Behavioral Neuroscience

Learn the inner-workings of our senses through a series of experiments based on smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing.

Human behavior occurs at the intersection of neuroscience and social context. Understanding behavioral neuroscience informs our approaches to educating young children, designing medical interventions for patients with brain injuries, and implementing trauma-informed care for individuals in mental health crisis. In this course, examine the physical structures and psychological processes that explain why people do the things they do. Explore the system that controls the ways we think, feel, and act, and the biological process that influences what we see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. Explore how the brain interprets these senses and is affected by synthetic stimuli like opioids, narcotics, and barbiturates. Students will conduct experiments and determine how the brain processes light and color or executes kinesthetic movement. Study the cognitive process of knowledge acquisition and explore how the human brain creates and stores memories by testing the strength of memory recall and retrieval. Through career exploration and interactions with practicing professionals, students will investigate the various paths they can take to build a successful career related to behavioral neuroscience.

Who Should Take This Course?

This course is ideal for students with a passion for hands-on scientific exploration. Engage in a brain dissection to learn firsthand about the intricacies of the nervous system, gain a deeper understanding of neural activity, and observe medical professionals as they work with advanced technology in a clinical setting.

Advisors + Past Speakers

  • Dr. Marvin Chun, Dean of Yale College, and Professor of Psychology, Yale School of Medicine
  • Dr. Wei-Chung Allen Lee, Assistant Professor, Neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Marc Tetel, Neuroscience Professor + Program Director, Wellesley College
  • Baroness Susan Greenfield, Research Scientist, Oxford University, Lincoln College
  • Dr. Kit Yarrow, Consumer Psychologist + Author

Plan your summer


Course Highlights

  • Experimental Design with C. elegans

    Students design and test behavioral responses to stress in the model organism, C. elegans (nematode worm) and learn about the underlying neural mechanisms.

  • Dissection Labs

    Examine neural pathways and essential structures using a sheep brain and cow eye.

  • Research Laboratory and Medical Field Visit

    Meet with medical professionals, read and interpret CT and MRI brain scans, and view the inner workings and essential equipment in both research and clinical settings.

  • Field Applications

    Meet with professional practitioners in areas such as veteran’s affairs, medical clinics, and at-risk youth groups to get an in-depth look at how to move from the research phase to the practical applications of working with humans.

Behavioral Neuroscience was an awesome, interesting, and interactive course that taught me more about the brain than anything else so far. I really loved getting to learn about real-world experiences and connecting that to neuroscience concepts.

Advisors + Past Speakers

Dr. Marvin Chun

Dean of Yale College, and Professor of Psychology, Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Marvin Chun, Dean of Yale College, and the Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology, Dr. Chun leads a cognitive neuroscience laboratory at the Yale University School of Medicine. Also an award-winning professor, Chun’s undergraduate course Introduction to Psychology is one of the largest at Yale College and has been recognized many times. Chun has authored psychology textbooks, serves on several Boards, and acts as an advisor on the Nike Performance Council.

Dr. Wei-Chung Allen Lee

Assistant Professor, Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Wei-Chung Allen Lee is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School as well as a researcher at the Children’s Hospital Neurobiology Center. Having completed his post-bachelor work at both MIT and Harvard University, Lee received a fellowship from the National Eye Institute. His research is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative.

Dr. Marc Tetel

Neuroscience Professor + Program Director, Wellesley College

Dr. Marc Tetel is the Dorothy and Charles Jenkins, Jr. Distinguished Professor at Wellesley College. Tetel’s research areas include neuroendocrinology, estrogen and progestin action, and brain and behavior. Tetel directs the Neuroscience Department at Wellesley and teaches at all levels within the program.

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Research Scientist, Oxford University, Lincoln College

Susan Greenfield is a research scientist, author and broadcaster based in Oxford. She has held research fellowships in the Department of Physiology Oxford, the College de France Paris, and NYU Medical Center New York. She was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, has received the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement, Washington, the L’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, from the French Government and the Australian Medical Research Society Medal.

Dr. Kit Yarrow

Consumer Psychologist + Author

Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., is an award-winning consumer psychologist, a professor, author, consultant and speaker. Kit’s unique ability to apply clinical psychology to the field of behavioral economics has won her four endowed research professorships and recognition as the 2012 Outstanding Scholar of Golden Gate University. Kit has taught consumer behavior at leading universities around the world. Kit has authored various publications including her books, Decoding the New Consumer Mind and Gen BuY along with numerous articles in Time and Psychology Today. As a widely recognized authority on the psychology of consumers—and on the Millennial Generation in particular—Kit is regularly quoted in a variety of media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Good Morning America.