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Personal Brain Management (PSYCTRY 182) is offered at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Personal Brain Management begins with a basic overview of brain function, and then moves on to consider some of the “management” methods that exist already, and what the future may hold. Among these topics are new methods for predicting our own futures and modeling ‘what if’ scenarios that might alter risks and benefits of different courses of action, based on our individual genetic background and other elements of personal history and environmental exposures. Key principles from the science of behavior change are introduced, illustrating how important health-related behavioral habits are, and how difficult these can be to change, and why. The course then covers a series of topics that center on personal enhancement of well-being through consideration of stress management, long-term goal and value identification, mapping of long-term goals onto immediate actions, reinforcement learning, meditation, Neurofeedback, and time management. The course emphasizes critical appraisal of tools that are already finding their way to the marketplace, and aims to help students distinguish scientifically validated procedures from those that are not. Final lectures emphasize creative cognition and the concept of “flow”, focusing on what this actually may mean in terms of brain function.

Personal Brain Management Syllabus
1: Course Introduction and Overview
o Personal Brain Management
 why now?
 how is it different from other ‘self-help’ methods?
o Brain orientation
 quick summary of brain evolution
 basic frontal-posterior (output-input) organization
 mismatch detection, resonance and resonance failure
o Neurofeedback
 General principles of biofeedback
 Introduction to MyndPlay system software
o Optional Reading-Homework:
 YouTube video on PBM from TEDx San Diego, 2010: http://youtu.be/rG494qden64.
 Gruzelier, J. (2009). “A theory of alpha/theta neurofeedback, creative performance enhancement, long distance functional connectivity and psychological integration.” Cognitive Processing 10(0): 101-109.
 LaConte, S. M. (2011). “Decoding fMRI brain states in real-time.” Neuroimage 56(2): 440-454.
2: Personal Predictive Modeling
o Predicting health outcomes from genes and biology
o Aging applications and face-aging software
o Predicting health outcomes from behavioral monitoring
o Predicting depression risk
o As easy as it looks?; assessing causal relations, probability calculus, counterfactuals
o Reading-Homework:
 Saphire-Bernstein, S., B. M. Way, et al. (2011). “Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 10.1073/pnas.1113137108
 (optional) Alloy, L. B., L. Y. Abramson, et al. (2006). “Prospective incidence of first onsets and recurrences of depression in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 115(1): 145.
 (optional) Kendler, K. S. and C. O. Gardner (2010). “Dependent Stressful Life Events and Prior Depressive Episodes in the Prediction of Major Depression: The Problem of Causal Inference in Psychiatric Epidemiology.” Arch Gen Psychiatry 67(11): 1120-1127.
 ALSO: Implications of DNA scanning: “My Genome Myself” by Pinker (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11Genome-t.html)
 “DNA as Destiny” by Duncan (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.11/dna.html?pg=4&topic=&topic_set=)
3: – Basics of Behavior Change
o Stages of Change model: Prochaska
 Stages: Precontemplative, Contemplative, Preparation, Action, Maintenance
 Matching treatments to stages of change
o Brain-based theories of reward, learning and decision-making
o Reading-Homework:
 Prochaska, J. O. (2008). “Decision Making in the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.” Medical Decision Making 28(6): 845-849.
 (optional) Rushworth, M. F. S., M. P. Noonan, et al. (2011). “Frontal Cortex and Reward-Guided Learning and Decision-Making.” Neuron 70(6): 1054-1069.
 (optional) Prochaska, J. O. (2008). “Multiple Health Behavior Research represents the future of preventive medicine.” Preventive Medicine 46(3): 281-285.
4: Self-Monitoring: Experience Sampling and Logging
o Mood monitor, c/o Margie Morris
o Affectiva tools, measuring skin conductance and facial expression for marketing, personal development?
o Reading-Homework:
Fletcher, R. R., K. Dobson, et al. (2010). “iCalm: Wearable sensor and network architecture for wirelessly communicating and logging autonomic activity.” Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on 14(2): 215-223.
5: Brain Training
o Education as brain training
o Psychotherapy as brain training
o Brave new world of on-line brain training exercises – panacea or snake oil?
o See Lumosity, Posit Science, Google “brain training”
o Reading-Homework:
 Jaeggi, S. M., M. Buschkuehl, et al. (2008). “Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(19): 6829. [see also “Brain Workshop” where you can download and play the game that yielded generalized improvement…]
 Optional Reading-Homework: Bryck, R. L. and P. A. Fisher (2011). “Training the brain: Practical applications of neural plasticity from the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and prevention science.” American Psychologist.
o InBoxZero: a mantra for the multi-taskers of the world (see Merlin Mann website/video)
o Getting Things Done (GTD): David Allen’s system, with a focus on “stress-free” productivity
o How the brain works in responsive (under stimulus control) versus projectional (under volitional control) modes, and how this relates to our inbox loads and fixation on incoming messages rather than our own plans and goal
o Reading-Homework:
GTD – Finding Your Inside Time (PDF), Getting Email Under Control (PDF), and Micro-Managing Your Mind.
 (Optional) try your own Core Dump!
7: Mobile Health and Psychotherapy
o mHealth overview and future directions
o mHealth applications for brain health, psychological health
o Behavioral Activation and Cognitive Therapies
BAT: principles of aligning long-term goals & values with immediate actions
CBT: principles of re-evaluating one’s own thoughts
o Reading-Homework:
Morris, M. E., Q. Kathawala, et al. (2010). “Mobile therapy: Case study evaluations of a cell phone application for emotional self-awareness.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 12(2): e10.
Optional Reading-Homework: Estrin, D. and I. Sim (2010). “Open mHealth Architecture: An Engine for Health Care Innovation.” Science 330(6005): 759.
Optional Reading-Homework: Newman, M. W., D. Lauterbach, et al. (2011). It’s not that I don’t have problems, I’m just not putting them on Facebook: Challenges and Opportunities in Using Online Social Networks for Health, ACM.
8: Buddhism & the Brain
o Developing mind control; the last few eons of experience
o Modern links of Buddhism & neuroscience
o Mindful awareness, brain function, and health
o The Yerkes-Dodson Law: inverted U curve relating anxiety or arousal to performance
o How to find the “sweet spot” of arousal with respect to your proficiency in a given task
 Reading-Homework: Lutz, A., H. A. Slagter, et al. (2008). “Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12(4): 163-169.
9: Brain & Creativity
o Creativity defined: novelty & utility
o Big C and little c
o Dimensions of creative cognition: generation, working memory, response inhibition
o Persistence, Openness, and Dis-Agreeableness – plus the 10,000 hour effect
o Flow and the psychology of optimal experience
o Reading-Homework:
 M. Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, “Enhancing Personal Creativity” (chapter)
 Liane Gabora, Revenge of the ‘Neurds’: Characterizing Creative Thought in terms of the Structure and Dynamics of Memory, Creativity Research Journal (see http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/liane/papers/neurds.htm)
 Dietrich, A. and R. Kanso (2010). “A review of EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies of creativity and insight.” Psychol Bull 136(5): 822-848.
 Arden, R., R. S. Chavez, et al. (2010). “Neuroimaging creativity: A psychometric
view.” Behavioural Brain Research 214(2): 143-156.
 Seligman, M. E. P. and M. Csikszentmihalyi (2000). “Positive psychology: An introduction.” American Psychologist 55(1): 5-14.
10: You And Your Machines
o Dialectic – Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near) versus Jaron Lanier: You Are Not a Gadget
o Ethical implications of modifying brain function
o Reading-Homework:
 excerpts from “You Are Not a Gadget” by Jaron Lanier
 (optional) Newman, M. W., D. Lauterbach, et al. (2011). It’s not that I don’t have problems, I’m just not putting them on Facebook: Challenges and Opportunities in Using Online Social Networks for Health, ACM

The course is offered by Dr. Robert Bilder, Ph.D., ABPP who is Michael E. Tennenbaum Family Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Psychology UCLA College of Letters and Science

Dr. Robert Bilder: Personal Brain Management TedX San Diego (Video)

For more information about Personal Brain Management (PSYCTRY 182) at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, please visit: http://www.summer.ucla.edu/institutes/BrainMindWellness/curriculum.htm