• Social Science Course Dates and Deadlines

    You are currently viewing Social Science courses.

    If you are searching for STEM courses, please navigate to this page instead.

     

    Horizon Labs features flexible start dates. Students should apply at least one month prior to their preferred start date. Horizon Seminar has fixed term dates and a fixed application deadline.

     

    Applications for Horizon Seminar Summer 2021 are now closed, but applications for Horizon Labs remain open for the summer for students interested in beginning research 4 weeks after thier date of application. Applications for Horizon Seminar Fall 2021 are now open.

     

    Horizon Seminar Term Dates

    Fall 2021: October 23, 2021 - February 21, 2022

    Application Deadline: September 30, 2021

     

    Spring 2022: March 1 - June 30, 2022

    Application Deadline: February 4, 2022

  • Horizon Seminar Social Science Courses

    Horizon Academic offers two distinct kinds of research experiences: Horizon Labs, which is a one-on-one research mentorship program, and Horizon Seminar. Horizon Seminar allows high school students to complete a college-level research project under the guidance of a professor or lecturer with decades of teaching experience in their field. Students develop individualized research topics and attend small group classes, with an average class size of 4 and a maximum of 6 students. Our Senior Instructors lead 14 classes throughout the trimester, and our Teaching Assistants (who tend to be masters or PhD students in these fields) offer an additional 6 sessions for review, discussion, and feedback. Although Horizon Seminar classes meet in small groups of 4-6 students, all students complete their own individual research project and are not expected to agree upon a research topic with other students.

    Environmental Engineering Horizon Seminar Social Science Course Icon: How do ecosystems collapse? How can we engineer solutions to environmental catastrophe? Dr. Truncer’s course explores how human society can react to environmental systems collapse. Students may examine and research a variety of sustainability issues with regard to agricultural production, urbanization, infrastructure, resource use, and modern day engineering innovations. Dr. Truncer has previously taught this course at Harvard University and Stanford University.

    How do ecosystems collapse? How can we engineer solutions to environmental catastrophe? Dr. Truncer’s course explores how human society can react to environmental systems collapse. Students may examine and research a variety of sustainability issues with regard to agricultural production, urbanization, infrastructure, resource use, and modern day engineering innovations. Dr. Truncer has previously taught this course at Harvard University and Stanford University.

    Behavioral Economics Horizon Seminar Social Science Course Icon: How does our psychology influence the decisions we make ​every day and, ultimately, economic outcomes? We explore the rules-of-thumb that our brains constantly employ to makes choices, and how they can backfire, leading to biases in our decisions. You will be a participant in live experiments and learn how social scientists use them to study behavior. Professor Gallo has previously taught at Harvard and Oxford, and he currently teaches behavioral economics at Cambridge.

    How does our psychology influence the decisions we make ​every day and, ultimately, economic outcomes? We explore the rules-of-thumb that our brains constantly employ to makes choices, and how they can backfire, leading to biases in our decisions. You will be a participant in live experiments and learn how social scientists use them to study behavior. Professor Gallo has previously taught at Harvard and Oxford, and he currently teaches behavioral economics at Cambridge.

    International Relations Horizon Seminar Social Science Course Icon: What are the causes of war and peace? How does the international system affect the behavior of states, and how does this affect people on the ground? We explore the theories, patterns, and frameworks of international relations. We critically examine controversies surrounding current phenomena such as world governance, state failure, international injustice, and great power competition. Professor Rezvani had previously taught this course at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Oxford.

    What are the causes of war and peace? How does the international system affect the behavior of states, and how does this affect people on the ground? We explore the theories, patterns, and frameworks of international relations. We critically examine controversies surrounding current phenomena such as world governance, state failure, international injustice, and great power competition. Professor Rezvani had previously taught this course at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Oxford.

    Psychology and Emotion Regulation Horizon Seminar Course Icon: The course will explain and illustrate research methods in psychology using current research on human emotions, emotion regulation, and emotional disorders. Students will become familiar with research methods and experimental designs in these areas. Students will also design a study on a current topic of their choice in one of these areas.

    The course will explain and illustrate research methods in psychology using current research on human emotions, emotion regulation, and emotional disorders. Students will become familiar with research methods and experimental designs in these areas. Students will also design a study on a current topic of their choice in one of these areas.

  • Horizon Labs Social Science Courses

     

    Horizon Labs offers high school students the opportunity to work one-on-one with leading researchers and lecturers from some of the world's best known universities to develop highly specialized and unique research projects in interdisciplinary topics in the sciences and humanities. Horizon Labs allows students to get individualized mentorship from instructors who are on the front lines of PhD-level research, often who are in the process of completing their own PhD or postdoctoral research. These instructors are intimately acquainted with the latest studies, the most relevant data sets, and the most interesting perspectives being introduced in their respective fields. Through 20 hours of one-on-one mentorship with their instructors, Horizon Labs students can get access to useful and unique data sets, develop customized reading lists to enrich their writing, get individualized feedback about their paper drafts, and hear advice on publication opportunities from experts in their fields.

     

    The Philosophy of the Mind Horizon Labs Social Science Course Icon: What is a ‘mind’? How do our minds hook onto the world? This course uses philosophy and cognitive science to investigate the nature of mind and cognition, with a particular focus on perception and thought. Depending on their interests, students can focus on interpreting scientific experiments or focus on the more philosophical issues that thinking about the mind raises. This is an adapted version of a course that Mr. Craig has taught at Oxford University.

    What is a ‘mind’? How do our minds hook onto the world? This course uses philosophy and cognitive science to investigate the nature of mind and cognition, with a particular focus on perception and thought. Depending on their interests, students can focus on interpreting scientific experiments or focus on the more philosophical issues that thinking about the mind raises. This is an adapted version of a course that Mr. Craig has taught at Oxford University.

    Political Theory and Philosophy Horizon Labs Social Science Course Icon: What justifies the authority of the state? What are the basic liberties that a just society should secure? How should societies reckon with implicit bias, historical injustices, and structures of racism, classism, and sexism? Can meritocracy exist alongside entrenched privilege? We examine these questions and more in Mr. Cabezas's course, based on his section of the Contemporary Civilization (CC) course at Columbia University.

    What justifies the authority of the state? What are the basic liberties that a just society should secure? How should societies reckon with implicit bias, historical injustices, and structures of racism, classism, and sexism? Can meritocracy exist alongside entrenched privilege? We examine these questions and more in Mr. Cabezas's course, based on his section of the Contemporary Civilization (CC) course at Columbia University.

    Psychology Horizon Labs Social Science Course Icon: Horizon Academic is thrilled to offer a full range of 72 subtopics in psychology, spanning key questions in clinical, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Our psychology program started out with a narrower focus on data science and pathology, but our psychology offerings have continued to grow as more instructors of diverse psychology backgrounds have joined our team. We invite you to have a closer look at the many diverse psychology sub-topics we offer.

    Horizon Academic is thrilled to offer a full range of 72 subtopics in psychology, spanning key questions in clinical, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Our psychology program started out with a narrower focus on data science and pathology, but our psychology offerings have continued to grow as more instructors of diverse psychology backgrounds have joined our team. We invite you to have a closer look at the many diverse psychology sub-topics we offer.

    Ancient Greco-Roman History Horizon Labs Social Science Course Icon: How was slavery classified in the Greco-Roman world? What alternative forms of bondage existed alongside it? What were the conditions of the slave systems during this time? How might we imagine the lives of those under bondage? To what extent were slaves able to express their autonomy? How was love expressed among people in the Greco-Roman world? Are there any compelling cases in other eras that merit further comparisons? In this course, we work to gather an accurate picture of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, not only from the perspective of political leaders and social elites, but from the perspective of the laborers, artisans, soldiers, and slaves who made up the majority of these societies.

    How was slavery classified in the Greco-Roman world? What alternative forms of bondage existed alongside it? What were the conditions of the slave systems during this time? How might we imagine the lives of those under bondage? To what extent were slaves able to express their autonomy? How was love expressed among people in the Greco-Roman world? Are there any compelling cases in other eras that merit further comparisons? In this course, we work to gather an accurate picture of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, not only from the perspective of political leaders and social elites, but from the perspective of the laborers, artisans, soldiers, and slaves who made up the majority of these societies.

  • Research Questions by Each Course
     

    Below are the lists of pre-approved topics for each Horizon course. Please note that these lists are not restrictive or exhaustive: students at Horizon Academic often submit customized research topics or proposals. If a student wishes to research something else besides these questions but still related to the general course topic, then they should identify their proposed research question in their application. Prior to evaluating their application, we will consult with the course instructor to confirm whether the custom topic request is permitted.
     

  • Horizon Seminar

    Small Group Classes. Individualized Research Projects. Taught by Professors and Lecturers.

  • Environmental Problems in Human Society:

    Lessons from the Past, Engineering Future Solutions

    【 James Truncer 】

    How do ecosystems collapse? How can we engineer solutions to environmental catastrophe? Dr. Truncer’s course explores how human society can react to environmental systems collapse. Students may examine and research a variety of sustainability issues with regard to agricultural production, urbanization, infrastructure, resource use, and modern day engineering innovations. Dr. Truncer has previously taught his course at Harvard and Stanford University.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. What advantages does organic farming have over conventional farming? Can organic farms compete with conventional farms in feeding the world?

     

    2. How can cities and their infrastructure be designed for the predicted changes in climate? Provide specific examples in your response.

     

    3. The recent tremendous growth of urban areas has created a multitude of environmental problems and challenges. Choose one area of urban design that can improve the urban environment – what costs and benefits are involved?

     

    4. What are the latest advances in hydroponic and vertical farming? Are these the food production methods of the future? What are the costs?

     

    5. Are the economic benefits of dam building worth the environmental costs?

     

    6. Sea level rise is expected to impact many coastal cities and islands (e.g. Andaman Islands) in the coming years. What are the advantages or disadvantages of relocating an island settlement or city versus building dikes and protective barriers such as in the case of the Netherlands?

     

    7. Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) significantly different from the variation produced through more traditional methods of cross-breeding and the creation of hybrids?

     

    8. Oceans are absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and are becoming more acidic. How will this affect marine ecosystems and thus human society? What policies might be implemented to make the public more aware of this looming environmental crisis and what incentives would encourage governments to take action?

     

    9. Money and research are now being poured into the technology of self-driving cars. Is maintaining the concept of “car” an efficient means of transportation, or are there better, more sustainable systems for the movement of people?

     

    10. Soil erosion is severe in many areas of the world. What farming methods and other activities are creating this erosion? What farming methods can not only reduce soil erosion but build nutrient-rich soil that enhances crop yields and lowers carbon emissions substantially? What policies might encourage soil conservation on farmland?

     

    11. Renewable energy sources are gaining more and more attention, and represent an increasingly larger percentage of energy production. What is the most promising type of renewable energy and why? Can modern society completely convert to renewable energy sources from a largely carbon-based system? What further advances or changes in lifestyle might be required?

     

    12. Most large farms rely on mechanization and need to add massive amounts of artificial fertilizer to produce high crop yields. How did this situation come about, and is this a sustainable practice? What are the carbon costs of such agriculture and are there feasible alternatives?

     

    13. Can sustainable practices be successfully incorporated into current business models? If not, what might need to change in order to create a better fit?

     

    14. Are United Nations treaties and resolutions an effective means to pass worldwide sustainability measures or is a different system necessary?

     

    15. Some architects are now designing “walkable” cities. What does this mean and what are the advantages and disadvantages of such an urban design? Illustrate your response with examples.

     

    16. Aquaculture, or fish farming, is increasingly providing a major source of food for a growing world population. What forms of aquaculture are most sustainable, and which forms are the least sustainable? Why? Provide specific examples of aquaculture in your analysis.

  • Behavioral Economics

    【 Edoardo Gallo 】

    How does our psychology influence the decisions we make ​every day and, ultimately, economic outcomes? Professor Gallo's course explores the heuristics, or rules-of-thumb, our brain constantly employs to makes choices, and how in some instances they systematically backfire leading to biases in our decisions. You will be a participant in live experiments and learn how social scientists use them to study how people behave. Professor Gallo has previously taught at Harvard and Oxford, and he is currently teaching behavioral economics as well as other courses at Cambridge.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. What behavioral principles should be used to design a pension scheme?

     

    2. What type of policies mitigate the bad consequences of unemployment?

     

    3. Design an insurance policy that is going to attract consumers by exploiting psychological biases.

     

    4. Humans are prone to errors when making decisions under uncertainty. How can modern technology reduce these errors?

     

    5. Pollution is a problem affecting most large metropolitan areas. How may insights from psychology inform urban policy to decrease pollution?

     

    6. Top students from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not apply to the best universities. What are the potential reasons and what kind of actions can be taken to change this?

     

    7. Doctors routinely make recommendations that may have life/death implications for their patients. How can biases in decision-making affect their advice?

     

    8. How can we increase the rate at which individuals recycle?

     

    9. Describe how psychological biases may affect judicial decisions and propose policy changes to minimize their negative impact.

     

    10. Delays in paying income tax lead to significant financial losses from governments. What design changes could be made to tax collection policy to minimize these delays?

     

    11. Buying a house is an infrequent transaction with large financial consequences. In what ways can a prospective house buyer or seller avoid mistakes due to psychological biases?

     

    12. A new type of fertilizer has been invented that increases crop yields by 300%. Nevertheless, farmers are not adopting it. What could be the reasons and what policies can be implemented to increase takeup?

     

    13. A major supermarket chain has hired you as a consultant to apply behavioral principles to improve their sales. Write a report with your recommendations.

     

    14. You are a financial advisor for a wealthy individual. Come up with an investment strategy that avoids pitfalls from biases in decision making.

     

    15. Develop an idea for a phone app that uses insights from behavioral economics to improve an individual’s health.

  • Controversies in International Relations

    【 David Rezvani 】

    What are the causes of war and peace? Professor Rezvani’s course explores the theories, patterns, and frameworks of international relations. It critically examines controversies surrounding current phenomena such as world governance, state failure, international injustice, and great power competition. Professor Rezvani had previously taught at Harvard, MIT, and Oxford University.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. Should countries (like the US or others) allow companies and individuals to hack back against foreign cyber attackers?

     

    2. Which country has the best model for fighting global pandemics?

     

    3. What strategy should the US adopt for managing its relations with China?

     

    4. What is the greatest challenge to China’s “One Belt, One Road” project and how can it be overcome?

     

    5. Should other countries be happy or worried about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)?

     

    6. What is the best type of free trade agreement for Asia?

     

    7. What explains China’s remarkable economic growth?

     

    8. Is China a revisionist or status quo power?

     

    9. Was Brexit the right decision for the United Kingdom?

     

    10. What political outcome has the best chance at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

     

    11. In light of the massive flow of refugees from places like the Middle East to Europe, is international migration bad for host countries?

     

    12. What is the best solution to address the plight of the Rohingya?

     

    13. Should the international community prohibit Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?

     

    14. Is global poverty better reduced through free trade or international aid?

     

    15. Does humanitarian disaster justify military intervention?

     

    16. Was it a right choice for America and its allies to have invaded Libya?

     

    17. What role should countries play in their policy toward Syria?

     

    18. What strategy should the US adopt for managing its relations with Russia?

  • Clinical Psychology and Emotion Regulation

    【 Matthias Siemer 】

    The course will explain and illustrate research methods in psychology using current research on human emotions, emotion regulation, and emotional disorders. Students will become familiar with research methods and experimental designs in these areas. Students will also design a study on a current topic of their choice in one of these areas.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. Are some emotions more basic than others?

     

    2. Do emotions require cognitions?
     

    3. How do moods and emotions influence information processing and decision making?
     

    4. How are emotions experienced and are they always experienced?
     

    5. How can moods and emotions be measured and manipulated?
     

    6. Why do people want to regulate their emotions and how do cognitive emotion regulation strategies work?
     

    7. How are emotions and cognitions linked to goals and self-regulation?
     

    8. How do people differ in their cognitions and emotions and are there “emotion experts”?
     

    9. What are the implications of cognitive approaches towards emotions for our understanding and treatment of emotional disorders.
     

    10. What are the implications for theories about psychological resilience and well-being?
     

    11. What is depression, exactly? Is it one syndrome, or is it a collection of different syndromes that we grouped under the same name?

  • Horizon Labs

    One on One Mentorship. Specialized Research Topics. Flexible Timing.

  • The Philosophy of the Mind

    【 Alasdair Craig 】

    What is a ‘mind’? How do our minds hook onto the world? This course uses philosophy and cognitive science to investigate the nature of mind and cognition, with a particular focus on perception and thought. Depending on their interests, students can focus on interpreting scientific experiments or focus on the more philosophical issues that thinking about the mind raises. This is an adapted version of a course that Mr. Craig has taught at Oxford University.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. Perceptual Experience 1: What do perceptual illusions and hallucinations reveal about the nature of perceptual experience? In particular, do these phenomena show that we never ‘directly’ see the world as it is?

     

    2. Perceptual Experience 2: Can a person’s perceptual experiences be influenced by that person’s prior beliefs, expectations and desires? What is the best interpretation of experiments that purport to show that the answer to this question is ‘yes’?

     

    3. Explanation in Cognitive Science: What should cognitive scientists look for in a satisfying explanation of human behaviour?

     

    4. The Nature of Mind: Is the mind a purely physical or material thing? Are mental states physical states?

     

    5. The ‘Language of Thought’ Hypothesis: What is the language of thought hypothesis, and is it possible to understand mental processes as computational processes without a language of thought?

     

    6. The Nature of Consciousness: Describe Ned Block’s distinction between ‘phenomenal consciousness’ and ‘access consciousness’. Does scientific work show that phenomenal consciousness can exist in the absence of access consciousness?

     

    7. Delusions: To understand what is going on when people suffer from delusions, must we postulate abnormalities in how beliefs are formed and maintained, or does it suffice to appeal to abnormalities in perception or experience?

     

    8. Modularity: What is the modularity thesis? Assess the scientific case for the thesis that the mind is modular.

  • Political Theory and Philosophy

    【 César Cabezas Gamarra 】

    What justifies the authority of the state? What are the basic liberties that a just society should secure? How should societies reckon with implicit bias, historical injustices, and structures of racism, classism, and sexism? Can meritocracy exist alongside entrenched privilege? We examine these questions and more in Mr. Cabezas's course, based on his section of the Contemporary Civilization (CC) course at Columbia University.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. What justifies the authority of the state? What are the problems associated with social life in the absence of government (i.e. a state of nature)? How does the "social contract" proposed by the likes of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau work as a solution to these problems?

     

    2. What are the supreme principles (if any) that should guide our moral conduct? Do they admit of exceptions?

     

    3. What is implicit bias? Should we blame agents for having implicit biases even if they are outside their control?

     

    4. Can we explain the various aspects of social reality purely in terms of individual beliefs, actions and intentions? Or does an adequate explanation of social reality require reference to social phenomena such as organizations, social structures and social laws?

     

    5. Is morality merely a matter of personal (or group) opinion? Or are there objective moral facts that transcend cultures and historical eras?

     

    6. What are the basic liberties that a just society should secure? Is being free not having others interfere with one's personal affairs? Or is it to have the capacity to make one's own laws by participating in the collective process of government? Or is freedom a matter of not being subject to the arbitrary power of the state and/or other subjects?

     

    7. What is the role of privileges or unearned advantages in sustaining systems of oppression?

     

    8. What are our moral duties regarding injustices in which we participate indirectly (e.g. buying clothes produced in sweatshops)?

     

    9. Are we morally responsible for the moral failures of our ancestors (e.g. colonization, slavery, the Holocaust)? What about the present-day consequences of their moral failures?

     

    10. What are some convincing argument for the right to reparations for African-Americans?

     

    11. Why are epistemic virtues such as humility, open-mindedness, and curiosity important for our life in community?

     

    12. What is the importance of public deliberation and disagreement for a democratic society?

     

    13. Can people be willfully ignorant? If so, how does willful ignorance contribute to the maintenance of social injustice?

     

    14. Given that science has ruled out the existence of biological races, should we give up the concept of race? Or is there a plausible non-biological concept of race that can contribute to a better understanding of racial relations?

     

    15. What is the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality?

     

    16. Is racism a matter of individual beliefs, intentions and actions, or can racism also take place at the level of institutions and social structures?

     

    17. What is intersectionality? How does it contribute to a better understanding of gender, race and class?

  • Ancient Greco-Roman History

    【 Micheal D. 】

    Ancient Greek and Roman polities and empires stretch thousands of years into the past, but they continue to affect and inform ideas and events in the modern world. The languages, beliefs, and societies of these Mediterranean civilizations have left a deep footprint on modern philosophy, political science, sociology, architecture, aesthetics, linguistics, and the scientific method. And yet many beliefs held among members of these polities about love, social organization, identity, gender, and spirituality would sound quite alien to a modern observer. In this course, we work to gather an accurate picture of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, not only from the perspective of political leaders and social elites, but from the perspective of the laborers, artisans, soldiers, and slaves who made up the majority of these societies.

     

    Pre-approved Topic List

     

    1. How was slavery classified in the Greco-Roman world? What alternative forms of bondage existed alongside it?

     

    2. What were the conditions of the slave systems during this time? How might we imagine the lives of those under bondage?

     

    3. To what extent were slave able to express their autonomy?

     

    4. How was love expressed among people in the Greco-Roman world? Are there any compelling cases in other eras that merit further comparisons?

     

    5. What components were used to help develop a shared ethnic identity? Against whom was this ethnic identity juxtaposed?

     

    6. What were some of the accepted gender roles in the Greco-Roman world? In what ways did people push against or defend these societal norms?

     

    7. In what ways did religion influence the decisions and lives of the people of the Greco-Roman world?

     

    8. How was the Greco-Roman family and household organized? What roles were available to the various members?

     

    9. What was the culture of militaristic nations, such as Sparta and Rome, like? How did warfare shape their lives on and off the battlefield?

     

    10. What were the opportunities available to women in the Greco-Roman world? How might we imagine their lives and treatment?

     

    11. How can one utilize ancient literary sources as a means to better understand the history of the Greco-Roman world?

     

    12. What messages can we gather from the mythology of this era to better understand the religious and personal beliefs of the Greco-Roman world?

  • Research Topics in Psychology

    【 Sori Baek 】|【 Brian Earp 】|【 Megha C.】|【 Andy S.】|【 Erik N. 】|【Ellen R.】|【Joanna Szypula】|【Ana Maria Pereira de Souza】|【 Christa C.】|【 Jiyoung 】|【 Aliza 】|【 ChiChi M. 】|【 Alex R. 】|【 Jackie Katzman 】|【 Alexander Jay 】

    Please note that topics offered by Ms. Baek are marked with "B" next to them. Those offered by Mr. Erik N. are marked as "N". Those offered by Mr. Brian Earp are marked as "E". Those offered by Ms. Ellen R. are marked as "R". Those offered by Ms. Joanna Szypula are marked as "J". Those offered by Ms. Megha C. are marked as "M". Those offered by Ms. Ana Maria Pereira de Souza are marked as "A". Those offered by Mr. Andy S. are marked as "S". Those offered by Ms. Christa C. are marked as "C". Those offered by Jiyoung are marked as "I". Those offered by Ms. ChiChi M. are marked as "H". Those offered by Ms. Aliza are marked as "L". Those offered by Ms. Alex R. are marked as "X". Those offered by Ms. Jackie Katzman are marked as "K". Those offered by Mr. Alexander Jay are marked as "D".

     

    Topics in Cognitive Psychology

     

    1. How do people learn a new language? Is it different for adults and kids? [B, R, M]

     

    2. What helps a memory stick? What helps us remember things better? [B, R, J, M, A, S, L]

     

    3. What makes memories become more accurate or inaccurate? What does this mean for eyewitness testimonies? [B, J, M, A, S, L, K]

     

    4. Why are we so good at seeing “faces” from objects, like an outlet or a smiley face [ :) ]? Does this have an evolutionary reason? [B, R, M, A, S]

     

    5. Carrying a heavier backpack can make a hill look bigger. What are some other ways in which things change our perception? [B, R, S]

     

    6. What affects our attention, and what distracts us? How do we select what we pay attention to? [B, M, A, S]

     

    7. How do other people affect how we think? How do opinions of others change our own opinions? [B, N, R, M, A, S, L, X]

     

    8. Why are we so captivated by surprising and unexpected things, like magic? Does this have an evolutionary reason? [B, S]

     

    9. How do optical illusions work? How do they trick our brains? [B]

     

    10. What happens in our brain when we make predictions that turn out to be wrong? How does this experience help us learn? [B, S, X]

     

    11. We’re really good at hearing our name, even if it’s said by someone standing really far away in a loud room. Why does this happen? [B, R, M, A, S]

     

    12. Are babies’ brains as good as adults’ brains? In what way? [B, R, H]

     

    13. What do babies do to learn? Are they good learners? [B, R, H, L]

     

    14. Can newborn babies tell their mothers apart from other people? In what way? [B, R, H, L]

     

    15. A lot of toys are marketed to be good for the brain. Is this true? Which toys? Why or why not? [B, H]

     

    16. What is our brain doing when we form memories and remember things from the past? [B, S, X]

     

    17. What is our brain doing when we see numbers and do math? [B]

     

    18. What is our brain doing when we see alphabets and read a sentence? [B]

     

    19. What is our brain doing when we’re not paying attention in class? [B, S]

     

    20. How does the brain change when we learn a new skill and become better at it? [B, M, A, S]

     

    21. What factors lead to differences in intelligence? Is IQ a good measure of how intelligent someone is? [R, M, A, C, L]

     

    22. What makes different education styles work better than others? What does it mean to be a certain type of learner? [L]

     

    23.What are the differences between short and long term memory? How do attention and memory interact? [J, M, A, L]

     

     

    24. What role does memory play in eating behaviors? Can we use memories to help us lose weight? [J]

     

    25. What are the barriers to access to mental health services between different racial and ethnic groups? [H, L]

     

    26. Are there differences in how mental illness is perceived between different racial and ethnic groups? [H, L]

     

    27. Are there differences in perception of mental illness between men and women, and does this have long term consequences? [H, L]

     

    Topics in Clinical Psychology

     

    Clinical psychology is concerned with identifying, understanding, and treating psychological disorders. This course will explore questions such as how we differentiate sadness from depression, why some people develop mental disorders while others don’t, what the best treatments for anxiety disorders are, and more. Students will have the option of focusing on specific mental disorders or studying basic psychological mechanisms that have clinical relevance.

      1. Uncertainty is a core feature of our everyday lives, especially during current times. How do humans respond to uncertainty? How does it affect our cognition, emotions, and behavior? [N, M, A, L]

       

      2. How does the psychological trait of intolerance of uncertainty increase risk for anxiety disorders? [N, M, L]

       

      3. Does it make sense to think of mental disorders are discrete categories or as dimensions that we all vary on? [N, M, I, L]

       

      4. How do cognitive factors like attention, memory, and interpretation contribute to depression? [N, M, L]

       

      5. What is the difference between fear and anxiety? [N, M, A, L]

       

      6. How do we regulate our emotions? How does emotion regulation go awry in psychopathology? [N, M, A, I, L]

       

      7. Is worry adaptive? [N, M, L]

       

      8. Rumination refers to repetitive negative thought about the past, and worry refers to repetitive negative thought about the future. Are these two processes fundamentally the same or different? [N, M, A, L, X]

       

      9. Why are we not better at treating mental disorders? [N, M, L, X]

       

      10. Does it make more sense to call mental disorders (e.g., depression) a "brain disease"? Why or why not? [N, M, A, H, L, X]

       

      11. What are the "active ingredients" in psychotherapies for emotional disorders? How do we know that these are really the mechanisms of change? [N, I, L, X]

       

      12. What is depression, exactly? Is it one syndrome, or is it a collection of different syndromes that we've grouped under the same name? [N, M, I, H, L, X]

       

      13. Are today's youth really more anxious and depressed than youth in the past? If so, what is contributing to this increase? [N, M, A, H, L, X]

       

      14. What do we know—and what do we not know—about treatments for emotional disorders? [A, L]

       

      15. How do scientists study treatments for mental health problems? What are empirically supported treatments, why are they useful, and what are their limitations? [A, I, L, X]

       

      16. How can mental health treatments be delivered? What are the advantages and disadvantages of certain delivery formats? [A, I, L]

       

      17. How can we increase access to mental health treatments? [I, L]

       

      18. Are apps and internet programs effective treatments for common mental health problems? [I, L]

       

      19. How have treatments been adapted for people in low- and middle-income countries? What strategies are used to ensure that treatments are effective and culturally appropriate? [H]

       

      20. What is the research-implementation gap? How long does it take for research evidence to reach clinical practice? [I, L]

       

      Topics in Pathology and Data Science

       

      What causes mental illness? Mr. Jones's course explores competing theories on the origins of emotional disorders such as depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. We examine how complexity approaches in statistics and machine learning, such as network analysis, can help us understand the problem. Depending on their interests, students can focus on a substantive area of mental health or delve deeper into the computational aspects.

       

      1. The network theory of mental disorders states that mental disorders do not have a single underlying cause, but instead are the result of feedback loops in a complex system. How does this theory apply to depression? Anxiety? Trauma? Other psychological problems? [N, M, A, I]

       

      2. Why do mental disorder co-occur at such high rates? How can network analysis inform the comorbidity between them? [N, M, A, I, L]

       

      3. How can novel developments in data science (e.g., machine learning methods) contribute to the field of clinical psychology? [A, C, I, L]

       

      4. What can we learn from exploratory data analysis of mental disorder symptoms? What kinds of psychometric data analyses and visualizations are most helpful? [A, C, I, L]

       

      5. Why are rates of emotional disorders often observed to be more common in developed nations compared to less developed nations? [L]

       

      6. One hallmark of anxiety disorders is avoidance. What factors lead people to avoid versus approach their fears? [N, M, A, L, X]

       

      7. Rates of violence across the world have been steadily decreasing. If this is indeed the case, why are rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stagnant or even increasing? [N]

       

      8. To what extent do mental disorders represent a "mismatch" between the modern world and our environment during evolution? What factors of modernity might influence mental illness? [E, M, A]

       

      9. Why do some individuals with PTSD seem to compulsively revisit their traumatic past? How does this square with research on avoidance? [N, M, A, L]

       

      10. Are trigger warnings or safe spaces effective approaches to helping those with PTSD? Why or why not? [N, M, A, L]

       

      11. Today, phones and devices capture a huge amount of data about individuals (e.g., location, movement, texts, phone calls, app usage). Can this data be used for good when it comes to mental health? How? [N, A, C, I, L]

       

      12. Can people really experience "post-traumatic growth" after a trauma? If so, what does this growth look like? [N, A, L]

       

      13. What is idiographic science? How can we study one person at a time? [I]

       

      14. Can we personalize psychotherapy interventions for each person? [A, I, L, X]

       

      15. How can data science help us predict substance use for each person? [A, I]

       

      16. Can a single survey item capture enough information, or do we always need multiple items? [I]

       

      17. How much can we generalize from group-level research? [I]

       

      18. How can we best capture fluctuations in people's emotions? What are affective dynamics? [I, L]

       

      Psychology and Law:

       

      1. For cases in which juvenile offenders are transferred to adult court, do jurors take their developmental vulnerabilities into account when they make decisions about them? [K]

       

      2. Mistaken identification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction. What procedural best-practices can make eyewitness evidence more reliable? How can social psychological theory inform these practices? [K]

       

      3. Do the demograhics of the people selected as jury members affect their ultimate verdict decisions? [K]

       

      4. What strategies can help jurors better understand complex evidence in the courtroom? [K]

       

      5. Most all criminal cases are adjudicated thorugh plea negotiation. how can social psychological theory help attorneys better advise their clients? [K]

       

      6. Racial disparities in the criminal justice system are well documented and widespread. How can we lessen racial bias in policing, prison populations, and participation on juries? [K]

       

      7. Why do people make false confessions? What aspects of police interrogations might increase the rate of false confession? [D]

       

      8. Why do innocent people plead guilty? What components of plea bargaining increase the odds an innocent person will plead guilty? [D]

       

      9. How do the racial characteristics of a criminal case impact jurors' decision-making? [D]

       

      10. How do robust social cognitive processes, such as stereotyping, affect jurors' perceptions and decision-making in civil and criminal cases? [D]

       

      11. What is criminal profiling, and does it resemble the crime shows on t.v.? What does the science say about criminal profiling? How is it practiced by law enforcement agencies, and does it work? [D]

       

      12. Jurors are often presented with a lot of complex information presented in a disorganized fashion. How do jurors make sense of the evidence, and render their decisions? [D]

       

      13. How do jurors' emotions impact their decision-making? [D]

       

      14. How does pre-trial publicity impact jurors decision-making? [D]

       

      15. What is 'juror rehabilitation'? Can it successfully reduce jurors' biases? [D]

       

      16. Jurors are constitutionally required to be impartial at the outset of a trial, but are they? How effective are legal system safe-guards (e.g., voir dire and jury selection) at removing biases? What about implicit biases? [D]

       

      Additional Topics in Psychology:

       

      1. Is psychology really a science? Should we trust findings in psychology more or less than in other fields? What is the "replication crisis" in psychology? [E, R, J, M, A, S, L, K]

       

      2. Some researchers believe that most published findings in psychology (and some other disciplines) are false alarms and so not reproducible. Why might they think that? Are they right? [E, R, J, M, S, L, K]

       

      3. How do psychologists use statistical information to infer the existence of invisible phenomena like psychological states or attributes? What are some of major problems with the way psychologists use statistics? [E, R, M, A, S, L]

       

      4. What does it mean to falsify a finding in psychology? If Researcher A runs an experiment and gets result X, and you run the same experiment and don't get that result, have you disproved their finding? Have you falsified their hypothesis or theory? Why does any of this matter? [E, R, J, M, S]

       

      5. What is the psychology of scientific communication -- and belief? Do people just believe whatever scientific findings they agree with morally? is belief in science politically polarized? What determines whether someone believes in climate science? Why do some people think vaccines are harmful? [E, R, M, S]

       

      6. What does it mean to be "the same person" over time? Are you the same person as you were when you were a baby? If so, in what sense? What factors influence the perception that someone is "a completely different person" after some big change in their life (like becoming addicted to drugs, or undergoing a religious conversion)? [E, R, M, A, S]

       

      7. Does Alzheimer's disease change who you are? If you sign a contract before the disease sets in, is it still valid if you lose most of your memories? [E, A, S]

       

      8. What is the relationship between moral intuitions and psychological traits or disorders? If someone is willing to sacrifice the life of one person in order to save a greater number of people, for example, could this have something to do with the trait of psychopathy? [E, M, A, S, L]

       

      9. How does relational context influence moral judgments? Why are some things okay to do in one kind of relationship, but not okay in other relationships? What explains our moral intuitions about different actions? Is it all about causing harm, or are there other reasons for judging a behavior as wrong? [E, R, M, A, S]

       

      10. Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Why do we judge some things to be morally okay, and other things as NOT morally okay? When people from different cultures disagree about moral questions, does at least one of them have to be wrong? [E, R, M, A, S, L]

       

      11. Does believing in free will make you a more moral person? Does encouraging a belief in determinism make people more likely to me immoral (e.g., cheat on an exam)? [E, M, A, S, L]

       

      12. What is gender? Is it the same thing as sex? Are there more than two genders? Is your gender a matter of having certain feelings or psychological properties? [E, R, M, A, H]

       

      13. How does gender bias affect judgments about how much pain someone is in? Do stereotypes like 'boys don't cry' affect how we perceive the pain of others? [E, R, M, A, H, L]

       

      14. Can your brain start processing visual information -- for example, people's faces -- prior to conscious awareness? Is there such a thing as "unconscious perception"? How can you study the unconscious mind? [E, M, A, S, L]

       

      15. What is sexual orientation? What determines the sexual orientation a person has? [E, R, M, A, L]

       

      16. Is it possible to be addicted to love? [E, S, L]

       

      17. What is the reproducibility crisis in psychology? How can scientists work to make the field better? [R, J, M, A, S, I, L, K]

       

      18. What are emotions? What theories do psychologists and philosophers have for how our feelings – a cornerstone of human experience – function? What issues are there with our theories of emotions, and how can we improve them? [N, R, M, A, S, I, L]

       

      19. How do we best manage our emotions? What skills can people use to regulate what they’re feeling, and how can we make these skills most efficacious? [N, M, A, S, I, L]

       

      20. How do emotions change across age? When do children and adolescents start to have certain emotional experiences, and what does this mean for their well-being? [N, A, S, L, X]

       

      21. How does language relate to emotion? Do people of different cultures have different emotional experiences, and what does this mean about the mind? Can changing what words we use to talk about our feelings change how we feel? [N, A, L]

       

      22. How does language relate to mental health? Can we use linguistic methods in verbal communication to learn things about how well someone is doing psychologically? Can we develop tools to intervene when people aren’t doing well? [N, A, L]

       

      23. How does the brain represent and regulate emotions? What brain regions are involved in these processes, and can we connect deregulations in brain functioning to mental health problems? [N, A, S, L, X]

       

      24. How does the brain develop across childhood and adolescence, and what does this mean for the development of emotions, mental health, or social functioning? [N, S, L, X]

       

      25. It has long been the understanding of social psychologists that people do not intuitively use base-rate information when they make predictions. Is it possible to increase the relevancy of base-rate information? How? [K]

       

      26. Norm development is one of the most powerful vehicles for changing people's behvaior and beliefs. How do norms influence our behavior? How can they be developed? [K]

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