Middlebury

 

Mark Stefani

Assistant Professor of Psychology

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Phone: work802.443.5823
Office Hours: TBD and by appointment.
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Mark Stefani is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and an affiliated faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience. Prof. Stefani received his B.A., in biochemistry, from the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D., in neuroscience, from the University of Virginia. He taught for a year at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA, before continuing on to a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at the Yale University Medical School. He became a member of the Middlebury faculty in 2006, coming from a research faculty position in the Neuroscience Department at the University of Pittsburgh.

Professor Stefani teaches Psychological Statistics, Physiological Psychology, Conditioning and Learning, Neuropsychology, Neurobiology of Memory and Cognition, and Mind, Science, and Self-Concept. In addition to teaching, he supervises an active research laboratory working in the field of behavioral neuroscience. His current work focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms involved in cognitively demanding tasks that involve not only learning, but the ability to decide between competing responses. He is particularly interested in the role of the prefrontal cortex in memory, selective attention, response selection and inhibition, and strategy-shifting. These cognitive abilities are necessary for prioritizing goals and coordinating behavior across time, and are impaired in disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson disease, and addiction. His broader interests include behavioral economics, the neuroscience of ethical and religious behavior, and the role of neuroscience in society. He loves to cook, perform card tricks and has recently considered learning to play the bassoon.

 

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1360 - From Synapse to Self      

From Synapse to Self
The discoveries of psychology and neuroscience challenge long-standing Western conceptions of personal identity, the permanence of the self, and the nature of free will. Can networks of neurons alone store memories and give rise to thought, agency, and moral behavior? Are all thoughts and behaviors biologically determined? Is our sense of a unitary, permanent self an illusion? In this seminar we will explore these questions; examine the relationships between nervous system function, mental processes, and personal identity; and survey the development and influence of "brain science" by reading and discussing the works of scientists, philosophers, novelists, and artists. 3 hrs sem.

CW SCI SOC

Spring 2012

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NSCI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)

Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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NSCI 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)

Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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NSCI 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Senior NSCI majors who have completed one or more terms of NSCI 0700, who have a GPA of 3.3 in their major courses, and who plan to complete a senior thesis should register for NSCI 0701 for the final semester of the senior thesis process. Students enrolled in NSCI 0701 write a thesis, give a public presentation of their research, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least two Neuroscience faculty members. Faculty may recommend High honors in Neuroscience after considering the quality of these components of a student’s thesis and the student’s GPA in major courses. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (NSCI 0700, Approval required)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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PSYC 0201 - Psychological Statistics      

Psychological Statistics
This course will examine statistical methods used in the behavioral and biological sciences. Students will learn the logic underlying statistical analysis, focusing primarily on inferential techniques. They also will become familiar with the application and interpretation of statistics in psychological empirical research, including the use of computer software for conducting and interpreting statistical tests analysis. (PSYC 0105; Fall: open to psychology and neuroscience majors and undeclared majors, others by waiver; Spring: open to psychology and neuroscience majors; others by waiver. Not open to students who have taken MATH 0116 or ECON 0210) 3 hrs. lect./1.5 hr. lab

DED

Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0301 / NSCI 0301 - Physiological Psychology      

Physiological Psychology
This course concerns the biological basis of human behavior. The course will consider the neurochemical, neuroanatomical, and neurophysiological bases of processes such as language, sensation, emotion, aggression, sleep, learning, and memory. In the laboratory the student will conduct experiments using standard (surgical, anatomical, biochemical, behavioral) techniques to investigate central nervous system function. (PSYC 0105 or any biology course; not open to first-year students; open to psychology and neuroscience majors; others by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

SCI

Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2013

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PSYC 0302 / NSCI 0302 - Conditioning and Learning      

Conditioning and Learning
This course introduces students to a wide range of scientific theories regarding the research and theories relating to how animals, including humans, learn about events in thethe causal structure of their environment and shape their behaviors in response. A contemporary review ofStudents will learn the principles of classical and instrumental conditioning, motivation, cognition, and problem-solving; become familiar with the research supporting these theories; and discuss practical applications to education, psychological disorders, and behavioral therapies.generated by the experimental analysis of behavior is considered within the context of a psychobiological approach to learning and behavior. (PSYC 0105; not open to first-year students; open to psychology and neuroscience majors; others by waiver) 3 hrs. lect.

SCI

Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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PSYC 0311 / NSCI 0311 - Neuropsychology      

Neuropsychology
In this course we will examine the relationships between human brain function and behavior, with emphasis on the behavioral consequences of brain injury and disease. Students will gain a basic knowledge of brain anatomy and neural function, followed by more detailed study of the neural systems that support cognitive processes such as perception, memory, attention, language, decision making and consciousness. (PSYC 0105; not open to first-year students; open to psychology and neuroscience majors; others by waiver) 3 hrs. lect.

SCI

Spring 2012

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PSYC 0350 - Directed Research      

Directed Research in Psychology
Directed research provides opportunities for advanced students to become familiar with and participate in ongoing research projects under the direction of a faculty member. The student will first read background literature on the content area to be investigated and experimental methodologies to be used. Procedures involved in conducting psychological research will then be learned through firsthand experience. Potential activities include the design of research and the defining of conceptual variables and the gathering, analyzing, and interpretation of data. Finally, students will learn how to write technical articles in psychology by preparing a paper describing the project, using APA style. (Approval required; not open to first-year students) 3 hrs. lect.

Spring 2010, Winter 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0433 / NSCI 0433 - Neurobiology Memory Cognition      

Neurobiology of Memory and Cognition
In this course we will explore the neurobiological mechanisms that allow animals, humans included, to store, process and recall information used to guide behavior. We will discuss topics that include cellular and chemical mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, network theories of brain function, cognitive enhancement, and the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders. Through reading and discussion of review articles and the primary scientific literature, students will gain an in-depth understanding of how neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology translate into behavior and complex cognitive abilities. (PSYC 0301 or by waiver; open to junior and senior psychology and neuroscience majors only) 3 hrs. sem.

Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0500 - Advanced Research      

Advanced Research
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced students majoring in psychology. (Approval required)

Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
A program of research arranged to meet the needs of advanced senior majors in psychology. (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0701 - Senior Thesis Proposal      

Senior Thesis Proposal
Students hoping to be considered as candidates for departmental honors must enroll in PSYC 0701 under the sponsorship of a department faculty member and submit a formal, written research proposal to the department by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday during the final week of fall classes in their senior year. If the proposal is approved, the student will enroll in PSYC 0702 during the winter term and PSYC 0703 during the spring term of their senior year. (Feb graduates should consult with their advisors about the appropriate semester in which to begin a thesis.) (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0702 - Senior Thesis Second Semester      

Senior Thesis Second Semester
Students whose honors thesis proposal (PSYC 0701) has been approved will collect, analyze, and interpret their data. This is the second semester of the 3-semester senior thesis. (PSYC 0201, PSYC 0202, and PSYC 0701; Approval required)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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PSYC 0703 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis*
This is the third and final semester of the senior thesis. Students will finish analyzing, and interpreting their data. This process culminates in a written thesis to be submitted by 5 p.m. on the Monday BEFORE the final week of spring classes, a presentation, and an oral defense. The decision about awarding departmental honors will be made after the student submits the thesis. (PSYC 0201, PSYC 0202, and PSYC 0702; Approval required)

Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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Media Coverage

Middlebury Magazine

http://middmag.com/2010/03/02/brain-matters/