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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Sleep: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of One of Life's Great Mysteries

Instructor(s): Chris Vecsey, Neuroscience

What is the behavioral state in which we spend almost a third of our lives, and yet about which we know sparingly little?  Sleep. Students will learn about sleep primarily from a biological perspective and will compare and contrast what we know (and still don’t know) about the nature of sleep with the treatments of sleep in other disciplines, such as art, literature, philosophy, and psychology. We will learn about how we define sleep, the many ways sleep can be studied in humans and other animals, dreams and what they might be telling us, many of the disorders that influence sleep, some of the possible functions of sleep, and how modern science and technology may transform sleep, for the better and the worse. Along the way, we will also address the challenges of sleep data collection, how primary and secondary scientific sources differ, how to disseminate scientific information in a way that keeps the audience’s attention, and why sleep matters.


Course Offered