The University of Chicago
Institute for the Future
The brain is the body's most complex organ. There are around 86 billion neurons in the human brain, all of which are in use at this very moment. We think, dream, remember, see, smell, feel, formulate ideas, create mental representations, images, make decisions, and respond to people and events emotionally. These mental states are associated with various activities in the brain. We are directly aware of our mental life but we are not in touch with the ways in which our brain works both to control our mental and physical activities and to organize our capacities to navigate the world. This ExploreMYX is designed to take you “under the hood’ of your brain, the control center through which you navigate the environment and respond to it.
Dr. Joe Dispenza, Martine Rothblatt, Eric Kandel
Learn how the nervous system produces behavior, how we use our brain every day, and how neuroscience can explain the common problems afflicting people today. We will study functional human neuroanatomy and neuronal communication, and then use this information to understand how we perceive the outside world, move our bodies voluntarily, stay alive, and play well with others.
Learn how the nervous system produces behavior
How we use our brain every day
How neuroscience can explain the common problems afflicting people today
This course is about how the brain creates our sense of spatial location from a variety of sensory and motor sources, and how this spatial sense in turn shapes our cognitive abilities.
Knowing where things are is effortless. But “under the hood,” your brain must figure out even the simplest of details about the world around you and your position in it. Recognizing your mother, finding your phone, going to the grocery store, playing the banjo – these require careful sleuthing and coordination across different sensory and motor domains. This course traces the brain’s detective work to create this sense of space and argues that the brain’s spatial focus permeates our cognitive abilities, affecting the way we think and remember.
How the brain creates our sense of spatial location
How to trace the brain’s detective work
How the brain’s spatial focus permeates our cognitive abilities, affecting the way we think and remember
Learners will be introduced to the problems that vision faces, using perception as a guide. The course will consider how what we see is generated by the visual system, what the central problem for vision is, and what visual perception indicates about how the brain works. The evidence will be drawn from neuroscience, psychology, the history of vision science and what philosophy has contributed. Although the discussions will be informed by visual system anatomy and physiology, the focus is on perception. We see the physical world in a strange way, and the goal is to understand why.
The problems that vision faces, using perception as a guide
What visual perception indicates about how the brain works
The history of vision science and what philosophy has contributed
This is a course about addiction to drugs and other behaviors. It will describe what happens in the brain and how this information helps us deal with and overcome addiction. It will also discuss other topics, such as government policy and our vulnerability to take drugs. This course will help deepen your understanding of the brain and how it works around the topic of addictions.
Prevention programs and how they can help
Addiction treatment types and how they are implemented
The brain and its infinite complexities
Drug and alcohol abuse treatment
Economics, psychology, and neuroscience are converging today into a unified discipline of Neuroeconomics with the ultimate aim of creating a single, general theory of human decision-making. Neuroeconomics provides biologists, economists, psychologists and social scientists with a deeper understanding of how they make their own decisions and how others decide. Neuroscience, when allied with psychology and economics, creates powerful new models to explain why we make decisions. Neurobiological mechanisms of decision-making, decisions under risk, trust and cooperation will be central issues in this course. You will be provided with the most recent evidence from brain-imaging techniques (fMRI, TMS, etc.) and introduced to the explanatory models behind them.
Understanding of neuroeconomics
General theory of human decision-making
You will be provided with the most recent evidence from brain-imaging techniques (fMRI, TMS, etc.) and introduced to the explanatory models behind them
Humans are the only living creatures with the ability to think about and make plans for the long-term future. Even so, our brains don’t always make it easy. Over the past decade, scientists have discovered a number of neurological “road blocks” to effective futures thinking. These glitches in the brain make it harder for us to accurately predict how we’ll feel and what we’re likely to do, when a particular future arrives. They lead us to make faulty assumptions about which futures are likely or unlikely to happen. And they convince us we have less power to shape and influence the future than we actually do – leaving us stuck in the present.
In this course, you’ll learn how to overcome these obstacles so you can think about the future more strategically and creatively. You’ll practice simulation techniques for “unsticking” the mind when it comes to seeing what’s possible in the future and accepting how things could be different. You’ll also learn how to lead others through “first-person future” simulations, which have been shown in scientific studies to improve strategy and increase motivation and hope for the future. Along the way, leading futurists from the Institute from the Future will share some of their most challenging forecasts to help you stretch your imagination and improve your simulation skills.
Overcome these obstacles so you can think about the future more strategically and creatively
You’ll practice simulation techniques for “unsticking” the mind
You’ll also learn how to lead others through “first-person future” simulations
Stretch your imagination and improve your simulation skills
In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.
This work totals 135 hours over the course of 15 weeks
Please note that MYX will enroll you in these courses before the start of term.
The University of Chicago
Institute for the Future