit within a particular theme or category such as general cognition, perception, language development or computational/modeling. Concentrators must also complete a senior seminar course or an independent research course. Students may also participate in the work of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, an interdisciplinary program that unites ninety faculty from eleven departments.

Standard Program for the AB degree (Effective Class of 2019)

The A.B. concentration requires 12 courses.  The Sc.B concentration additionally requires 1 laboratory course and 4 approved science courses, totaling to a total of 17 required courses. 

Common Core

The introductory course, “CLPS 0010 Mind, Brain, and Behavior,” surveys the broad territory of the scientific study of the mind, as uniquely represented by our department.  The course maps the breadth of the science of the mind, focusing on fascinating questions, garnered insights, common commitments, and successful techniques and approaches. The course could be taken by students interested in the CLPS concentrations or as an introduction at the beginning of one’s college career or as an integration after having completed a number of specialized courses in a particular concentration.

Careers in Cognitive Neuroscience and related fields requires familiarity with statistics.  Therefore, the Cognitive Neuroscience concentration requires a course in Quantitative Methods (CLPS 0900). CLPS 0900 is a prerequisite for most of the laboratory courses, so concentrators should plan to take this course by their fourth semester.  The department does not grant concentration credit of AP Statistics, regardless of score.  Students who feel that CLPS 0900 is too elementary can complete an approved alternative course (e.g., APMA 1650, CLPS 2906).

Foundation

To provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge in their area of concentration and to minimize redundancy, the Cognitive Neuroscience concentration requires four foundation courses in Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuropsychology, and Computational Methods. 

Electives

Each concentrator will take four additional courses that allow the student to go into depth in some of the relevant topics.  These electives must include at least two courses at the cognitive neuroscience systems level. The courses designed to count as electives will often have foundation courses as prerequisites and may include laboratory courses, content courses, or seminars. 

Research Methods and Capstone

Another element in the Cognitive Neuroscience concentration is a research methods course that builds on the introductory statistics course (which will be a prerequisite) but exposes students to a variety of topics in research of the mind: to empirical methods (e.g., surveys, chronometry, eye tracking, brain imaging), to common designs (e.g., factorial experimental, correlational, longitudinal), to research ethics, and to best practices of literature review.  Concentrators will additionally take either a seminar course or an independent research course to serve as their capstone experience.

Additional requirements for Sc.B.

In line with university expectations, the Sc.B. requirements include a greater number of courses and especially science courses. The definition of “science” is flexible.  A good number of these courses will be outside of CLPS, but several CLPS courses might fit into a coherent package as well.  In addition, the Sc.B. degree also requires a lab course to provide these students with in-depth exposure to research methods in a particular area of the science of the mind.  

Honors Requirement

The Research Methods course will serve as a requirement for admission to the Honors program in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology.  Previously, any lab course served as this requirement.  This practice not only demanded a large number of lab courses as part of the CLPS curriculum but also suffered from frequent mismatches between the type of research the student wished to pursue and the type of lab course available in the relevant semesters.  A more general research methods course is likely to prepare students better and more broadly than any single lab course can.

FOR DETAILED UPDATES, PLEASE REFER TO THE COGNITIVE, LINGUISTIC, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES (CLPS) UNDERGRADUATE PAGE.

Requirements for the A.B. degree

STANDARD PROGRAM FOR THE A.B. DEGREE 1
CLPS 0010Mind, Brain and Behavior1
CLPS 0900Statistical Methods1
One approved course in Cognitive Neuroscience, such as:1
CLPS 0400
Cognitive Neuroscience
CLPS 0450
Brain Damage and the Mind
One approved course in Neuroscience, such as:1
The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience
One approved course in Cognitive Neuropsychology, such as:1
CLPS 0450
Brain Damage and the Mind
Cognitive Neuropsychology
One approved course in Computational Methods, such as:1
CLPS 0950
Intro to Programming
Computational Methods for Mind, Brain and Behavior
Four Approved Electives, such as:4
Memory and the Brain
Mechanisms of Motivated Decision Making
Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Perceptual Learning
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Cognitive Neuroscience: Motor Learning
Higher Cortical Function
One Independent Study or Approved Seminar, such as:1
The Neural Bases of Cognition
Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
CLPS 1900Research Design and Methods1
Total Credits12

Requirements for the Sc.B. degree

STANDARD PROGRAM FOR THE Sc.B. DEGREE 1
CLPS 0010Mind, Brain and Behavior1
CLPS 0900Statistical Methods1
One approved course in Cognitive Neuroscience, such as:1
CLPS 0400
Cognitive Neuroscience
CLPS 0450
Brain Damage and the Mind
One approved course in Neuroscience:1
The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience
One approved course in in Cognitive Neuropsychology, such as:1
CLPS 0450
Brain Damage and the Mind
Cognitive Neuropsychology
One approved course in Computational Methods, such as:1
CLPS 0950
Intro to Programming
Computational Methods for Mind, Brain and Behavior
Four Approved Electives, such as:4
Memory and the Brain
Mechanisms of Motivated Decision Making
Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Perceptual Learning
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Cognitive Neuroscience: Motor Learning
Higher Cortical Function
One Independent Study or Approved Seminar, such as:1
The Neural Bases of Cognition
Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
CLPS 1900Research Design and Methods1
One Approved Laboratory Course, such as:1
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Practice
Auditory Perception Laboratory
Laboratory in Psycholinguistics
Four Approved Science Courses, such as:4
The Foundation of Living Systems
Principles of Physiology
Organic Chemistry
Computer Vision
CSCI1950F
Introduction to Machine Learning
Neuroengineering
Introductory Calculus, Part II
Neural Systems
Introduction to Neurogenetics
Basic Physics A
Total Credits17
1

For a complete list of approved courses, see the CLPS Cognitive Neuroscience page.