Distinguished Fellows for 2011-2012

Sep 07, 12, 19, 26, 2011Andy Clark

Dr. Andy Clark was appointed to the Chair in Logic and Metaphysics in 2004 in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to that he had taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Sussex, Washington (St Louis), where he was Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology Program, and Indiana University where he was the Director of the Cognitive Science Program. Dr. Clark’s research interests include Philosophy of Mind, Artificial Intelligence, including robotics, artificial life, embodied cognition, and mind, technology and culture. He is the author of several books, including Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again (1997), Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (2001), and Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (2008).

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

September 7 Predictive Coding: Saying More by Doing Less? 

September 12 The Co-emergence of Perception, Understanding, and Imagination

September 19 Going Galactic? Predictive Processing for Action, Attention, and Experience

September 26 Predictive Brains for Situated Minds? Cognitive Science with Hugely Permeable Architectures


Oct 17, 24, 31, 2011
Nov 07, 2011
Armand Leroi

Dr. Armand Leroi is the Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology at Imperial College, London. His research examines the genetic control of growth and ageing using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a minute worm studied by thousands of scientists world-wide. He has also studied the evolution of music, both as produced by people in cultures around the world, and in an experimental setting. He is the recipient of the Times/Novartis Scientist for the New Century Medal from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the BIOSIS Prize from the Zoological Society of London, and the Guardian First Book Award. He is known for his TV series on the BBC and is the author of the book, Mutants: On the form, variety and errors of the Human body. He is currently writing a book on Aristotle’s biology.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

October 17 The Metabolic Structure of Life History in C. elegans

October 24 The Experimental Evolution of Music

October 31 Aristotle and The Search for the Soul

November 7 Mutants — and what to do about them.


Dec 08, 12, 2011
Jan 11, 18, 2012
Tod Machover

Tod Machover received both his BA and MA from the Juilliard School in New York and is the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Machover is head of the Media Lab's Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future. An influential composer, he has been praised for creating music that breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries; his music has been performed and commissioned by some of the world's most important performers and ensembles. In 1995, he received a "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres," one of France's highest cultural honors, and in 1998 he was awarded the first DigiGlobe Prize from the German government. He has composed five operas and is the inventor of Hyperinstruments, a technology that uses smart computers to augment virtuosity. Professor Machover is also the creator of the Toy Symphony, an international music performance and education project. His research group is currently examining ways to use music in therapy for emotionally and physically challenged individuals. His latest opera, Death and the Powers, which premiered in Monte-Carlo in 2010, was developed by an extraordinary creative team of international artists, designers, writers, and theatrical luminaries, as well as by an interdisciplinary team of Media Lab graduate and undergraduate students. 

Lecture Titles:

December 08, 2011 Hyperinstruments: From Yo-Yo Ma to Guitar Hero and Beyond

December 12, 2011 Everyone's A Composer: Hyperscore, Personal Opera, and a New Musical Ecology

January 11, 2012 Music, Mind and Health: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Well-being through Active Sound

January 18, 2012  Opera for Robots and People Too: An Unexpectedly Experimental Medium


Feb 06, 13, 22, 27, 2012Robert Plomin

Robert Plomin is Professor of Behavioural Genetics at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. After receiving a PhD in behavioural genetics from the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin Dr. Plomin held professorships at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Pennsylvania State University. In 1994, he came to the Institute of Psychiatry as MRC Research Professor to establish with Professor Michael Rutter the SGDP Centre. The theme of the Centre and of his research is bringing together genetic and environmental research strategies to study behavioural development. In 1994, Dr. Plomin launched the Twins Early Development Study of all twins born in England and Wales in 1994-96, began a study of all twins born in England during 1994-96, which focuses on developmental problems in cognition and behaviour. During the past decade his research has increasingly turned towards harnessing the power of molecular genetics, especially genome-wide association strategies, to identify genes for psychological traits in order to help understand the developmental interplay between genes and environment. He is an international leader in behavioural genetics and was the youngest President of the Behavior Genetics Association. His awards include: Fellow, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001); Fellow, The Academy of Medical Sciences (2002); Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science (2005); Fellow, British Academy (2005); and lifetime research achievement awards from the Behavior Genetics Association (2002), the Society for Research in Child Development (2005), and the American Psychological Society (2005). Dr. Plomin has published more than 500 papers and is senior author of the major textbook in the field (Behavioral Genetics) as well as author of a dozen other books including Genetics and Experience: The Interplay Between Nature and Nurture.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

February 6 Behavioral genetics and the mind

February 13 DNA and the mind

February 22 Genetics, learning abilities and disabilities, and education

February 27 Genetics and experience

Apr 09, 23, 2012Valerie Reyna

Dr. Valerie Reyna is Professor of Human Development, Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Neuroscience (IMAGINE Program), and co-Director of the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility and of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research. She is past President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. Dr. Reyna’s research encompasses judgment and decision-making, numeracy and neuroeconomics, risk and uncertainty, medical decision-making, false memory and neurocognitive impairment. She is a developer of fuzzy-trace theory, a model of memory and decision-making that has been widely applied in law, medicine, and public health. Dr. Reyna has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other learned societies, and has served as an expert on panels and advisory boards for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

April 9 The Gist of Risk:  Decision Making in Two Minds

April 23 Adolescence, Aging, Autism, and Alzheimer's Disease: A Unifying Framework for Understanding the Human Brain



Apr 16, 30, 2012Charles Brainerd

Dr. Charles Brainerd is Professor of Human Development and Psychology at Cornell University. Professor Brainerd holds B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in experimental and developmental psychology from Michigan State University. His research covers areas such as human memory and decision-making, statistics and mathematical modeling, cognitive neuroscience, learning, intelligence, cognitive development, learning disability and child abuse. Dr. Brainerd's current research program centers on the relation between memory and higher reasoning abilities in children and adults, and it also focuses on false-memory phenomena. Together with Dr. Valerie Reyna, he is the co-developer of fuzzy-trace theory, a model of the relation between memory and higher reasoning that has been widely applied within medicine and law. He is board-certified in forensic examination and in forensic medicine. Dr. Brainerd has received the Governor of Arizona's Spirit of Excellence Award for scholarly work in higher education and the Trial Defense Services Medal of the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army. Dr. Brainerd advises civilian and military courts on memory research and has contributed to amicus briefs in many appeal cases, including death penalty appeals.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

April 16 The Gist of Remembering: Memory in Two Minds

April 30 The Law's Memory and Memory's Laws



May 07, 14, 21, 30, 2012John Doyle

John Doyle is the John G Braun Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineer, and BioEngineering at Caltech.  He has a BS and MS in EE, MIT (1977), and a PhD, Math, UC Berkeley (1984). Current research interests are in theoretical foundations for complex networks in engineering and biology, focusing on architecture, and for multiscale physics. Early work was in the mathematics of robust control, including LQG robustness, (structured) singular value analysis, H-infinity plus recent extensions to nonlinear and networked systems. His research group has collaborated in many software projects, including the Robust Control Toolbox  (muTools), SOSTOOLS, SBML (Systems Biology Markup Language), and FAST (Fast AQM, Scalable TCP). Prize paper awards include the IEEE Baker, the IEEE Automatic Control Transactions Axelby (twice), and best conference papers in ACM Sigcomm and AACC American Control Conference. Individual awards include the AACC Eckman, and the IEEE Control Systems Field and Centennial Outstanding Young Engineer Awards.  He has held national and world records and championships in various sports.  He is best known for having excellent co-authors, students, friends, and colleagues.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

May 7 Robustness, fragility, and complexity

May 14 Network architectures from cells to brains to their products

May 21 Universal constraints and tradeoffs

May 30 Let's do the math; a gentle introduction

Jun 04, 18, 2012Kevin Ochsner

Dr. Kevin Ochsner is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University. Professor Ochsner received his B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. He then went on to receive postdoctoral training in social psychology and functional neuroimaging at Stanford University with Dr. John Gabrieli. Dr. Ochsner’s research interests include the psychological and neural processes involved in emotion, pain, self-regulation, self perception, and person perception. All of his work employs a social cognitive neuroscience approach that seeks to integrate the theories and methods of social psychology on the one hand, and cognitive neuroscience on the other. In 2008, he was awarded the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

June 4 How thinking controls feeling: From basic mechanisms to mechanistic breakdowns

June 18 Unpacking the mechanisms of empathy and empathic accuracy

Jun 11, 25, 2012Lila Davachi

Dr. Lila Davachi is an Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University. Professor Davachi received her B.A. in psychology from Barnard College and then her Ph.D. from Yale University in neurobiology working with Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic. She then went on to receive postdoctoral training with Dr. Anthony Wagner at MIT. Dr. Davachi’s research uses high-resolution fMRI to study memory consolidation and relational memory. In particular, she looks at how cortical regions of the medial temporal lobe that input to the hippocampus may support the representation and/or maintenance of domain-specific information while the hippocampus proper supports domain-general relational encoding. In 2009, Dr. Davachi was awarded the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society.

The following lectures will be held at 3:00 PM in Bren Hall 4L, Room 4016.

June 11 Relational Memory Formation and Consolidation

June 25 Context as memory's scaffold



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