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Culture, Brain, and Development

The Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) program encourages and supports students who are developing intellectually adventurous concentrations that engage the intersections of culture, mind/brain, and human biological development.

CBD provides an arena in which perspectives from a range of disciplines are brought to bear on questions such as: "How do children learn about and create culture?" "How do biology and culture influence brain development and health?" "How does gender differ across cultures and affect how we process the world?" "How does typical versus atypical brain development impact how we become social agents?" and "How do our life experiences influence the expression of genes?"

Through its initiatives and programs, CBD fosters an active student group and leads a yearly off campus student retreat, supports and designs interdisciplinary courses, funds students to work at unpaid internships and research placements, provides competitive grants for student research projects, and brings nationally and internationally recognized speakers to campus for lecturers, seminars, film screenings, and other events.

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Associated Faculty

Hampshire Professor Jane Couperus
Dean of School of Cognitive Science, Associate Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Associate Professor of Physiology
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Director of Culture, Brain and Development Program

Student Project Titles

Sample First-Year Course

Adolescent Development

Adolescence is often thought of as a time of great change and upheaval as children navigate the transition into adulthood. Raging hormones, changing social expectations and relationships, and developing autonomy all contribute to this tumultuous time. This course will examine the biological, cognitive, and social changes that occur during adolescence to develop a better understanding of this unique period of development. Using psychological as well as neuroscience and social science literatures the course will examine adolescence through multiple perspectives to develop a well-rounded picture of this developmental period. Students will be asked to read primary literature in psychology and neuroscience as well as from other relevant fi elds such as anthropology and sociology.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

Through the Consortium

Facilities and Resources

Event-Related Potential (ERP) Lab
Hampshire is one of the few undergraduate institutions where students have the ability to do their own research examining brain activity. In the Event-Related Potential (ERP) Lab, student researchers can use EEGs (electroencephalograms) to observe brain activity while participants perform various computer tasks. This allows us to learn about the timecourse and general location of brain activity related to specific tasks. Students learn to use these techniques through classes, and then work on faculty research and/or design their own research projects.

Neuroendocrinology and Behavior (NEB) Lab
The Neuroendocrinology and Behavior (NEB) Lab is a space and collaborative group of students and faculty doing research to test questions about the role of the nervous and endocrine systems in behavior. Major areas of focus in the lab are social behaviors (parental behavior, pair-bonding, empathy, etc.) and stress reactivity (physiological responses to acute or chronic stressors including brain regulatory and epigenetic mechanisms).

The lab is equipped with two environmental chambers, a microtome, and a microplate reader for tissue histology and hormone immunoassays. We also have tools for controlled behavioral and physiological testing. Early life social environment has profound influence on brain organization and behavioral repertoire. Exposure to stressors can similarly generate lasting modifications to brain function and behavior. The NEB lab is a place to examine the mechanisms for these changes in a community of scholars.

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Office of the Dean of Faculty
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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Fax: 413.559.6081