Hamster in lab during a behavior test. (Image courtesy of Schneider Laboratory, MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.)
This course is designed to give graduate students hands-on training in animal behavior. Most universities train their students to study animals in boxes; this course helps future researchers study animals and their behaviors independent of their surroundings and how their surroundings impact their behavior. There is an extensive reading list
that provides students with a thorough grounding in the field of animal behavior. There are also final exam
questions to help students understand the breadth as well as the depth of the course.
The course includes survey and special topics designed for graduate students in the brain and cognitive sciences. It emphasizes ethological studies of natural behavior patterns and their analysis in laboratory work, with contributions from field biology (mammology, primatology), sociobiology, and comparative psychology. It stresses mammalian behavior but also includes major contributions from studies of other vertebrates and of invertebrates. It covers some applications of animal-behavior knowledge to neuropsychology and behavioral pharmacology.