mindSPACE Laboratory

UCI Classes

As a professor, Dr. Brewer strives to use her passion for teaching to instill her love of cognitive neuroscience in her students. In the classroom, her primary approach for accomplishing this goal is interactive instruction, which she has implemented in both large and small courses through the use of combining lectures with discussion periods, polling devices, patient examples, student role playing, multimedia demonstrations (e.g., audio and video clips, perceptual illusions, etc.), and frequent student feedback.

Undergraduate Courses

Psych 160D: Brain Disorders and Behavior (4 units). This course explores human behavior from the perspective of brain structure, function, and disease. Weekly topics include discussion of neurological diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, and brain lesions affecting such behaviors as sensory perception, motor control, language, memory, and higher cognitive function. Emphasis is placed on evidence acquired from patient examples, neuroimaging, neuronal recordings and brain stimulation. We also discuss standard and experimental treatments for many of the conditions and consider medical ethics and policy. Prerequisites: Psychology 7A or 9A, B, or Psychology and Social Behavior 9 or 11A, B, or Biological Sciences 35, or equivalent, or consent of instructor. Brain Disorders is especially popular, and all ~400 seats are usually filled each quarter, so be sure to sign up early before you are waitlisted. This course is usually offered both during the academic year (spring) and the summer (session II). Same as Biological Sciences N165. Psychology majors may have first consideration for enrollment.

Psych 169: NeuroPerception (4 units). Modern neuroscience emphasizes the principle that human perception isĀ  determined by the properties of brain circuitry. It is equally important to recognize that these brain circuits evolved to interpret the properties of the physical environment. This course uses these principles to explore human perception from peripheral sensory organs to cortical processing. In addition to the study of perception, the course includes training in reading and discussing scientific articles, vital skills for students interested in any of the sciences. We discuss the behavioral, computational, and neurophysiological approaches often used to investigate these perceptual behaviors by critically examining related scientific articles. The course format is thus a mixture of lectures and paper discussions.

Psych 89: Neurobiology of Cognition (4 units). This course is an introduction to the neurobiology of human cognition. Weekly topics include discussion of the cortical structures and functions that underlie our behaviors. Emphasis is placed on the development and organization of the healthy brain.

Psych 199: Independent Study (1-4 units). This course is for undergraduate students who have been accepted into Dr. Brewer's lab as an undergraduate researcher. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Students may enroll in only one 199 course per quarter. Psych 199 may be repeated for credit.

Graduate Courses

Psych 290: Dissertation Research (1-12 units). Prerequisites: consent of instructor, graduate standing. May be repeated for credit.

Psych 299: Individual Study (4-12 units). Prerequisites: consent of instructor, graduate standing. May be repeated for credit.

Additional graduate courses that are not currently offered include: Psych 262: Functional Neuroanatomy; Psych 210A: Introduction to Brain and Cognition I - Perception; Psych 269: Advanced Neuroimaging Methods; and Psych 260A-C: Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience Skills.

Educational Outreach

The mindSPACE Lab is committed to educational outreach at all levels of education. Unfortunately, neuroscience and psychology are not taught very much below the college level. To address that issue, Dr. Brewer and other UCI professors have teamed up over the years to create Brain Day and Brain Assemblies to present psychology to local elementary and middle school students. In addition, the mindSPACE Lab has also worked with Girls Inc. of Orange County to present and promote neuroscience to young girls.

Brain Day and Brain Assemblies

As a graduate student at Stanford University, Dr. Brewer and colleagues were involved in an annual Brain Day program in which we introduced local elementary and middle school students to neuroscience topics and research. Since arriving at UCI, Dr. Brewer has been developing and organizingĀ  Brain Day and Brain Assemblies programs at the local elementary schools in Orange County, California. Cognitive neuroscience colleagues and UCI students have provided training in basic neuroscience and psychology in age-appropriate formats for several grades (K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-8) by (1) introducing students to the organization of the brain; (2) discussing the brain’s importance and function; and (3) reviewing brain disease and damage. New Colorful Cortex workshops are currently in development for the local schools.

The Brilliant Brain Workshops

The mindSPACE Lab has developed outreach programs with Girls Inc. of Orange County, a non-profit that aims to enrich and empower young girls, while encouraging them to seek careers in the fields of math, science, and technology. Our programs introduced “brain science” to young women early in their educational careers through weekend and summer seminars using interactive presentations. At present, our team is developing new programs for the Girls Inc. STEM program, as members of our laboratory hope to foster youth interest in science and technology, and especially in the field of neuroscience. Above all, these workshops endeavor to encourage young women to pursue their dreams, and illustrate that there are no limits to what an individual can accomplish with determination and perseverance.