Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Have you ever asked the question, “How do we learn?” “What happens in the brain when we learn something?” A lot of what we know about learning is thanks to the efforts of scientists and their most important collaborators. Can you guess who? Or maybe even what? They are slugs! Yes, you heard it right–slugs! These sticky and slimy creatures who adore memory games have helped us to understand how humans learn.
Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds Another thing: have you ever wondered what makes gambling so addicting? I mean, pathological gamblers cannot seem to stop their compulsive behavior, even when they rarely win. Why? Well ask a pigeon! Those birds that you see on roofs, laundry lines, and town squares have helped us to understand understand how we change our behavior as a function of reward and punishment.
Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds So we have a slug for memory, and a pigeon for reward and punishment. Now, can you guess which animal is helping us unravel the genetics behind our mathematical activity? Well it’s fish! We work with fish to better comprehend mathematical disabilities. You shouldn’t be surprised to see a Professor of Psychology working in a natural park full of animals. I’m literally surrounded by some of our closest collaborators. Without them, the history of psychology would be different. In this MOOC, we will see how much animals have helped us to understand who we are. In Week 1, we will see how we study animal cognition, and we will do this without the need of any invasive procedure.
Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds For the second week, we will see what animals can tell us about the ancient nature-nurture debate. In Week 3, we will focus on learning mechanisms, especially what happens in the brain when we learn something. Lastly, Week 4 will be devoted to showing the important contributions of some animals in the comprehension of psychopathologies. So if you want to see how “animal” psychology is, you’re enrolling in the right course.