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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Stress and the Human Brain

Instructor(s): Sarita Lagalwar, Neuroscience

Can we change the way our body handles stress by simply altering our mindset?  Our stress response evolved to help us flee our predators and catch our prey.  Although we may face few predator/prey scenarios in modern daily life, we are continuously bombarded with an onslaught of stressors resulting in chronic stress.  These include major events (illness, financial pressures, beginning college) as well as acute occurrences (waiting in line, studying for exams).  In this course, through readings and discussion, we will examine the cultural, physiological, neuroscientific and molecular mechanisms that underlie our body's response to chronic stress.  Additionally we will critically consider the psychological concept of mindset, develop an understanding of how our brain controls and is controlled by our mindset, and scientifically investigate how mindset may influence the stress response.  Accompanying our study of stress will be engagement in stress reduction techniques including yoga, meditation and nature excursions.


Course Offered: