Are you a student in Barrett, the Honors College that is looking for an honors enrichment credit this summer? Associate Professor Vaughn Becker is offering a pair of classes entirely online this summer that will make for exciting and applicable honors enrichment contracts for a limited number of honors students (eight per class). These classes address fundamental perspectives on human nature and freedom, as well as how one applies the science of the mind to design, business and technology challenges.
Both classes have HSE or PSY 101 as a pre-requisite, but this can be waived given completion of the first-year honors sequence. The classes are entirely online using a mix of narrated lectures, videos and readings.
Applied Cognitive Science (HSE 324; summer session A) explores the state of the art in the study of the mind. Traditionally a blend of philosophy, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience and artificial intelligence, the field has increasingly come to include evolutionary, social and emotional perspectives as well. In addition to an introductory text by Friedenberg and Silverman, (Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Study of Mind, 3rd edition), you will be responsible for several additional texts, principally: selections from Howard Gardner’s The Mind’s New Science, Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works and philosopher Andy Clark’s Natural-Born Cyborgs. You will respond to challenge questions each week, and develop a position piece on one of several unifying themes in the texts.
Evolutionary Psychology: Reverse Engineering the Mind (HSE 394; summer session B) examines the human brain and its behaviors in terms of the problems they were designed to solve in the ancestral past, a function of natural selection and sexual selection. In contrast to criticisms that such views amount to genetic determinism, we will discover that evolved mechanisms depend critically on developmental and learning processes, a true fusion of nature and nurture. The primary text by David Buss (Evolutionary Psychology, 5th edition) is a comprehensive overview, but you will take a deeper dive into sometimes unorthodox perspectives. You will read selections from Matt Ridley’s The Red Queen, Sarah Hrdy’s Mothers and Others, Richerson and Boyd’s Not by Genes Alone and Peter Singer’s The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution and Moral Progress. You will respond to challenge questions each week, and develop a position piece on one of several unifying themes in the texts.
Questions? Contact Vaughn Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.