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The Brain and Space (Coursera)

This course is about how the brain creates our sense of spatial location from a variety of sensory and motor sources, and how this spatial sense in turn shapes our cognitive abilities. Knowing where things are is effortless. But “under the hood,” your brain must figure out even the simplest of details about the world around you and your position in it.

Recognizing your mother, finding your phone, going to the grocery store, playing the banjo – these require careful sleuthing and coordination across different sensory and motor domains. This course traces the brain’s detective work to create this sense of space and argues that the brain’s spatial focus permeates our cognitive abilities, affecting the way we think and remember.

The material in this course is based on a book I’ve written for a general audience. The book is called “Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are”, and is available from Amazon.

The course material overlaps with classes on perception or systems neuroscience, and can be taken either before or after such classes.