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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Brain and Space by Duke University

550 ratings
150 reviews

About the Course

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, Barnes and Noble, or directly from Harvard University Press. The course material overlaps with classes on perception or systems neuroscience, and can be taken either before or after such classes. Dr. Jennifer M. Groh, Ph.D. Professor Psychology & Neuroscience; Neurobiology Duke University Jennifer M. Groh is interested in how the brain process spatial information in different sensory systems, and how the brain's spatial codes influence other aspects of cognition. She is the author of a recent book entitled "Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are" (Harvard University Press, fall 2014). Much of her research concerns differences in how the visual and auditory systems encode location, and how vision influences hearing. Her laboratory has demonstrated that neurons in auditory brain regions are sometimes responsive not just to what we hear but also to what direction we are looking and what visual stimuli we can see. These surprising findings challenge the prevailing assumption that the brain’s sensory pathways remain separate and distinct from each other at early stages, and suggest a mechanism for such multi-sensory interactions as lip-reading and ventriloquism (the capture of perceived sound location by a plausible nearby visual stimulus). Dr. Groh has been a professor at Duke University since 2006. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University in 1988 before studying neuroscience at the University of Michigan (Master’s, 1990), the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 1993), and Stanford University (postdoctoral, 1994-1997). Dr. Groh has been teaching undergraduate classes on the neural basis of perception and memory for over fifteen years. She is presently a faculty member at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences at Duke University. She also holds appointments in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke. Dr. Groh’s research has been supported by a variety of sources including the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program, the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, the John Merck Scholars Program, the EJLB Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Whitehall Foundation, and the National Organization for Hearing Research....

Top reviews

Sep 8, 2020

I like the details that this course provides about the functionality of the brain. Dr Groh definitely took her time to prepare this course, and she likes to go in depth detail about everything.

Aug 15, 2020

One of the best Neuroscience courses took in my life. The professor is very good at teaching and amazing personality and her research team is very great. Hope one day she would win Nobel Prize

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126 - 149 of 149 Reviews for The Brain and Space

By Tata V S R

May 15, 2020

It is an informative course for every adult. It adds up to clarity in one's ability in regards to basic perception.

Auditory issues discussed appear to be limited to proximities from the top and horizontal, but in reality, in my personnel experience, the sound terminating from the bottom creates a doubt in the mind.

The wind factor is another issue which creates confusion with regards to location and its ability to influence or alter the sound wave.

For the rest, it is a real and highly valuable experience gained and all credit goes to Professor Jennifer M.Groh.

By Carolina P

Jul 5, 2016

This is an excellent course for those who want to get a better understanding about the brain and how it processes everyday stimulus. The professor is without doubt very knowledgable and explains everything in a very professional and yet simple way.

By Thomas M

Feb 1, 2020

It was a fun course. I really learnt a lot, through her lectures, especially the different experiments. Really appreciate Coursera for providing with financial aid for me to take the class :)

By Alihan H

Aug 25, 2021

The curriculum of the course was well structured and the instructor was great. It could have been a bit longer as it was hard to follow sometimes due to its busy schedule.

By Nanayakkara H L T D

Jan 24, 2021

I learned many more things about brain and space. Thank you coursera for giving this opportunity and I think It's very helpful for my career .

By Hanno H

Jan 9, 2017

Very nice and clearly presented. The only reason for not giving 5 stars is that I would have liked more details and more lectures.

By Nell L

Feb 3, 2020

Great examples and insightful content. The quizzes were not so easy to pass, so be ready for real learning!

By Gerald B

Feb 25, 2018

awesome course, my only negative comment is that is was too brief.

Great, clear, interesting professor!


Apr 26, 2021

This course is really practical. It reinforced my knowledge of cognition and memory.

By Rajat J K

Nov 12, 2017

Wonderful use of examples with regard to experiments, images and videos.

By Daniel M

Jan 17, 2020

Easy to get into and deep in detail and learning


Jul 11, 2020


By Carlos A G T

Apr 20, 2017


By Paul B

Feb 23, 2017

Very interesting topic and good presentation. I took the noncredit option and this was the first course I've taken at Coursera (including Duke) that did not allow me to get answers to quizzes I wanted to take (so I stopped taking them and feel I learned less). In lesson 2.7 (I think) where an in-lesson quiz was offered that asked me to choose between A, B, C, or D the visual disappeared so that I was hindered when presented with the questions to answer. A typo (its vs. it's) I noticed in a later lesson graphic (maybe lesson 6 somewhere). Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to learn about my brain and space.

By giulio b

May 4, 2020

This course represents a good start in order to study space and brain relationship. However the lack of principles in neuroscience, related topics such as mirror neuron systems, a deeper knowledge on motor cortex culd lead to important misconceptions and limits. It's really a good start but the course need more reliable contents, scientific reasoning and debate.

Your Kindly,

Giulio Bindi

By Atiah H A

Sep 12, 2021

Nice Course but it it close to medication field

By b n

Nov 6, 2018

An interesting overview.

By Bidut S

Mar 19, 2021

Good and great

By Marcia S

Feb 1, 2021

I cannot figure out how to drop this course. It is not close enough to my needs as a Behavioral Scientist to warrant continuing. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You.


Nov 1, 2016

very basic information from high-school STEM classes

By Neeva S

Feb 13, 2018

The presentation is so poor just like the instructor. I found this lesson to be vague for most parts and then extremely detailed for other

By Jenny K

Jan 14, 2021

I'd like to unenroll from this course. I signed up an hour ago or so. The three dots do not give me a drop down that to unenroll.

By Janet T

Aug 17, 2017

waste of time. Did not finish the course.

By Olivier D P

Oct 4, 2021