Bad Brains

Core Studies in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Medical Anthropology

In this example, a student wanted to examine different conceptions of normal versus pathological, and how pathology or deficiencies in functioning contribute to our understanding of the mind/brain. Her studies encompassed current work in psychology and the neurosciences, including the role of development in the shaping of normal and 'abnormal' functioning, as well as work in history, medical anthropology, and cross-cultural psychology. The questions that guided this study included: What counts as abnormal or pathological mental functioning, and how does this help us to understand conceptions of the mind/brain and normal functioning? What role do these conceptions play in constructing an individual's sense of self and role in the community?

Several  Division I courses provided a foundation for this concentration, including Disease, Famine, and War; Brain and Cognition I; Developmental Psychopathology; Nuns, Saints, and Mystics; and Consciousness Considered.

The CBD concentration included the following courses or independent studies.

Intellectual breadth

Biological sciences

  • Neuropathology
  • The Anthropology of Violence

Social and cultural sciences

  • Psychology and Culture
  • Altered States

Cognitive sciences

  • Birth of Mind
  • Language and the Brain

Core studies

Moral Psychology
Abnormal Psychology
Consciousness Reconsidered
Philosophy and History of Psychology (Smith)
Medical Anthropology
Madness and Politics (Amherst)
Independent study on cross-cultural psychopharmacology

Integrative studies

CBD Course: Brain, Mind, and Culture
CBD Course: Emotions and the Brain


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CBD (Program in Culture, Brain, and Development)
Mail Code CS
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002