Student Resources

As a premier research business school, Wharton boasts an outstanding faculty, a thriving MBA program, a strong research PhD training program, and unequaled undergraduate program. These assets are complemented by the University of Pennsylvania and its constituent schools.
Capitalizing on the combined resources of Wharton and Penn, we aim to educate the next generation of leaders at the nexus of brain and decision sciences for careers in business, government, and the academy. The compact, cohesive campus at the University of Pennsylvania provides a unique opportunity for integrated, interdisciplinary, hands-on education at the interface of business, medicine, social sciences, communication, engineering, and education.

Relevant Undergraduate Courses:

MKTG 351 Special Topics: Introduction to Brain Science for Business

Instructor: Michael Platt
Half Semester Course 0.5 cu, Spring 2019

This course will provide an overview of contemporary brain science and its applications to business. Students first will be introduced to the basic anatomy and physiology of the brain and become familiar with important techniques for measuring brain function. The course will then survey major findings in neuroscience with applications to business, including selective attention and advertising; valuation and marketing; decision making and the tyranny of choice; learning, innovation and creativity; and social influence, team-building, and leadership. The course will end with a discussion of ethics, brain-machine interactions, and artificial intelligence.

MKTG 350 Special Topics: Consumer Neuroscience

Half Semester Course 0.5 cu, next course offering Date TBD

Basic neuroscience made steady progress throughout the 20th century with only small areas of application outside of medicine. Over the past 30 years, however, breakthroughs in measurement and computation have accelerated basic research and created major applications for business and technology. Currently, applications to marketing research and product development are experiencing explosive growth that has been met with both excitement and skepticism. This mini-course provides an overview of these developments. The course follows a straightforward theory/application format for each major area of cognitive neuroscience. On Tuesdays, the basics of neuroscience are covered along with a few illustrative applications. A key take-away from this part of the course is to gain the elementary scientific knowledge that is necessary to separate “neuro-reality” from “neuro-hype.” On Thursdays, we cover application areas in greater detail. There are two general types of applications. First, there are applications of neuroscience in marketing research. Topics will range from well-known and widely used applications, such as eye-tracking measures in the lab and the field, to emerging methods and measures, such as mobile EEG, face reading algorithms, and fMRI predictors of market response.

Application areas include, packaging and shelf display, copy testing for telev ision and print advertisements, video games, product usability studies, and simulators. Second, there are applications of neuroscience in the development of new products. Product development applications include wearableting physiological devices and apps, sensory branding for foods and fragrances,n pharmaceuticals and medical devices (especially prosthetic devices), andng neuroscience-based “edutainment” designed to enhance cognitive functions. Special attention will also be paid to changes in brain anatomy and function over the lifespan. Key markets are children (mainly for enhancement products), seniors (mainly for remediation/restoration products), and working adults (both enhancement and remediation/restoration products). This course is self-contained and has no prerequisites. That said, students with some background in business, industrial design, psychology, or neuroscience are likely to find the material covered in this course complementary to the knowledge they already have.

New developments in neuroscience, as well as biometrics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and the human microbiome, offer the opportunity for enhanced precision not only in marketing and finance, but also in the identification of talent, enhancement of performance, and development of full human potential.

PSYC-247-001 Neuroscience and Society

Instructor: Hilary B Gerstein
Fall 2018

Cognitive, social, and affective neuroscience have made tremendous progress in in the last two decades. As this progress continues, neuroscience is becoming increasingly relevant to all of the real-world endeavors that require understanding, predicting and changing human behavior. In this course we will examine the ways in which neuroscience is being applied in law, criminal justice, national defense, education, economics, business, and other sectors of society. For each application area we will briefly review those aspects of neuroscience that are most relevant, and then study the application in more detail.

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 109 or PSYC 149

PSYC 253/PPE 153 Judgment & Decisions

Instructor: Edward Royzman
Fall 2018

Thinking, judgment, and personal and societal decision making, with emphasis on fallacies and biases.

Prerequisite(s): One semester of statistics OR microeconomics

PSYC 265 Behavioral Economics and Psychology

Instructor: Erik Thulin
Fall 2018

Our understanding of markets, governments, and societies rests on our understanding of choice behavior, and the psychological forces that govern it. This course will introduce the study of choice, and will examine in detail what we know about how people make choices, and how we can influence these choices. It will utilize insights from psychology and economics, and will apply these to domains including risky decision making, inter temporal decision making, and social decision making.

Prerequisite(s): Microeconomics and PSYC 001

PSYC 453 Seminar in Decision Making: Judgments and Decisions

Instructor: Barbara Mellers
Fall 2018

This seminar will be a series of engaging discussions on a variety of topics that are important to the field of behavioral decision theory. We’ll cover issues such as constructed preferences, loss aversion, nudging, emotions, well-being, other-oriented decisions, intuitive predictions, unethical choices,and more. Students will be asked to present papers and generate ideas for potential research projects each week. Grades will be based on class contributions and a paper that is either a literature review or a careful and detailed proposal for a research project.

Prerequisite(s):  Psychology 149, 153, or 165, or permission of the instructor.

PSYC 473/BIBB 473/NGG 706 Neuroeconomics

Instructor: Joseph Kable
Spring 2018

This seminar reviews recent research that combines psychological, economic, and neuroscientific approaches to study human and animal decision-making. The course focuses on our current state of knowledge regarding the neuroscience of decision-making, and how evidence concerning the neural processes associated with choices might be used to constrain or advance economic and psychological theories of decision-making. Topics covered will include decisions involving risk and uncertainty, decisions that involve learning from experience, decisions in strategic interactions and games, and social preferences.

Prerequisite(s):  Psychology 149, 153, or 165, or permission of the instructor.

PSYC 490/OIDD 490 The Science of Behavior Change

Instructors: Angela Duckworth and Katherine Milkman
Fall 2018

This advanced seminar will expose students to cutting-edge research from psychology and economics on the most effective strategies for changing behavior for the better (e.g., promoting healthier eating and exercise, encouraging better study habits, and increasing savings rates). The weekly readings cover classic and current research in this area. For each topic we will cover, articles have been carefully chosen, and we will discuss those in detail. The goal is to help students develop the skill of reading and critiquing an academic paper. We will therefore have student led discussions of papers and required summaries. The target audience for this course is advanced undergraduate students interested in behavioral science research and particularly those hoping to learn about using social science to make a positive social impact. We will focus primarily on the applications of behavioral science to improving health, education and financial outcomes.

Admission to this course is by application only. Please complete the application form to be considered for admission: https://tinyurl.com/penn-bcfg-seminar

OIDD 290 Decision Processes

Instructor: Alice Moon
Fall 2018

This course is an intensive introduction to various scientific perspectives on the processes through which people make decisions. Perspectives covered include cognitive psychology of human problem-solving, judgment and choice, theories of rational judgment and decision, and the mathematical theory of games. Much of the material is technically rigorous. Prior or current enrollment in STAT 101 or the equivalent, although not required, is strongly recommended.

OIDD 299 Judgment and Decision Making Research Immersion

Instructor: Maurice Schweitzer
Fall 2018

This class provides a high-level introduction to the field of judgment and decision making (JDM) and in-depth exposure to the process of doing research in this area. Throughout the semester you will gain hands-on experience with several different JDM research projects. You will be paired with a PhD student or faculty mentor who is working on a variety of different research studies. Each week you will be given assignments that are central to one or more of these studies, and you will be given detailed descriptions of the research projects you are contributing to and how your assignments relate to the successful completion of these projects. To complement your hands-on research experience, throughout the semester you will be assigned readings from the book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein, which summarizes key recent ideas in the JDM literature. You will also meet as a group for an hour once every three weeks with the class’s faculty supervisor and all of his or her PhD students to discuss the projects you are working on, to discuss the class readings, and to discuss your own research ideas stimulated by getting involved in various projects. Date and time to be mutually agreed upon by supervising faculty and students. the 1CU version of this course will involve approx. 10 hours of research immersion per week and a 10-page paper. The 0.5 CU version of this course will involve approx 5 hours of research immersion per week and a 5-page final paper. Please contact Maurice Schweitzer if you are interested in enrolling in the course: schweitzer@wharton.upenn.edu

COMM 310-301 The Communication Research Experience

Instructor: Emily Falk
Fall 2018

In this hands-on course students will work with active researchers in the Communication Neuroscience lab at Penn to gain experience in how research works. Research topics will depend on student interests, with emphasis on one or more of the following: social influence and persuasion, health communication, peer influence in teens, mobile technology, social media, emotion regulation, peace and conflict resolution, mindfulness, interpersonal communication, political communication, adolescent brain development, communication neuroscience. Students will have the opportunity to interact closely with a mentor and will gain experience conceptualizing research questions, designing experiments, collecting data, and making an analysis plan.

Prerequisite(s): COMM 210 (Communication Research Methods) or permission of the instructor.

Important notes: Permission Needed From Instructor

Relevant Graduate Courses:

MKTG 851 Special Topics: Introduction to Brain Science for Business

Instructor: Michael Platt
Half Semester Course 0.5 cu, Spring 2019

This course will provide an overview of contemporary brain science and its applications to business. Students first will be introduced to the basic anatomy and physiology of the brain and become familiar with important techniques for measuring brain function. The course will then survey major findings in neuroscience with applications to business, including selective attention and advertising; valuation and marketing; decision making and the tyranny of choice; learning, innovation and creativity; and social influence, team-building, and leadership. The course will end with a discussion of ethics, brain-machine interactions, and artificial intelligence.

MKTG 850 Special Topics: Consumer Neuroscience

Half Semester Course 0.5 cu, next course offering TBD

Basic neuroscience made steady progress throughout the 20th century with only small areas of application outside of medicine. Over the past 30 years, however, breakthroughs in measurement and computation have accelerated basic research and created major applications for business and technology. Currently, applications to marketing research and product development are experiencing explosive growth that has been met with both excitement and skepticism. This mini-course provides an overview of these developments. The course follows a straightforward theory/application format for each major area of cognitive neuroscience. On Tuesdays, the basics of neuroscience are covered along with a few illustrative applications. A key take-away from this part of the course is to gain the elementary scientific knowledge that is necessary to separate “neuro-reality” from “neuro-hype.” On Thursdays, we cover application areas in greater detail. There are two general types of applications. First, there are applications of neuroscience in marketing research. Topics will range from well-known and widely used applications, such as eye-tracking measures in the lab and the field, to emerging methods and measures, such as mobile EEG, face reading algorithms, and fMRI predictors of market response.

Application areas include, packaging and shelf display, copy testing for telev ision and print advertisements, video games, product usability studies, and simulators. Second, there are applications of neuroscience in the development of new products. Product development applications include wearableting physiological devices and apps, sensory branding for foods and fragrances,n pharmaceuticals and medical devices (especially prosthetic devices), andng neuroscience-based “edutainment” designed to enhance cognitive functions. Special attention will also be paid to changes in brain anatomy and function over the lifespan. Key markets are children (mainly for enhancement products), seniors (mainly for remediation/restoration products), and working adults (both enhancement and remediation/restoration products). This course is self-contained and has no prerequisites. That said, students with some background in business, industrial design, psychology, or neuroscience are likely to find the material covered in this course complementary to the knowledge they already have.

New developments in neuroscience, as well as biometrics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and the human microbiome, offer the opportunity for enhanced precision not only in marketing and finance, but also in the identification of talent, enhancement of performance, and development of full human potential.

PSYC 473/BIBB 473/NGG 706 Neuroeconomics

Instructor: Joseph Kable
Spring 2018

This seminar reviews recent research that combines psychological, economic, and neuroscientific approaches to study human and animal decision-making. The course focuses on our current state of knowledge regarding the neuroscience of decision-making, and how evidence concerning the neural processes associated with choices might be used to constrain or advance economic and psychological theories of decision-making. Topics covered will include decisions involving risk and uncertainty, decisions that involve learning from experience, decisions in strategic interactions and games, and social preferences.

Prerequisite(s):  Psychology 149, 153, or 165, or permission of the instructor.

PSYC 557-301 Neuroscience, Ethics & Law

Instructor: Martha Farah
Spring 2019

How does the neuroscience of human decision-making and emotion impact our understanding of ethics and law? What can neuroscience tell us about why people find actions moral or immoral, worthy of praise or punishment? What, if anything, can it tell us normatively about morality, agency and responsibility? And what other insights might neuroscience offer regarding other morally and legally relevant phenomena such as stereotyping and bias, the causes of antisocial behavior and the detection of deception?

Prerequisite(s):  Permission needed from instructor.

COMM 811-301 Neurobiology of Social Influence

Instructor: Emily Falk
Next course offering TBD

A graduate level statistics course, ability to read primary research articles in cognitive neuroscience (no course prereqs, but students with less background may need to do supplemental work at the front end). Considerable resources are devoted to constructing mass media campaigns that persuade individuals exert powerfully influence one another without even knowing it. Still, our ability to design and select optimal messages and interventions is far from perfect. This course will review investigations in social and cognitive psychology and communication sciences that attempt to circumvent the limits of introspection by using biological and implicit measures, with particular focus on neuroimaging studies of social influence and media effects.

Prerequisite(s): no course prereqs, but students with less background may need to do supplemental work at the front end

COMM 880-301 The Social Neuroscience of Communication

Instructor: Emily Falk
Fall 2018

This interdisciplinary course focuses on understanding the mechanisms of social thinking, media effects and interpersonal communication across multiple levels of analysis. We use the brain as one powerful window to understand and predict outcomes that are challenging to predict otherwise. The course will cover foundational readings and involve weekly, seminar style discussions of recent papers in social neuroscience, neuroeconomics and communication science.

BE 566-401/ESE 566-401 Network Neuroscience

Instructor: Danielle Bassett
Fall 2017

The human brain produces complex functions using a range of system components over varying temporal and spatial scales. These components are couples together by heterogeneous interactions, forming an intricate information-processing network. In this course, we will cover the use of network science in understanding such large-scale and neuronal-level brain circuitry.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or permission of the instructor. Experience with Linear Algebra and MATLAB.

MGMT 801 Entrepreneurship

Instructor: Laura Huang
Fall 2017

Management 801 is the foundation course in the Entrepreneurial Management program. The purpose of this course is to explore the many dimensions of new venture creation and growth. While most of the examples in class will be drawn from new venture formation, the principles also apply to entrepreneurship in corporate settings and to non-profit entrepreneurship. We will be concerned with content and process questions as well as with formulation and implementation issues that relate to conceptualizing, developing, and managing successful new ventures. The emphasis in this course is on applying and synthesizing concepts and techniques from functional areas of strategic management, finance, accounting, managerial economics, marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior in the context of new venture development. The class serves as both a stand alone class and as a preparatory course to those interested in writing and venture implementation (the subject of the semester-long course, MGMT806). Format: Lectures and case discussions Requirements: Class participation, interim assignments, final project.

Prerequisite(s): Wharton MBA students only.

PHYS 585/BE 530 Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

Instructor: Vijay Balasubramanian
Spring 2018

This course will develop theoretical and computational approaches to structural and functional organization in the brain. The course will cover: (i) the basic biophysics of neural responses, (ii) neural coding and decoding with an emphasis on sensory systems, (iii) approaches to the study of networks of neurons, (iv) models of adaptation, learning and memory, (v) models of decision making, and (vi) ideas that address why the brain is organized the way that it is. The course will be appropriate for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. A knowledge of multi- variable calculus, linear algebra and differential equations is required (except by permission of the instructor).  Prior exposure to neuroscience and/or Matlab programming will be helpful.

Prerequisite(s): 

Mathematics: Knowledge of multi-variable calculus, some linear algebra and some differential equations is necessary for this course. The methods will be developed in class for the benefit of students without much exposure to this material.

Students without some prior background must have the permission of the instructor to take this class. Computation: Prior knowledge of MATLAB will be useful, but students will go through programming exercises to develop their skills. Neuroscience: Basic knowledge of the architecture of the brain, and of the mechanisms of neural signaling will be very useful.  However, for the benefit of students from physics and bioengineering without background in neuroscience, the necessary material will also be developed in class and in tutorial sessions.

Executive Education Program Announcement

Leveraging Neuroscience for Business Impact - Open Enrollment - Spring, 2019 (May 13-16, 2019)

Leveraging Neuroscience for Business Impact is a highly interactive new program offered by Wharton Executive Education in Philadelphia. Led by Professor Michael Platt, director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative, and taught by a team of faculty from across the university, the program is a blend of lectures, case studies, experiential sessions, and small-group work that will help you apply the latest insights from neuroscience to your organizational challenges. An interdisciplinary team of Wharton faculty will share major findings in neuroscience with applications to business, including selective attention and advertising; valuation and marketing; decision making and the tyranny of choice; learning, innovation, and creativity; user experience and product design; and social influence, team building, and leadership.

Session topics include:

  • Tools of the Trade: How to Measure and Manipulate Brain Function
  • The Neuroscience of Decision Making: Tools for the C-Suite
  • Vision and Attention for Design and Advertising
  • The Social Brain: Cultivating Leadership and Building Team Chemistry
  • The Neuroscience of Motivation and Engagement: Beyond the Focus Group
  • Managing Innovation through Brain Science
  • Brain Training and Performance Enhancement

Join a Team

If you are a current matriculating University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, graduate or professional student, let us know what kind of work interests you and we’ll try to match you up with a relevant research team.
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