Educational Activities

We believe understanding the human mind is tantamount to understanding the brain's response to the society to which it seeks to adapt. To understand the human mind, we must understand not just anatomical and physiological (i.e., biological) aspects of the brain, but the mechanisms of the society in which the brain functions. The goal of our study and research is the "social mind"--brain functions created by interactions between individuals and the society. And also we believe the social mind is created by the interaction of the brain's basic functions--cognition (intellect), emotions (feelings), and volition (will)--as they seek to adapt themselves to an environment.

Among the various aspects of the social mind, we are specifically interested in clarifying how the functions listed below emerge from the brain's basic functions:

  1. The economic rationality and irrationality of human behavior (economic views);
  2. sense of morality and ethics (ethical views); and
  3. systems of human interpersonal relationships (fraternal views).

As part of efforts to develop competent researchers and engineers, graduate students are required to master the neuroscientific approaches needed to study basic brain functions through experiments, lectures, and discussions. Students build the necessary foundations for such studies at the Tamagawa University Brain Science Institute and the Graduate School of Engineering Brain Informatics, both of which feature leading world-class researchers in the field of basic brain functions.

In addition, through participation in joint research on one of the three themes featuring the social mind, students begin thinking in terms of a new integrative brain science and develop the ability to map out a personal route for their studies and research.

The Brain Science Institute has already ventured into joint research on the brain's social functions on these three themes. Many visiting researchers drawn from outside the campus offer expertise in the arts or social sciences or in new integrative sciences. With research of this kind, whose goal is to integrate state-of-the-art knowledge, we must first establish a central research method, then strive to integrate or combine interrelated fields of study. To this end, our research center has introduced a system that integrates the graduate school doctoral program and the post-doctoral program (a two-stage system). Graduate students meeting the requirements for Stage 1 completion are permitted to proceed to Stage 2 as post-doctoral fellows or the equivalent. Post-doctoral fellows, recruited from across the world, enroll in Stage 2, a training stage for integrative research. Nevertheless, the barriers separating Stage 1 and 2 are low; graduate students in Stage 1 are permitted to attend special lectures or take part in discussions on integrated research, while post-doctoral fellows at Stage 2 are free to attend lectures and practical training sessions generally geared towards Stage 1 students.

Basic education for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers is provided by the Tamagawa University Graduate School of Engineering, the Graduate School of Agriculture, and the Brain Science Institute. In addition, short- and long-term training sessions and education and joint study going beyond the training framework are provided through exchange and joint research programs with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), our primary partner, and through collaborations with RIKEN, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, Showa University, and other institutions. Graduate students can also attend practical English classes to cultivate the communication skills needed to participate in international exchange and the writing skills needed to produce internationally publishable research papers.