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Social Cognition and Drugs in Spain

Program full for summer 2024

We hope to offer this program again in a future summer.

Faculty Leader

Jaime Pineda 

PinedaJaime A. Pineda is Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. He is particularly interested in human social cognition, its neural basis, the effects of culture, and how it is expressed in children on the autism spectrum. He is the author of many widely cited papers and books, including a collection of research on the functional significance of mirror neurons, Mirror Neuron Systems: The Role of Mirroring Processes in Social Cognition, which includes Professor Pineda’s work on autism. He is the author of The Social Impulse: The Evolution and Neuroscience of What Brings Us Together. His latest book is Controlling Mental Chaos: Harnessing the Power of the Creative Mind. Professor Pineda has led similar UC San Diego Global Seminars in Parma, Italy (2015, 2016) and Sydney, Australia (2017, 2018) and is passionate about internationalizing the study of social cognition.


Why you should go

One focus of Dr. Pineda’s Global Seminar is the neurobiology of art and the effect of culture on human perception. Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions. It is the most important center of Catalan culture and identity (they speak Catalan and Spanish).  Not only is Barcelona an artistic city, with unique architecture, but it has a vibrant culture. Thus, Barcelona is the perfect setting to examine, discuss, and experience issues of social cognition and the effects of cultural norms on how individuals interact. Weekly field trips to some of the city’s unique artistic sites, including art museums, will give students first-person perspective on the issues discussed in class with respect to mirror neurons and art. We will visit Antoni Gaudi architectural wonders, including La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, the Museo de Historia Catalunya, the Picasso Museum, and the Cosmo Caixa Science Museum. 

Who should go

While both courses will have a neuroscience flavor, there are no prerequisites and no background is required. The only prerequisite is interest and curiosity about the neural basis of social cognition and the effects of drugs on the brain. And, of course, excitement about traveling to a new city with a unique culture. The two courses in this Global Seminar will fulfill graduation requirements for the neuroscience specialization in Cognitive Science. Please consult your academic advisor to determine whether and how the courses will apply to  your specific graduation requirements.

Information Sessions

  • Winter Info Session is canceled since program is full 
  • Register here for the live Zoom link, and/or to get the post-session recording.
  • Information session presentation (pdf)

See the Info Session Calendar


Departure from U.S.: Sat., June 29, 2024
Arrival: Sun., June 30, 2024
Mandatory Orientation: Mon., July 1, 2024
First Day of Class: Tues., July 2, 2024
Last Day of Class: Fri., August 2, 2024
Departure for the U.S.
(or personal travel):
Sat., August 3, 2024

Flight Information

  • You will be responsible for purchasing your own airplane tickets, and your program coordinator will provide guidelines and resources during the pre-departure process to help you find an appropriate flight.
  • Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the program has reached minimum enrollment.

Global Seminar Fees

All fees subject to change. See for current tuition and campus-based fees.

  UCSD Other UC Non-UC
Program Cost:
(includes $500 administrative fee)
$4,725.39 $4,725.39 $4,725.39
Estimated Tuition and Campus-Based Fees:
$2,507.96 $2,557.96 $3,447.96
(not including airfare or personal expenses)
$7,233.35 $7,283.35 $8,173.35

Budget Sheet

Funding Options

See the funding options page to learn how financial aid and scholarships can help you pay for this program.

Local Site Visits

Academic Visits with Guest Lectures


Excursions are subject to change without prior notice. No refunds are possible.

Apartment kitchen and bedroom


  • Double room in a shared apartment with kitchen and bathroom
  • Student apartments include a kitchen, bathroom, television, reliable Wi-Fi, all utilities, and linens. All
    shared apartments have a kitchen with all the essential utensils and appliances. Most do not include a
    coffee maker or a kettle.
  • Housing arrangements are subject to change based on local circumstances without prior notice. No price adjustments are possible.

Included Meals

  • Welcome meal upon arrival
  • Farewell meal at end of program
  • Tapas workshop

Classroom and Computer Access

  • Classroom space is located in located in Plaça de Catalunya.
  • Wireless internet connection, a few computers and a printer available in our partner's study center, but you should also plan to bring a laptop.
  • Wireless access may be intermittent due to local conditions. No refunds or price adjustments are possible.


  • Airport pick-up in Barcelona for all students who arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.on official arrival day.
  • Return airport transportation on Saturday after the program ends.
  • Local transportation card in Barcelona for program duration.
  • Ground transportation for all out of town excursions.


  • Information about how to obtain a local SIM card will be provided at the pre-departure orientation.
  • Students will be responsible to purchase their own calling time/minutes.

Insurance, Health, and Safety

  • An in-depth orientation will be given on the morning after arrival, including health and safety procedures.
  • Program partner staff will be available by telephone after hours.
  • All students must register for UC travel insurance. This is free coverage, but registration is required prior to departure.