Lecture Series in 2012-2013

Unless otherwise noted all lectures will be in Psychology 1312 on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.


Sep 27, 2012
The Social Brain and Its Perceptual Roots

Thalia Wheatley is an assistant professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College. Dr. Wheatley completed her doctoral training in social psychology with Timothy Wilson and Daniel Wegner at the University of Virginia. After graduating, she received neuroimaging training as a postdoctoral NIH research fellow with Alex Martin, Ph.D. in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition directed by Leslie Ungerleider. Her research investigates how people understand and react to other human beings and how the brain evolved to handle the computations underlying this social intelligence. This includes how we recognize other humans from their form and motion and how accepting we are of approximation and distortion. She also investigates how human form and motion convey information beyond animacy (e.g., intentions, emotions) and the neural substrates that subserve these inferences.

Dr. Wheatley's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor.

Oct 18, 2012
Stereotype Threat Up Close: See It, Fix It

Claude Steele is the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University. He was educated at Hiram College and at Ohio State University, where he received his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1971. Steele taught at the University of Utah, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan and Stanford University, where he held appointments as the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, as Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and as the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. In 2009, he left Stanford to become the 21st Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Columbia University. In 2011, he left Columbia and returned to Stanford.

Dr. Steele is recognized as a leader in the field of social psychology and for his commitment to the systematic application of social science to problems of major societal significance. His research focuses on the psychological experience of the individual and, particularly, on the experience of threats to the self and the consequences of those threats. Steele has published articles in numerous scholarly journals, and his most recent book, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us was published in 2010.

Dr. Steele's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor.

Dec 06, 2012
A Universe from Nothing

Lawrence Krauss is Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. He received undergraduate degrees in both Mathematics and Physics at Carleton University, received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows (1982-85). He joined the faculty of the departments of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University as assistant professor in 1985, and associate professor in 1988. In 1993 he was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Chairman of the department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. In August 2008, Krauss took up his new post as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.

Prof. Krauss is the author of over 300 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing, and he is the author of many acclaimed popular books, including: The Fifth Essence: The Search for Dark Matter in the Universe (1989); Fear of Physics (1993); The Physics of Star Trek (1995); Beyond Star Trek (1997); Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass (2000), a revision and update of The Fifth Essence; Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond (2001); Hiding in the Mirror, The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond (2005); Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science (2011); and A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing (2012).

Dr. Krauss' lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor.

Jan 10, 2013
Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

Sebastian Seung is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Department of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studied theoretical physics with David Nelson at Harvard University and completed postdoctoral training with Haim Sompolinsky at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before joining the MIT faculty, he was a member of the Theoretical Physics Department at Bell Laboratories. He has been a Packard Fellow, Sloan Fellow, McKnight Scholar, and PopTech Science Fellow.

Dr. Seung directs the scientific programs of WiredDifferently, an organization that supports “citizen neuroscience.” Its first project is EyeWire, which mobilizes volunteers to map the retinal connectome. The ultimate goal of WiredDifferently is to test the hypothesis that the uniqueness of a person, from memories to mental disorders, lies in his or her connectome. His research has been communicated to the general public by the TED talk “I am my connectome” and book Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.

Dr. Seung's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor.

Feb 21, 2013
A Cooperative Species: Evolutionary Models and the Pleistocene Human Condition

Samuel Bowles is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute where he heads the Behavioral Sciences Program. He is also Professor of Economics at the University of Siena. He taught economics at Harvard from 1965 to 1973 and at the University of Massachusetts, where he is now emeritus professor. His recent studies on cultural and genetic evolution have challenged the conventional economic assumption that people are motivated entirely by self-interest. These have included the mathematical modeling and agent-based computer simulations of the evolution of altruistic behaviors and behavioral experiments in 15 hunter-gather and other small-scale societies. Recent papers have also explored how organizations, communities and nations could be better governed in light of the fact that altruistic and ethical motives are common in most populations.  Bowles' current research also includes theoretical and empirical studies of political hierarchy and wealth inequality and their evolution over the very long run. He has also served as an economic advisor to the governments of Cuba, South Africa and Greece, to presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy and Jesse Jackson, to the Congress of South African Trade Unions and to South African President Nelson Mandela.

He has published numerous scholarly papers, and his books include: A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution, co-authored with Herbert Gintis; Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution; Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: the Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life; Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success; Poverty Traps; Inequality, Cooperation and Environmental Sustainability; Globalization and Egalitarian Redistribution; Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence in 15 Small-scale Societies; and Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command and Change. His Castle Lectures at Yale University, Machiavelli’s Mistake: Why good laws are no substitute for good citizens, will be published by Yale University press.

Dr. Bowles's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor

Mar 14, 2013
Beyond Localization: Continuous Maps of Visual and Linguistic Information across the Human Brain

Jack Gallant is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is affiliated with the graduate programs in Bioengineering, Biophysics, Neuroscience and Vision Science. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and did post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology and Washington University Medical School. His research program focuses on constructing computational models that accurately describe how the brain encodes information during natural tasks, and to use these models to decode information in the brain in order to reconstruct mental experiences. This computational framework can be used to understand and decode brain activity measured by different methods (e.g., functional MRI, NIRS, EEG or ECOG), and in different modalities (i.e., vision, audition, imagery and so on). Dr. Gallant has published widely in high-impact scientific journals, and he has also been featured in the popular press, including magazine articles and video and radio interviews. His lab’s “Mind-Reading Software” was featured as one the 50 Best Inventions of 2011 by TIME magazine.

Dr. Gallant's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor

Apr 18, 2013
Charity and Deception in the Brain

Michael Platt is Professor of Neurobiology and the Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Professor Platt received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and then did a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University working with Paul Glimcher. This work included some seminal findings on the neural response of single cells in the monkey intraparietal cortex to decision variables. Professor Platt currently studies the brain mechanisms of making decisions in both humans and non-human primates using a variety of techniques, including behavioral, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, pharmacological, and genetic techniques. His research applies principles of decision theory, derived from both evolutionary ecology and behavioral economics, to study how the brain decides between different actions. Neurophysiological studies in his lab have revealed neural correlates of stimulus and movement value in parietal cortex and cingulate cortex, neural circuits implicated in attention, emotion, and decision-making. Dr. Platt’s current work is aimed at extending these approaches to the neural correlates of risk-sensitive decision-making and social evaluation. Professor Platt is Past President of the Society for Neuroeconomics.

Dr. Platt's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd floor.

May 23, 2013
The Business-like Brain

Ed Bullmore studied medicine at the University of Oxford and Saint Bartholomew's Hospital in London. He trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London. As a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow, he was awarded a PhD in statistical analysis of MRI data at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. In 1999, he was appointed Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, where he has set up the Brain Mapping Unit. He is director of the fMRI at the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre and is also director of CAMEO, a new clinical service for patients with early symptoms of psychosis. Since 2005 he has been Clinical Director of the Behavioural & Clinical Neuroscience Institute, and Vice-President, Experimental Medicine, for GlaxoSmithKline. He has more than 260 research publications, mainly on aspects of neuroimaging, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The primary foci of his research are schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders, psychopharmacological effects on brain function, and the integration of imaging and genetics.

Dr. Bullmore's lecture will be held at 4:00 PM in the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd floor.

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