Undergraduates can explore different aspects of neuroscience and society in short, noncredit seminars scheduled throughout the academic year.

You can check back here or at the preceptorials website for detailed information as it becomes available, including course numbers and date/time.

Mind Wars: Neuroscience and Society

Description: This preceptorial will focus on Dr. Jonathan Moreno’s work on the ethical dilemmas and bizarre history of cutting-edge technology and neuroscience developed for military applications, with special reference to his book Mind Wars (2012). Dr. Moreno will discuss the innovative Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the role of the intelligence community and countless university science departments in preparing the military and intelligence services for the twenty-first century. He will also discuss mind control experiments, drugs that erase both fear and the need to sleep, microchip brain implants and advanced prosthetics, supersoldiers and robot armies.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Jonathan Moreno, Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor, David & Lyn Silfen University Professor, Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Professor of History & Sociology of Science, and of Philosophy

Date and Time: Tuesday, September 26, 4pm.

Brave Neuro World: How Will Neuroscience Change Life in the 21st Century?

Description: New developments in neuroscience are impacting society, from law to business to mental health. Learn about separating the science fiction silliness from the truly transformative science and technology! How can we analyze the risks and rewards of these developments and determine how they can be managed ethically?

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Martha Farah, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society

Date and Time: Saturday, August 26 (NSO Preceptorial).

Brainwashing, Insanity, and Duress: Excuse Defenses to Criminal Liability

Description: Explore nontraditional criminal defenses in the historical Eastern State Penitentiary. After a tour of the facility, Dr. Paul Robinson, one of the world’s leading criminal law scholars will discuss how excuse defenses such as brainwashing and coercive indoctrination or rotten social background can be used, and how they diverge from the classic doctrine. Transportation will be provided. Date and Time: Friday, February 12 – 12:30-4pm

Preceptorial Leader: Paul Robinson, Professor of Law
Preceptorial Organizer: Jane Xiao

Neuroscience in the Courtroom

Description: Modern neuro-imaging techniques allow us to look inside the brain to determine its structure and function. We will discuss ways in which an analysis of the structure and function of a criminal defendant’s brain can inform the court. We will debate what brain scans can show and what they cannot prove. We will review cases in which a defendant’s brain structure or function has been a factor in mitigating criminal responsibility and cases in which such evidence has not influenced trial outcome.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Susan Rushing, MD, JD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Preceptorial Organizer: Vicky Ro

Antidepressants and Society

Description: Antidepressant medications are among the most widely-used medical treatments in this country. They are given, very often by non-specialists, for a broad range of conditions, from dissatisfaction with life to problems with anxiety, to severe, chronic depression. What do we know about their effects, both short-term and long-term, in these various conditions? (The answer: surprisingly little.) What factors have led to their widespread use, what do we need to understand much better than we do now, and what, if anything, should we change about the way in which we use these medicines while we await more comprehensive information about their benefits and costs, in the broadest sense?

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Rob DeRubeis, Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences
Preceptorial Organizer: Vicky Ro

Mind Wars: Neuroscience and Society

Description: This preceptorial will focus on Dr. Jonathan Moreno’s work on the ethical dilemmas and bizarre history of cutting-edge technology and neuroscience developed for military applications, with special reference to his book Mind Wars (2012). Dr. Moreno will discuss the innovative Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the role of the intelligence community and countless university science departments in preparing the military and intelligence services for the twenty-first century. He will also discuss mind control experiments, drugs that erase both fear and the need to sleep, microchip brain implants and advanced prosthetics, supersoldiers and robot armies.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Jonathan Moreno, Professor of History and Sociology of Science, Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Professor of Philosophy
Preceptorial Organizer: Melissa Lee

The singularity: what if computers achieve superhuman intelligence?

Description: Computers will soon have more raw computing power and memory than human brains, and many scientists believe that computers will, in your lifetime, be vastly smarter in all ways than any human. (Many other scientists believe this is ridiculous.) The rapid transition from humans to computers as the dominant intelligence on earth has been called “the singularity.” We will talk about what intelligence is (not just human, but any intelligence), about predictions of when and how the singularity might happen, and about what effect it might have on humanity.

Preceptorial Leader: Professor Lyle Ungar, Computer and Information Science
Preceptorial Organizer: Andrea Yeh

Are 6 hours really enough? The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive Performance and Health

Description: Modern industrialized societies require more people to be awake more of the time, but sufficient sleep is needed to prepare the brain for the next wake period and guarantee high levels of cognitive performance. Why do humans often ignore the biological imperatives of sleep? What are the consequences to health and safety of ignoring it? What do we know about the dynamics of sleep need, and how sleep loss tricks the brain into believing it alert? This preceptorial reviews the causes and consequences of sleep loss in industrialized societies, an some technology developments designed to prevent the risks posed by sleep loss.

Preceptorial Leader: Associate Professor Mathias Basner, Associate Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology in Psychiatry
Preceptorial Organizer: Annie Li
Date and Time: November 18, 6-7 pm

The Neuroscience of Making a Decision

Description: We are all victims or benefactors of our own and others’ decision-making. So how do people make decisions, and what are the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying these decisions? In this preceptorial, you will learn about the neural mechanisms underlying decision making and how these might differ across people.

Preceptorial Leader: Associate Professor Joseph W. Kable, Baird Term Associate Professor of Psychology
Preceptorial Organizer: Annie Li
Date and Time: October 28, 6-7 pm

Music and the Brain

Description: TBD

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Michael Kaplan, Laboratory Instructor, BBB Program
Preceptorial Organizer: Sarita Jamil

The Biology of Beauty

Description: Join Dr. Chatterjee as he talks about the nature of beauty and what we know about its biological basis from psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, Center for Neuroscience and Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

Visual Desensitization

Description: This preceptorial introduces the concept of dissonance and distance between images and the viewer. Our world is heavily saturated by images — more images than our brain has the capacity to carefully interrogate or read. Thus, a surface-level interpretation of photographs across a variety of context becomes normative within modern and developed societies. This tendency towards the interpretative shorthand does not accommodate mutually across the varied contexts that images come in and it is often at the face of overwhelming abundance that a desensitized attitude emerges in response. Among the contexts where visual desensitization will be analyzed more in-depthly the relationship between humanitarian media and indifference, as well as the dissonance felt between virtual life observed and one’s perception of reality.

Preceptorial Leader: Dyana Wing So, C’15
Preceptorial Organizer: Charity Migwi
Date and Time: TBD

The Biology of Beauty

Description: Join Dr. Chatterjee as he talks about the nature of beauty and what we know about its biological basis from psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, Center for Neuroscience and Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

A Spoonful of Delicious Neuroeconomics

Description: What happens when you combine psychology, economics and neuroscience? Taste the convergence with cups of gelato as Professor Kable discusses neural currency.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Joseph Kable, Center for Neuroscience and Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

Are Six Hours Really Enough? The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive Performance and Health

Description: Modern industrialized societies require more people to be awake more of the time, but sufficient sleep is needed to prepare the brain for the next wake period and guarantee high levels of cognitive performance. Why do humans often ignore the biological imperatives of sleep? What are the consequences to health and safety of ignoring it? What do we know about the dynamics of sleep need, and how sleep loss tricks the brain into believing it alert? This preceptorial reviews the causes and consequences of sleep loss in industrialized societies, an some technology developments designed to prevent the risks posed by sleep loss.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Mathias Basner
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

Mind Wars

Description: This preceptorial will focus on Moreno’s work on the ethical and policy issues raised by the military implications of neuroscience, with special reference to his book Mind Wars (2012). He will conclude with some remarks about his new book, Impromptu Man (2014), which includes a review of the way his father’s pioneering ideas about group dynamics and improvisation were used by the US and UK in World War II.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Jonathan Moreno
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

PREC 707.001 Can You Do the Brain Wave?

Description: Not only is dance an artform, but it is now a part of the new wave of music/dance-neuroscience integrative research! How does the brain simplify complex dance moves, learn motor movements, and follow rhythm in dance, particularly pole dancing? Join Penn Neuroscience Society on the pole of discovery!

Preceptorial Leader: Penn Neuroscience Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Sibel Ozcelik
Date and Time: TBD

PREC 717.001 Shake Your Neuron Like a Belly Dancer!

Description: A beautiful performance can move you to tears, but can it trigger much more? Can it mirror behavior? Come belly dance, experience dance/movement theraphy and learn about mirror neurons with Penn Neuroscience Society!

Preceptorial Leader: Penn Neuroscience Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Sibel Ozcelik
Date and Time: TBD

PREC 608.001 Meditation and the Brain: Science and Experience

Description: Meditation and mindfulness practices have been associated with a wide range of mental and physical benefits including increased social connectedness, cognitive flexibility, emotion regulation, and immune function. The practices have also been shown to buffer against the adverse effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. What does neuroscience have to tell us about meditation and the brain? What is mindfulness? We will discuss the growing body of research on this topic, followed by a short, guided session of mindfulness meditation.

Preceptorial Leader: Ms. Denise Clegg, Managing Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

PREC 609.001 Antidepressants and Society

Description: Antidepressant medications are among the most widely-used medical treatments in this country. They are given, very often by non-specialists, for a broad range of conditions, from dissatisfaction with life to problems with anxiety, to severe, chronic depression. What do we know about their effects, both short term and long-term, in these various conditions? (Surprisingly little.) What factors have led to their widespread use, what do we need to understand much better than we do now, and what, if anything, should we change about the way in which we use these medicines, while we await more comprehensive information about their benefits and costs, in the broadest sense?

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Robert DeRubeis, Professor and Chair of Psychology Department
Preceptorial Organizer: Veena Krish

PREC 611.001 Music and the Brain: Part 1

**For students who have NOT taken the “Music and the Brain” preceptorial in the past (Fall 2009, Spring 2010, NSO 2011, and Fall 2011) or heard Dr. Kaplan’s music cognition lecture in BIBB 109.**

Description: Though not strictly necessary for survival, music is a part of every known human culture. Parallels between musical systems and practices in many and far-flung cultures point to a biological origin in the brain. An introduction to the study of music as a biological phenomenon, this lecture looks at topics including the biological basis of consonance and dissonance, perfect pitch, and the relation of music and language.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Michael Kaplan, Laboratory Instructor, Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) Program
Preceptorial Organizer: Amalya Lehmann

If you have any questions about this preceptorial, please contact the preceptorial organizer listed and not the professor. Thank you.

PREC 612.001 Music and the Brain: Part 2

**For students who have taken the “Music and the Brain” preceptorial in the past (Fall 2009, Spring 2010, NSO 201, Fall 2011, and Spring 2012) or heard Dr. Kaplan’s music cognition lecture in BIBB 109 only.**

Description: Intended as a follow up to Dr. Kaplan’s introductory lecture on music as a biological phenomena, this lecture expands upon some of the topics from Part 1 and also moves into new topics including rhythm, music and emotion, and how music training changes the brain.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Michael Kaplan, Laboratory Instructor, Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) Program
Preceptorial Organizer: Amalya Lehmann

If you have any questions about this preceptorial, please contact the preceptorial organizer listed and not the professor. Thank you.

PREC 619.001 The Singularity: What if computers achieve superhuman intelligence?

Description: Computers will soon have more raw computing power and memory than human brains, and many scientists believe that computers will, in your lifetime, be vastly smarter in all ways than any human. (Many other scientists believe this is ridiculous.) The rapid transition from humans to computers as the dominant source of intelligence has been called “the singularity.” We will talk about what intelligence is (not just human, but any intelligence) about predictions of when and how the singularity might happen, and about what effect it might have on humanity.

Preceptorial Leader: Professor Lyle Ungar, Associate Professor of:(SEAS): Computer and Information Science, Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Electrical and Systems Engineering,(Whorton): Operations and Information Management, (School of Medicine): Genomics and Computational Biology
Preceptorial Organizer: Darren Yin

PREC 628.001 A Boxing Brain

Description: A great boxer, Muhammad Ali once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” but what does that actually mean? How can you actually do those two actions at the same time? Or any action for that matter? The Penn Undergraduate Neuroscience Society will explain how the brain controls movement and discuss current research with the help of some of Penn Medical School’s graduate students. During session two, we’ll head downtown to see theory put to action, literally, as we learn kickboxing at Brazen Boxing & MMA. Get ready to train your mind and your body!

Preceptorial Leader: Mr. Dara Bakar, Penn Neuroscience
Preceptorial Organizer: Sibel Ozcelik

A Spoonful of Delicious Neuroeconomics

Description: What happens when you combine psychology, economics and neuroscience? Taste the convergence with cups of gelato as the Penn Undergraduate Neuroscience Society and Professor Joseph Kable discuss the neural currency.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Joseph Kable, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Preceptorial Organizer: Ankur Roy

More Than Just Those Eight Hours: Time Use, Sleep Loss, and Performance

Description: Modern industrialized societies require more people to be awake more of the time, but sufficient sleep is needed to prepare the brain for the next wake period and guarantee high levels of cognitive performance. Why do humans often ignore the biological imperatives of sleep? What are the consequences to health and safety of ignoring it? What do we know about the dynamics of sleep need, and how sleep loss tricks the brain into believing it alert? This preceptorial reviews the causes and consequences of sleep loss in industrialized societies, an some technology developments designed to prevent the risks posed by sleep loss.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Mathias Basner, Professor of Psychology
Preceptorial Organizer: Ankur Roy

Music and the Brain: Part 1

**For students who have NOT taken the “Music and the Brain” preceptorial in the past (Fall 2009, Spring 2010, NSO 2011, Fall 2011, or Spring 2012) or heard Dr. Kaplan’s music cognition lecture in BIBB 109.**

Description: Though not strictly necessary for survival, music is a part of every known human culture. Parallels between musical systems and practices in many and far-flung cultures point to a biological origin in the brain. An introduction to the study of music as a biological phenomenon, this lecture looks at topics including the biological basis of consonance and dissonance, perfect pitch, and the relation of music and language.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Michael Kaplan, Laboratory Instructor, Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) Program
Preceptorial Organizer: Amalya Lehman

Music and the Brain: Part 2

**For students who have taken the “Music and the Brain” preceptorial in the past (Fall 2009, Spring 2010, NSO 201, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, and NSO 2012) or heard Dr. Kaplan’s music cognition lecture in BIBB 109 only.**

Description: Intended as a follow up to Dr. Kaplan’s introductory lecture on music as a biological phenomena, this lecture expands upon some of the topics from Part 1 and also moves into new topics including rhythm, music and emotion, and how music training changes the brain.

Preceptorial Leader: Dr. Michael Kaplan, Laboratory Instructor, Biological Basis of Behavior (BBB) Program
Preceptorial Organizer: Amalya Lehman

Meditation and the Brain: Science and Experience

Description: Meditation and mindfulness practices have been associated with a wide range of mental and physical benefits including increased social connectedness, cognitive flexibility, emotion regulation, and immune function. The practices have also been shown to buffer against the adverse effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. What does neuroscience have to tell us about meditation and the brain? What is mindfulness? We will discuss the growing body of research on this topic, followed by a short, guided session of mindfulness meditation.

Preceptorial Leader: Denise Clegg, MAPP, Managing Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society

To sign up, go to http://preceptorials.org/newsiteindex.html.