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Regular version of the site

Open House

HSE School of Psychology Moves to Centre of Moscow

About the Open House Project

Lecture halls, corridors, the student cafeteria, etc., will all eventually become a ‘home away from home’ for prospective HSE students. We cordially invite you to a virtual tour of HSE. Current HSE students show you around campus through our website.

The School of Psychology has moved to Armyansky Pereulok, which was a long-awaited event for HSE psychology students. The school was previously located at one of the university’s more remote campuses on Volgogradsky Prospekt. The HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making also made an important move recently, this time into the university’s building on Krivokolenny Pereulok. Below we show and discuss where and how HSE students will be learning starting this September.

The School of Psychology will begin the 2017 academic year in its new home at 4/2 Armyansky Pereulok, just a five-minute walk from the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making on Krivokolenny Pereulok. Now all divisions of the Faculty of Social Sciences – the schools of psychology, sociology, political science, and public administration – are located just steps away from one another in the very centre of Moscow.

HSE School of Psychology

Address: 4/2 Armyansky Pereulok

The move to Armyansky Pereulok was made possible thanks to an exchange with the Moscow State Pedagogical University, a division of which is now located at the HSE School of Psychology’s previous location on Volgogradsky Prospekt. The school will receive its completed look in August, when all furniture and equipment is set up. The official move will be marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September, which is also when a nameplate will be unveiled for the School.

The new building has four stories, each of which has its own colour and function. The first is yellow and houses administrative personnel, such as the school’s Academic Supervisor Vasily Klucharev and the building’s director and deputy director. There are also two 60-square-meter workspaces for instructors. Lastly, the floor has an assembly hall, two conference rooms, and a gym with locker rooms and showers.

The second floor is orange. One of the areas will be for student clubs and has couches and vending machines so students can grab a snack, chat, and discuss future projects they want to work on together. The new building does not have a cafeteria, but because it is close to the campus on Myasnitskaya Street, students can eat at the cafeterias there, which have been said to be the best. According to the School of Psychology Manager Dmitriy Kondrashov, the school’s schedule will be structured so as to give students enough time to go to the neighbouring buildings to grab lunch. The second floor will also have a training room for the Systemic Family Therapy programme, as well as a large conference hall that can serve as an assembly hall and an auditorium.

The third story, which is olive coloured, has seminar auditoriums, computer labs, and rooms for faculty. The university also plans to install two recreation zones with couches and poufs in the second- and third-floor corridors.

The fourth floor is grey and dedicated to research. All of the school’s laboratories are here: the Laboratory for Cognitive Research, International Research and Teaching Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research, and Scientific-Educational Laboratory of Ability Psychology. This floor also has a room for post-graduates, as well as an area with separate offices for international professors.

‘The biggest advantage is of course that we are moving closer to the main conglomerate of HSE buildings,’ according to Maria Chumakova, who is the academic supervisor of the undergraduate psychology programme. ‘I think that this will make the lives of both students and faculty easier and give them the opportunity to attend classes in other programmes and other departments as well. I think that the number of public events will also increase thanks to the move.’

HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making

Address: 3/1 Krivokolenny Pereulok

The Centre for Cognition & Decision Making moved to Krivokolenny Pereulok before its faculty did, and though certain things are not finished yet and several boxes have not been unpacked, work is already underway in the centre’s laboratories.

The centre devoted an entire winter to creating an electroencephalographic lab. At first glance, this simply appears to be a small room with a massive door, but this is actually a Faraday cage, which is a multi-layered room used to block electromagnetic fields. Inside each wall are several layers of metal; an accumulator is used to provide an autonomous power supply; and if someone is locked inside the room, it is impossible for them to call out, which is why there is a special device used to communicate from inside. Various electroencephalography-related research is carried out here.

Several experiments are currently taking place in the Laboratory of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. In the experiments, a magnetic coil is hooked to a certain area of the head, and this coil creates a strong magnetic discharge that either stimulates or supresses the work of a specific region of the brain. There are two types of protocol – singular discharges, when everything changes in just one second, and longer discharges, when the same point is stimulated over the course of 10 minutes. After the latter, the portion of the brain that underwent the discharge changes for 10-20 minutes. Similar methods are even used in medical practice, one example being to treat depression: the brain is regularly targeted in order to ‘teach’ the system to become excited in the necessary way.

One experiment currently underway in the laboratory aims to study mirror neurons – how they work, how they can be influenced, and how the strength of mirror neurons is connected to the learning effect.

In addition, the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making has an office for eye-tracking research. A high-resolution camera monitors eye movement and within a millisecond determines exactly what the research subject is looking at and in what order. Eye-tracking devices are currently being used to test out websites and online advertising. The Centre for Cognition & Decision Making, however, uses these experiments to study the decision-making process.

After the move, the centre was able to create behavioural laboratories. These are six smaller, isolated rooms, each with a computer. Inside the rooms, experiment participants can carry out tasks with no distraction.

‘Moving is of course stressful, but it’s also a great joy because we’ve moved to one of the most beautiful locations in Moscow and are now closer to the other faculties of the Higher School of Economics,’ explains Centre for Cognition & Decision Making Director Anna Shestakova. ‘We are soon being joined by two colleagues from Spain and Germany, which is really exciting, and our foreign guests are really happy with the move to the centre. We are glad that we’ll be close to our sociology colleagues (we sometimes even occupy their co-working space) and not far from the School of Psychology, which is our home department.’

The Centre for Cognition & Decision Making also plans to open another transcranial magnetic stimulation laboratory. In addition, the centre will install equipment to conduct brain-computer interface research.