Perception, Action and the Brain

The three courses in this Coursera Specialization explore the deeply puzzling questions of how the human brain and the rest of the nervous system gather sense information that allows us to perceive the world and act successfully in it. Students take either “Foundational Neuroscience for Perception and Action” or “Medical Neuroscience,” along with the other three courses. The Specialization concludes with a capstone project in which students apply the skills they have learned throughout the courses.

Students learn:

  • The overall structure and function of the human nervous system, how nerve cells generate electrical signals and communicate, and how sensory and motor systems integrate external and internal signals and orchestrate action.
  • The phenomenology of what we see and how the brain generates visual representations that promote successful behavior in a profoundly ambiguous sensory environment.
  • 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.
  • How to use this knowledge of perception and action in academic and real world applications.


  • Multi-faculty collaboration developing a MOOC credentialing series in the brain sciences.
  • Developing a capstone project for students to synthesize lessons learned across three MOOCs.

Media & Publications



  • Brain Sciences
  • Community and Family Medicine
  • Neurobiology
  • Psychology
  • Neuroscience

Project Use:


Launch Date:

  • January 2015