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The Mind, Brain, and Behavior

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 13, 2020 - July 31, 20207/13 - 7/31M-F 3:30P-6:20POpenHolly Boyle
Jennifer Merrill

Course Description

Psychology – the study of the mind, the brain, and behavior – is relevant to every aspect of your life! How does personality form? How are memories constructed and stored? How does society and culture impact an individual’s behavior? How are mental illnesses diagnosed and treated? These are just some of the questions we will attempt to answer in this course. This course will provide an introduction to a broad range of topics in psychology, including biological psychology, social psychology, personality, developmental psychology, health psychology, and psychological disorders.

Every aspect of our lives is touched in some way by the concepts of psychology, and no matter what you see as your future career, studying psychology can be useful. It is beneficial to learn about psychology in order to better understand your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors as well as those of the people around you.

Understanding the science and research methods behind psychology can also help you better sort out the truth from the fiction surrounding pop psychology (e.g., that we only use 10% of our brain is a myth!). There is always something amazing to learn about the human mind and behavior - from shocking psychological experiments in history that demonstrate our tendencies to obey authority to intriguing optical illusions that reveal the inner workings of the brain. In this course we will take a journey through a range of topics in psychology. At the lower levels of analysis, we will focus on molecules and brain structures (biological psychology). At the higher levels of analysis, we will discuss social and cultural influences on behavior (social psychology). There is much to learn in-between as well; we will explore thoughts, memory, language, emotions, and personality.

In class we will deive into developmental psychology, examining causes of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes across one’s lifespan. We will learn about the growing field of health psychology and explore theories of the mind-body stress link. Students will also receive an introduction to a range of psychological disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) and how they are professionally treated. We will review research studies on these psychological concepts, improving our understanding of the value of scientific research methods to answer many of our questions about human nature. The format of this three-week course will include lectures, videos, class demonstrations, and group discussions on a range of topics, including recent news events, examples of the psychological concepts in pop culture, and psychological research. Individual and small group assignments will include readings, quizzes, and final research paper/projects.

By the end of this course, students will have gained a better understanding of the human mind, brain and behavior at several levels of analysis. They will understand the value of psychological research and be able to think critically about claims made in the media. Students will be able to explain different theories in the realms of developmental, biological, and social psychology. They will be able to identify the primary features of a range of psychological disorders, and understand risk factors for each. Finally, they will acquire introductory knowledge of the treatment of such disorders.

Prerequisites: None

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0949
  • Length: 3 weeks

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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