* subject to change *

Deliverable/Due Dates

Week 1

Jan 13

LECTURE: From Epicurus to Panksepp: course introduction, philosophical and historical perspective of the field. IN-CLASS: Take brief survey (not for grade) on class core concepts  

Week 2

Jan 20

SCREENING: Brain Hero. IN-CLASS: Brain Architecture Game (in teams of 3-4 people)(1 credit toward participation)   

Week 3

Jan 27

LECTURE: The impact of timing and quality of early childhood experiences in brain development, toxic stress, executive function EXTRA CREDIT: Prepare a 1-2 page reflective blog post of one’s personal environment of relationships at critical periods (submit via Blackboard)

Week 4

Feb 3

LECTURE: Resilience and lifelong health outcomes, sensitive periods, neuroplasticity, what lies ahead, unanswered questions vs. hard evidence, junk science, brain training games. GUEST: Pat Levitt, PhD  TAKE-HOME EXAM: topics announced by email 

Week 5

Feb 10

LECTURE: Affect regulation, emotional systems, trauma, anxiety, depression, science of psychotherapy, challenges of measuring emotion. DEMO: Nevermind. GUESTJeff Newell, USC Psychology Dept, PhD student.  

Week 6

Feb 17

LECTURE: Theory of mind, mentalization, mindfulness, presence, empathy assessments and interventions. DEMO: Pluff, Social Clues. IN-CLASS: Form groups for GROUP PROJECT I, receive topics.  

Week 7

Feb 24

LECTURE: Sensorimotor control, action perception, biological motion perception, mirroring, synchrony, affinity, motion sensing technology. DEMO: Watergait, Adventurous Dreaming Highflying Dragon  TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE via Blackboard 

Week 8

Mar 3


LECTURE: Self and identity, gender, LGBTQ issues, bullying, personality, activist games, school-based training, social dynamics of play, modeling. SCREENING/DEMO: Oral History Project (The Lavender Effect), Finding Zoe   

Week 9

Mar 10

LECTURE: Aging, chronic illness, quality of life, isolation, intergenerational issues, gerotechnology, interactive neurotherapeutics. DEMO: Skyfarer, The Voice in the Garden. GUEST: Maryalice Jordan-Marsh, PhD, RN, FAAN

Week 10 – Spring Break

Mar 17


Week 11

Mar 24

LECTURE: Orphan & emerging challenges in public health, neuroscience and medicine; the legacy of mind/body dualism, reframing mental health, redefining the user/patient/ client/human experience. DEMO: Next Week’s Game, Code Black excerpt  WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT I DUE:2-3 page critical experience analysis of an existing intervention OR, 2-3 page design rationale proposal for a new intervention 

Week 12

Mar 31

LECTURE: Death, grief and bereavement, suicide, survivor guilt, epigenetic impact, social media, virtual archiving. GUEST: Pamelyn Close, MDDEMO: Inner Vision, The Night Journey 

Week 13

Apr 7

LECTURE: Using a transtheoretical heuristic to design theory-informed interventions I: cognitive challenge, affect regulation, dialectical engagement, somatic gratification, socioecological validity, semiotic integrity. SCREENING: [experiment excerpts]. DEMO: Enchanted Garden.  WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT II DUE:2-3 page literature review on special topic related to aging with critical look at implementation of existing interventions +GROUP PROJECT I DUE   

Week 14

Apr 14

Video recording of full body interactive entertainment experience for Group II project

Week 15

Apr 21

LECTURE: Using a transtheoretical heuristic to design and evaluate theory-informed interventions: cognitive challenge, affect regulation, dialectical engagement, somatic gratification, socioecological validity, semiotic integrity. 

Week 16

Apr 28

LECTURE: Study design as experience design, ethics, consent form design, recruitment, data collections; class exit survey  WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT III DUE: Use the transtheoretical heuristic to refine your previous paper to propose an intervention and study design that can help answer a research question or provide data for testing a hypothesis.  


May 11




WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT IV DUE: Prepare a study informed consent form for your previously proposed intervention

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