Mind, Brain, Behavior

A First-Year Ampersand Program

Exploring the Human Consciousness

How do we think, remember, and process language?  What is human consciousness?  In this two-year program, you will investigate exciting new theories, problems, and empirical studies in the areas of attention, memory, and language. First-year Mind, Brain, Behavior (MBB) students take two core courses that provide an introduction to the mind-brain from three different cognitive science perspectives; Psychology, Neuroscience, and Philosophy. 

In the second year, MBB students can undertake research under the supervision of a participating MBB faculty mentor. The program is limited to 45 students each year to keep the discussions and classes small. Participation in MBB is fully compatible with all majors and pre-professional programs.

 

 

What Students Have to Say

Arvin Sarkissian

The MBB program will change the way you look at your instincts, make you question how accurate your own memories are, and even transform how you study for your other classes. You’ll be amazed by how some of the simplest experiment paradigms have revealed the most complex things about language, memory, and attention. Be warned: existential crises may occur!

Max Klapow

The Mind, Brain, Behavior Program pushes you to explore, question, and ultimately grasp some of the biggest questions of cognitive science, from “Why and how do we remember?” to “How and why do we speak?” Furthermore, the program is fundamentally designed to immerse students in the research culture of WashU. Not many freshman can say that they have the opportunity as an incoming sophomore to be placed in a lab with a mentor in area of our own choosing.

how to apply

The application process for first-year programs and seminars opens on Tuesday, May 14, at noon (CT) and closes on Friday, May 17, at noon (CT). You will need your WUSTL Key to apply, so please be sure to sign up for your WUSTL Key by Monday, May 13 to give it 24 hours to activate. There will be a link to the application webform on the First-Year Programs homepage during this time for you to sign up. A statement of interest is required when you submit your application online.

First-Year Programs homepage

Program Outline

First Year

FALL SEMESTER

MBB 120A Introduction to Study of the Mind-Brain: Psychological, Biological and Philosophical Perspectives

A consideration of three primary areas of research in cognitive science: attention, memory and language. These topics are used to illustrate the techniques by which mental abilities are investigated and explained in psychology and neuroscience: the focus, in particular, is on the use of reaction time studies, brain imaging and cell recordings to isolate the basic components that make up complex functions. In addition to the central concepts and theories in each area, the course addresses philosophical implications of this research concerning how the mind and brain are related, how the mind-brain encodes or represents information, and the nature of consciousness. And there is an emphasis on applying these findings to important problems, such as Alzheimer's disease and deficits due to brain damage. The class is taught by three members of the faculty from different disciplines and combines a whole-group lecture with small discussion classes. The goal is to give students a good understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science and to help them develop the ability to think and write critically about scientific research into the mind-brain.

SPRING SEMESTER

MBB 122 Introduction to the Study of the Mind Brain II

In this course, participants in the Mind, Brain, Behavior program continue their exploration of cognitive science. We explore different frameworks for thinking about how the different branches of cognitive science relate to each other. The course contains an introduction to relevant topics in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mind. 

Second Year 

In the sophomore year, students are able to undertake research under the supervision of a faculty member who serves as a research mentor for the MBB program. Sophomores may choose among several research options, each combining independent work with opportunities to work collaboratively. This research experience culminates in a research symposium held at the end of the spring semester, sophomore year.