Current Teaching

PSYC185: The Psychology of Climate Crisis

Undergraduate, Next OFFERED WINTER 2023, Tues/Thur

This course provides tools for the student to think about the escalating climate crisis. Urgent action is needed at a large­ societal scale to prevent the worst consequences of anthropogenic global heating. Better understanding the prospects for such action can come from human psychology. How do people arrive at their beliefs? What is the basis of denial and delay? How does belief flow to action? What kinds of actions can people take?

The class is based on Prof Aron’s book on the climate crisis, Cambridge University Press 2022.

PSYC193: Social Movements and Organizing

Undergraduate, Spring 2023

Societal change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, economic inequality, and racial division relies on good policy and legislation, but this is seldom won without social movements of activists and advocates pushing from below. Yet such social movements, especially on the climate crisis, are still much too small to have the strong and urgent impact that is needed. This class asks how the field of psychology can inform our understanding of social movements. We examine the psychology of local collective action, methodological limitations in extant psychology research, the challenges of conducting field studies, and the prospects for a wider social science for achieving a stronger social mobilization to win climate and other policy. Case studies will focus on social movements and policy in the San Diego region, and students will make field trips for civic engagement or other projects.

[Below, Adam with his first undergraduate class on the psychology of the climate crisis in 2019]

Former Teaching

PSYC108: Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

Undergraduate (Large) Class

This class starts by covering basic brain anatomy and modern methods for measuring brain function in humans and non-human animals. It then examines the topics of action, attention, memory, learning, emotion, and language in terms of brain regions and networks. Vignettes help students to consolidate what they have learned in relation to real-world issues and problems around them: drugs for ADHD; environmental toxins leading to Parkinson’s disease; brain-machine prosthetic devices for people who have lost limbs, and how to lay down the best memories. Highly relevant for students minoring or majoring in psychology especially those taking the CBN major; pre-med students; and general science students.

PSYC210: The methods of human cognitive neuroscience

Graduate ProSeminar

Learning objectives:

  • familiarity with most of the neuroscience methods available to study humans
  • appreciation of how various data are analyzed
  • recognition of the strengths, weaknesses, pitfalls and interpretational limitations of each method
  • understanding of reproducibility and rigor

PSYC123: Cognitive control and frontal lobe function

Undergraduate (Small) Class

This course explores a rapidly evolving topic in cognitive neuroscience; the most “human” and recently evolved region of the brain — the frontal lobes. Students will learn how the frontal lobes enable us to engage in complex mental processes, how they work in concert with the rest of the brain, how vulnerable they are to injury, and how devastating the effects of damage often are — leading to chaotic and even criminal behavior. This is a small class, with a flipped-classroom format. There is an emphasis on in-class discussion and students write short papers and make presentations.

[Below, Adam draws attention to climate crisis at a neuroscience meeting]