Animal Minds: Comparative Neuroanatomy and Animal Behavior

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Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - July 21, 20216/28 - 7/213 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineMegan Leyrer
July 19, 2021 - August 11, 20217/19 - 8/113 WeeksOnlineOpenOnlineMegan Leyrer

Course Description

What does the world look like through the eyes of a lion? How about a mouse? a fish? or a fly? All animals perceive the world differently, but share the same goal: to survive and reproduce. The main objectives of this course are to provide an introduction to neuroscience, animal behavior, and the link between them. What do the eyes of an animal tell you about how it interacts with the environment? or where it falls in the food chain? We will explore these questions by comparing the neuroanatomy, chemical signaling, and social behavior of different species.

This course will introduce students to comparative neuroanatomy, sensory neuroscience, animal communication, social structure, and survival strategies. We will compare human and animal behavior and take a look at species-specific biological differences underlying sensory perception. Activities include short lectures, demonstrations, and virtual animal behavior studies. Moreover, we will discuss the scientific process, fundamentals of experimental design, and will introduce students to primary scientific literature. We will discuss how primary sources differ from textbook readings, and provide strategies for reading, interpreting, and analyzing journal articles. The course will end with a research project challenging students to describe what the world may be like from a specific animal’s perspective by generating an in-depth profile of a species’ behavior, sensory abilities, and survival strategies.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
• Identify basic brain structures and sensory pathways
• Understand how biological differences alter sensory perception
• Differentiate between learned and innate behaviors
• Unpack, interpret, and analyze primary literature
• Recognize and appreciate the open-ended process of scientific research

Prerequisites: There are no required prerequisites, but a background in biology and/or interest in neuroscience and animal behavior is advantageous.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBN0940

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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