Course Overview

This course examines how social processes in the human brain support learning from infancy through adulthood. Topics to be discussed include theory of mind, empathy, mirror neurons, imitation, stereotypes, and group dynamics. The course will be based on current research findings in the field.

Human beings are social animals, and our brains have evolved over time in the context of relationships, society, and culture. As humans develop through infancy, childhood, and beyond, learning takes place via social interactions. These interactions take place between infants and caregivers, students and teachers, and within peer groups. Even after the early years of childhood, learning occurs in a social context. In recent decades, the study of the human being as a social animal has incorporated the study of neuroscience in order to better understand how social contexts and relationships impact our cognition, perception, and learning. This course will cover the foundations of social neuroscience, with a particular emphasis on those processes that are most important for learning. We will explore the topic via primary and secondary research, and the course activities will include lecture, discussion, presentations, and a variety of classroom activities designed to allow for deep engagement with the material.

Enrollment in the PEN program or permission of the instructor.

Program: Educational Neuroscience

Other Courses


Experience, Sign Language…

Understanding number symbols and performing arithmetical operations is…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 3


Dissertation Research

The exciting and timely discipline called Educational Neuroscience…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 1-6


Cognitive Neuroscience Summer…

In this first of two research laboratory rotation…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 4


Educational Neuroscience Proseminar

This course (PEN 701) serves as an introduction…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 3


Contemporary Methods in…

In this course, students will learn about the…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 1


Foundations of Educational…

The main objective of this two-part course, Foundations…

Educational Neuroscience

Credits 3