In this course we will explore the history, animal studies and human studies underlying our understanding of the effects of exercise and meditation on brain function. We will do this through a combination of lectures, journal based readings, group learning sessions, debates as well as 2 special sessions where you will participate in aerobic exercise and meditation sessions.  

The course objectives are three fold. The first is to provide a deep understanding of the human and animal literature on the effects of exercise and meditation on the brain.  There is currently an enormous interest in the cognitive benefits of exercise and meditation and we will examine the scientific evidence for these effects.  A second objective is to develop skills in experimental design and hypothesis generation by spending time developing new experiments to test the next important question based on the scientific literature examined in class.  The third objective is to develop scientific writing skills.  In particular we will focus on developing the skills to write a compelling scientific justification for new experiments that students will develop in class with the assistance of NYU’s writing tutor program.