What are the biological bases of perceptions, action, movement and thought? Why and how do we remember (or forget) our everyday experiences? Why are playing the violin, performing dance, or simply throwing a ball or frisbee so deliberative and effortful when we are first learning these skills, yet so free of thought and automatic after years of training and experience? How did the human brain – a two and a half pound mass of gelatinous tissue – give rise to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby and his profligate ways and ultimate disillusionment, the brooding Southern families of Faulkner’s Absalom Absalom, the beautiful symmetry of Bach’s partita, the fraught soundscapes of Mahler, or the jarring fragmentation of Picasso’s cubist works? To answer this last question, we need to confront the more fundamental problems posed by the first three questions. In this course, we’ll explore the multifarious roles of the nervous system as: 1.) the substrate for internal representations of the world; 2.) the central organizer and director of behavior; and 3.) the forge of all that is creative in human pursuits. We’ll approach the nervous system from both the bottom-up (i.e., neuronal function) and top-down (i.e., how a visual scene is created; neurological and psychiatric pathologies), as well as explore the manner in which brain structures are built during development and elaborated upon over the course of evolution.