Taming the Brain: Neuroscience of Stress

When you get up to give a talk in front of your peers, your body responds just like an antelope being chased by a lion. Stress is an adaptive physiological response to stimuli that present an immediate threat to an organism—and stress is present in all vertebrates. In humans this survival mechanism can be hijacked, wreaking havoc on the body and mind. This course will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to explore the science behind the relationship between stress, brain, body, and behavior. We will cover the biological mechanisms of stress and the neural pathways that coordinate the stress response. We will examine the effects of stress on health and well-being and study the physiological, neurochemical, and psychological techniques for assessing stress levels. We will try to understand the origins of resilience to adversity and explore interventions to reduce and manage stress. You will gain skills to read, understand, and analyze scientific findings and learn how to effectively communicate them in various modalities and to different audiences. A strong science background is suggested, but not required, for taking this course.

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