Prof Nardi and students, fall 2007
Social Neuroscience Laboratory
HumCS 199 – Social Neuroscience Laboratory
2 units, offered every quarter
Prof. Dario Nardi
This independent contract course explores the use of real-time neuromapping equipment for social science research.
The course includes reading and critiquing articles on the subject, examining suitable frameworks to analyze social
cognition, discussing experimental techniques, and primarily, gaining hands on laboratory time using EEG hardware and
EEG and other neuromapping equipment such as fMRI are used ever more frequently to explore social science questions.
For example, neuromapping has been used to help settle questions regarding political campaign strategies in terms of
how people react cognitively and affectively to candidates. More broadly, neuroscience approaches are relevant to social
science because social agents have minds and mental models of other agents, institutions, and interactional patterns.
Understanding of agents’ mental models is essential particularly in small to medium size social systems.
We will meet four times during the early weeks of the quarter. The first meeting is a two hour orientation.
The next two meetings are each 5-6 hours in a laboratory. In the lab, the student learns how to use EEG equipment,
conduct an experiment, and analyze results. The last meeting is a 2 hour re-cap discussion.
Demonstrations will illustrate basic aspects of experimental design and typical results, such as which areas of
the brain are active (or not) in response to different social cues and socially-motivated responses. Many interesting
results can be observed, ranging from concern about social feedback and emotionally-laden value statements, to risk
taking and mental rehearsal of social actions.
As a culmination of the course, each student will design a simple research study and produce a 5-page paper
summarizing the design as well as what was learned from the readings and discussion.
This course is limited to 6-8 students and is open only to students who are officially enrolled in the Human
Complex Systems minor program or by instructor invitation. It may be taken for grade or P/NP. No prior knowledge of
cognitive science or related areas is required.
UCLA students have contributed the following papers from fall 2006 through fall 2007.
Social Cognitive Neuroscience at University of Chicago
Toys read brain waves
Policits on the brain
EEG aids the handicapped
Falling asleep while awake
Your neural fingerprint
Primed for addiction
EEG interface to SecondLife?