O objetivo deste trabalho foi delinear uma proposta possível de síntese entre análise do comportamento e neurociências a partir do exame de seus fundamentos teóricofilosóficos. Para tanto, o primeiro passo da pesquisa consistiu na análise do posicionamento de Skinner acerca das explicações fisiológicas do comportamento. Essa análise foi realizada tendo em vista quatro questões centrais: (a) Quais são os argumentos apresentados pelo autor para justificar a autonomia da análise do comportamento perante as neurociências? (b) Quais são as suas críticas às explicações fisiológicas? (c) Quais são os interlocutores de Skinner em suas críticas? (d) Qual é, para Skinner, a real função das neurociências na explicação do comportamento? Após a realização desse estágio, procedemos à análise dos fundamentos teórico-filosóficos das neurociências, que teve como fio condutor duas metateorias presentes na área: a metateoria cognitivista, normalmente associada à neurociência cognitiva, e a metateoria mecanicista, ligada às neurociências celular e molecular. Concluímos que, ao contrário da metateoria cognitivista, que é plenamente incompatível com o behaviorismo radical, a metateoria mecanicista apresenta estratégias de pesquisa semelhantes às da análise do comportamento. Por fim...
The Northeast Under/graduate Organization for Neuroscience (N.E.U.R.O.N.) was established in 1996 to provide a forum for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in neuroscience to interact with each other. N.E.U.R.O.N. organizes a yearly one-day conference in the Northeast. While scientific meetings exist that serve the purpose of enhancing undergraduate research or neuroscience research, N.E.U.R.O.N. is unique in that it is a small, local conference, aimed specifically at undergraduates looking to pursue careers in neuroscience. During the conference, participants attend workshops, poster sessions, and a keynote address that provide them with information about current topics in neuroscience. Trainees gain valuable experience presenting scientific research in poster sessions and make connections with colleagues.
We have recently planned and taught an advanced undergraduate seminar at our respective institutions that uses a unique mechanism to explore topics that are on the cutting edge of neuroscience. The course material is centered on the topics of presentations scheduled for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held each fall. The instructor and students (∼15) select several topics that are the subject of special lectures, panels, and keynote addresses included in the Program for the Annual Meeting. Each week the class reads and discusses several articles on the topic of one of the lectures, panels or addresses. By the time the Annual Meeting is held, the class is intimately familiar with the content of the planned presentations. The class then travels to the Annual Meeting and attends these presentations along with events of personal interest and keeps a journal of what they learn. Upon returning from the Annual Meeting, the students discuss the assigned presentations and also prepare and deliver their own presentation on a neuroscience topic of personal interest using information obtained at the meeting. Students also prepare an in-depth final paper on their presentation topic in the form of a Current Opinions in Neurobiology review article. The outcomes for the students are many fold: Students explore topics on the cutting edge of neuroscience through the review of primary literature and experience a major scientific conference first hand...
Paralleling the explosive growth of neuroscientific knowledge over the last two decades, numerous institutions from liberal arts colleges to research universities have either implemented or begun exploring the possibility of implementing undergraduate programs in neuroscience. In 1995, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) partnered with Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) to offer a workshop exploring how undergraduate neuroscience education should proceed. Four blueprints were created to provide direction to the burgeoning interest in developing programs in undergraduate neuroscience education: 1) Neuroscience nested in psychology; 2) Neuroscience nested in biology; 3) Neuroscience as a minor; and 4) Neuroscience as a major. In 2005, FUN again partnered with PKAL to revisit the blueprints in order to align the blueprints with modern pedagogical philosophy and technology. The original four blueprints were modified and updated. One particularly exciting outgrowth of the 2005 workshop was the introduction of a fifth curricular blueprint that strongly emphasizes the integration of the humanities and social sciences into neuroscience: Neuroscience Studies. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience, an education in neuroscience will prepare the next generation of students to think critically...
Laboratory core courses in neuroscience at small liberal arts colleges are few in number and thus under great pressure to offer active laboratory explorations of a wide range of topics. Furthermore, traditional lab activities require substantial resources in terms of space, time, equipment and organization, further limiting the extent to which a school can provide students with important interactive neuroscience experiences in the classroom. Previous work has shown that interactive computer simulations can successfully replace more traditional lab activities in an introductory neuroscience laboratory (Bish and Schleidt, 2008). The present work shows that similar activities can also enhance the learning experience in a midsize, non-laboratory Sensation & Perception (S&P) course. While this course is considered a supporting or elective, rather than a core course in most neuroscience programs, its subject matter lends itself to the in-depth exploration of several key topics in cognitive neuroscience. The success of using computer-based neuroscience activities in a class like S&P might thus point to effective ways in which to distribute the interactive exploration of some neuroscience topics to supporting courses in the curriculum, thereby easing the pressure on the few core laboratory courses to cover all aspects of the field.
The Northeast Under/Graduate Research Organization for Neuroscience (NEURON) was established 12 years ago in order to foster the training, education, and research of both undergraduate and graduate neuroscience students. NEURON hosts two annual conferences (Boston in the fall; New York City in the spring) to promote and support neuroscience training, education, and research. For 12 years, the organization has promoted neuroscience by exposing neuroscience trainees to research and educational perspectives (Edinger et al., 2004, 2005; Frye and Edinger, 2004; Goyette et al., 2008; Rhodes et al., 2006, 2007, 2008). Conferences are supported by an NIH R13 grant, and serve as a valuable experience for both students and mentors with a passion for neuroscience. This paper describes the proceedings of the fall 2007 meeting at Northeastern University.
A survey was presented to members of the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) to get a better idea of how neuroscience research and education is being delivered at the undergraduate level. A total of 155 individuals completed the survey, with 118 coming from faculty at traditional PUIs (primarily undergraduate institutions) and 37 from faculty at doctoral-granting institutions. The survey covered a number of different areas; including types of neuroscience programs, number of neuroscience faculty at the institution, average course loads, average number of research students, and external support for research. Results from this survey indicate that the structure of neuroscience programs vary among institutions. Course loads for faculty at PUIs averaged four to six courses per year and the total number of undergraduate students supervised in research per faculty member averaged five (± 2.8) students per year. Faculty show high success with external funding, both at PUIs and research universities. Faculty ranked FUN programs devoted to supporting both students and faculty development highly. The results of this survey provide data that can be used to determine future directions and priorities for FUN.
Social neuroscience is a relatively new multidisciplinary field which merges the more reductionistic approaches of neuroscience with the more molar perspectives of social psychology. In this article we report the joint efforts of the authors to develop an effective team-taught course in social neuroscience at the undergraduate level. We review our experiences in developing this course, detail many of the sources currently available for social neuroscience, and provide the results of a detailed student survey of the course. In addition to providing a foundation for others interested in developing a social neuroscience course, it is our opinion that many of the experiences we describe here are applicable to any novel multidisciplinary team teaching endeavor, especially those merging psychological disciplines with neuroscience.
Despite an apparent increase in undergraduate neuroscience programs offered by colleges and universities, there has been little effort to document this growth. In the present report we describe our analysis of the expansion of undergraduate neuroscience programs of study over more than 20 years and detail a number of institutional characteristics of colleges and universities that offer undergraduate neuroscience programs. These data reveal more than 100 institutions with undergraduate neuroscience programs as well as over 2000 college graduates that majored in neuroscience in 2008–2009. Understanding the current number as well as growth trends of undergraduate neuroscience programs found in U.S. colleges and universities has implications for neuroscience educators as well as for the funding of neuroscience research and educational activities.
In response to the Society for Neuroscience initiative to help improve the neuroscience related content in Wikipedia, I implemented Wikipedia article construction and revision in my Introduction to Neuroscience course at Boston College as a writing intensive and neuroscience related outreach activity. My students worked in small groups to revise neuroscience “stubs” of their choice, many of which had little or no useful content. The exercise resulted in the successful development of well-written Wikipedia neuroscience articles, and was received well by my students, receiving positive marks in our course evaluations. Much of the student guidance and assessment was done by student peer groups as well as other Wikipedia editors outside of our course, reducing the instructor involvement to below that of a typical term paper.
Neuroscience is an intrinsically interdisciplinary (ID) field yet little has been published regarding assessment of ID learning in undergraduate neuroscience students. This study attempted to empirically assess the development of an interdisciplinary perspective in 25 undergraduate neuroscience students in a neuroscience program core course. Data were collected using two simple assessment instruments: 1) written responses to the open-ended question “What is neuroscience?” and 2) a term-discipline relevance survey in which students indicated all disciplinary perspectives to which terms (such as electrode, taste, dx/dt) were relevant. Comparison of student responses early in the course (week 1 or 5) and at the end of the course (week 15) showed evidence of development of an interdisciplinary perspective, with students using significantly more integrative terms in their responses and demonstrating an increased awareness of the complexity of the field of neuroscience.
The successful model of the Neuroscience Program at Concordia College is used as a source of illustrative examples in a presentation of strategies to foster synergy between neuroscience programs and chemistry departments. Chemistry is an increasing voice in the dialog of modern neuroscience. To be well-prepared to engage in this dialog, students must have strong chemistry training and be comfortable applying it to situations in neuroscience. The strategies presented here are designed to stimulate thought and discussion in the undergraduate neuroscience education community. Hopefully this will lead to greater interaction between chemistry and neuroscience at the undergraduate level in other institutions.
To determine whether participation in a neuroscience course reduced neuroscience anxiety, a modified version of the Science Anxiety Scale was administered to students at the beginning and end of an introductory course. Neuroscience anxiety scores were significantly reduced at the end of the course and correlated with higher final grades. Reduced neuroscience anxiety did not correlate with reduced science anxiety, suggesting that neuroscience anxiety is a distinct subtype of anxiety.
The interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience makes it one of the most fascinating and complex subjects to address in the classroom. This can be compounded, however, by the addition of theology or a faith-related context at a religious institution (RI). The addition of theology and faith can enrich student appreciation and understanding of neuroscience and stimulate discussion in the classroom. This provides a practical way to make the course content relevant to students who may see neuroscience as antagonistic towards their faith. Over the past century questions of human experience and personhood that were long held to be under the authority of religion now can be addressed from findings in neuroscience. While there has been debate on a variety of topics which range from positions on origins to ethical questions about the nature of research (i.e. stem cells, cloning), it is important that teaching faculty at RIs be prepared to deal with the hard questions faced by students of faith. Recommendations for faculty are given including: self assessment of personal position on matters of faith and science, framing a number of models for the integration of neuroscience and theology, ‘Worldviews’, and mentoring students who are struggling with reconciling their faith with neuroscience. While this paper is designed for teachers at RIs...
This article investigates how neuroscience in general, and neuroscience of creativity in particular, can be used in teaching “applied creativity” and the usefulness of this approach to creativity training. The article is based on empirical data and our experiences from the Applied NeuroCreativity (ANC) program, taught at business schools in Denmark and Canada. In line with previous studies of successful creativity training programs the ANC participants are first introduced to cognitive concepts of creativity, before applying these concepts to a relevant real world creative problem. The novelty in the ANC program is that the conceptualization of creativity is built on neuroscience, and a crucial aspect of the course is giving the students a thorough understanding of the neuroscience of creativity. Previous studies have reported that the conceptualization of creativity used in such training is of major importance for the success of the training, and we believe that the neuroscience of creativity offers a novel conceptualization for creativity training. Here we present pre/post-training tests showing that ANC students gained more fluency in divergent thinking (a traditional measure of trait creativity) than those in highly similar courses without the neuroscience component...
This theoretical article makes a contribution to the field of “psychoanalytically informed neuroscience”. First, central characteristics of psychoanalysis and neuroscience are briefly described leading into three epistemic dichotomies. Neuroscience versus psychoanalysis display almost opposing methodological approaches (reduction vs. expansion), test quality emphases (reliability vs. validity) and meaning of results (correlation vs. explanation). The critical point is to reach an intermediate level: in neuroscience an adequate position integrating both aspects—objective and subjective—of dual-aspect monism, and in psychoanalysis the appropriate level for the scientific investigation of its central concepts. As a suggestion to reach that level in both fields the system of Operationalized Psychodynamic Diagnosis (OPD; OPD Task Force, 2008) is presented. Combining aspects of both fields areas, expansion and reduction as well as reliability and validity, OPD could be a fruitful tool to transfer psychodynamic constructs into neuroscience. The article closes with a short description of recent applications of OPD in neuroscience.
Scientists have increasingly turned to the brain and to neuroscience more generally to further an understanding of social and emotional judgments and behavior. Yet, many neuroscientists (certainly not all) do not consider the role of relational context. Moreover, most have not examined the impact of relational context in a manner that takes advantage of conceptual and empirical advances in relationship science. Here we emphasize that: (1) all social behavior takes place, by definition, within the context of a relationship (even if that relationship is a new one with a stranger), and (2) relational context shapes not only social thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, but also some seemingly non-social thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in profound ways. We define relational context and suggest that accounting for it in the design and interpretation of neuroscience research is essential to the development of a coherent, generalizable neuroscience of social behavior. We make our case in two ways: (a) we describe some existing neuroscience research in three substantive areas (perceiving and reacting to others’ emotions, providing help, and receiving help) that already has documented the powerful impact of relational context. (b) We describe some other neuroscience research from these same areas that has not taken relational context into account. Then...
The ability to critically evaluate neuroscientific findings is a skill that is rapidly becoming important in non-science professions. As neuroscience research is increasingly being used in law, business, education, and politics, it becomes imperative to educate future leaders in all areas of society about the brain. Undergraduate general education courses are an ideal way to expose students to issues of critical importance, but non-science students may avoid taking a neuroscience course because of the perception that neuroscience is more challenging than other science courses. A recently developed general education cluster course at UCLA aims to make neuroscience more palatable to undergraduates by pairing neuroscientific concepts with philosophy and history, and by building a learning community that supports the development of core academic skills and intellectual growth over the course of a year. This study examined the extent to which the course was successful in delivering neuroscience education to a broader undergraduate community. The results indicate that a majority of students in the course mastered the basics of the discipline regardless of their major. Furthermore, 77% of the non-life science majors (approximately two-thirds of students in the course) indicated that they would not have taken an undergraduate neuroscience course if this one was not offered. The findings also demonstrate that the course helped students develop core academic skills and improved their ability to think critically about current events in neuroscience. Faculty reported that teaching the course was highly rewarding and did not require an inordinate amount of time.
The Society for Neuroscience recognized Baldwin Wallace University’s (BWU) undergraduate Neuroscience program as their Program of the Year for 2012. This award acknowledged the “accomplishments of a neuroscience department or program for excellence in educating neuroscientists and providing innovative models to which other programs can aspire.” The Neuroscience program grew out of students interested in studying the biological basis of behavior. BWU’s neuroscience major is research-intensive, and all students are required to produce an empirically-based senior thesis. This requirement challenges program resources, and the demand for faculty attention is high. Thus, we developed an intentional 3-step peer mentoring system that encourages our students to collaborate with and learn from, not only faculty, but each other. Peer mentoring occurs in the curriculum, faculty research labs, and as students complete their senior theses. As the program has grown with over 80 current majors, we have developed a new Neuroscience Methods course to train students on the safety, ethics, and practice of research in the neuroscience laboratory space. Students in this course leave with the skills and knowledge to assist senior level students with their theses and to begin the process of developing their own projects in the laboratory. Further...
As neuroscience gains social traction and entices media attention, the notion that education has much to benefit from brain
research becomes increasingly popular. However, it has been argued that the fundamental bridge toward education is cognitive
psychology, not neuroscience. We discuss four specific cases in which neuroscience synergizes with other disciplines to serve
education, ranging from very general physiological aspects of human learning such as nutrition, exercise and sleep, to brain
architectures that shape the way we acquire language and reading, and neuroscience tools that increasingly allow the early
detection of cognitive deficits, especially in preverbal infants. Neuroscience methods, tools and theoretical frameworks have
broadened our understanding of the mind in a way that is highly relevant to educational practice. Although the bridge’s cement is
still fresh, we argue why it is prime time to march over it.