Submitted by Exponential Times on Tue, 2014-04-22 00:44
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Chris Eliasmith is currently the director of "Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience (CTN)". The Centre is a focal point for researchers across faculties (math, engineering, arts, science) interested in computational and theoretical models of neural systems.
A radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerge from physics and chemistry.
As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The "Theory of Everything" that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties—such as mass, momentum, charge, and location—that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a "theory of everything" that does not leave it absurd that we exist.
Terrence William Deacon is an American anthropologist (Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology, Harvard University 1984). He taught at Harvard for eight years, relocated to Boston University in 1992, and is currently Professor and Chair of Anthropology, Professor in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, and member of the Cognitive Science faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor Deacon's research has combined human evolutionary biology and neuroscience, with the aim of investigating the evolution of human cognition. His work extends from laboratory-based cellular-molecular neurobiology to the study of semiotic processes underlying animal and human communication, especially language. Many of these interests are explored in his 1997 book, The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain.
His neurobiological research is focused on determining the nature of the human divergence from typical primate brain anatomy, the cellular-molecular mechanisms producing this difference, and the correlations between these anatomical differences and special human cognitive abilities, particularly language. In pursuit of these questions he has used a variety of laboratory approaches including the tracing of axonal connections, quantitative analysis of regions of different species brains, and cross-species fetal neural transplantation. The goal is to identify elements of the developmental genetic mechanisms that distinguish human brains from other ape brains, to aid the study of the cognitive consequences of human brain evolution.
His theoretical interests include the study of evolution-like processes at many levels, including their role in embryonic development, neural signal processing, language change, and social processes, and how these different processes interact and depend on each other. Currently, his theoretical interests have focused on the problem of explaining emergent phenomena, such as characterize such apparently unprecedented transitions as the origin of life, the evolution of language, and the generation of conscious experience by brains. This is fueled by a career-long interest in the ideas of the late 19th-century American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce and his theory of semiosis. His new book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, explores the relationship between thermodynamic, self-organizing, evolutionary and semiotic processes and provides a new technical conception of information that explains both its representational and normative properties.
Combining ideas from philosophy, artificial intelligence, and neurobiology, Daniel Dennett leads the reader on a fascinating journey of inquiry, exploring such intriguing possibilities as: Can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s mind? What distinguishes the human mind from the minds of animals, especially those capable of complex behavior? If such animals, for instance, were magically given the power of language, would their communities evolve an intelligence as subtly discriminating as ours? Will robots, once they have been endowed with sensory systems like those that provide us with experience, ever exhibit the particular traits long thought to distinguish the human mind, including the ability to think about thinking? Dennett addresses these questions from an evolutionary perspective. Beginning with the macromolecules of DNA and RNA, the author shows how, step-by-step, animal life moved from the simple ability to respond to frequently recurring environmental conditions to much more powerful ways of beating the odds, ways of using patterns of past experience to predict the future in never-before-encountered situations.
The Genius in All of Us, Shenk beautifully explains why the nature-nurture debate is dead. It is not just the genes we are born with, but how we are raised and what opportunities are open to us that determine how smart we will become. Nurture and experience reshape our genes, and thus our brain. Shenk argues that the idea we are either born with genius or talent, or we aren’t, is simply untrue. The notion that relentless, deliberate practice changes the brain and thus our abilities has been undervalued over the past 30 years in favor of the concept of “innate giftedness.” Practice, practice, practice (some say 10,000 hours or more) is what it takes. Shenk argues that it is just some fantasy that effortless, gifted genius is born and not made. He marshals evidence to show that genetic factors do not trump environmental factors but rather work in concert with them. Shenk notes that by the sweat of our brow we can train ourselves to be successful–even if we are born with only average genetic talent. Scientists know that how we are raised and how we are trained affects the expression of our genes. If you think you’ve reached your talent limit, think again, Shenk says.
Marvin Minsky -- one of the fathers of computer science and cofounder of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT -- gives a revolutionary answer to the age-old question: "How does the mind work?"
Minsky brilliantly portrays the mind as a "society" of tiny components that are themselves mindless. Mirroring his theory, Minsky boldly casts The Society of Mind as an intellectual puzzle whose pieces are assembled along the way. Each chapter -- on a self-contained page -- corresponds to a piece in the puzzle. As the pages turn, a unified theory of the mind emerges, like a mosaic. Ingenious, amusing, and easy to read, The Society of Mind is an adventure in imagination.
I was educated at University College London (UK), where I obtained a PhD in Anthropology in 1995. I immediately took up a lecturing position in the Psychology Department at the University of Liverpool, but, in 1997, got the chance to work in South Africa as a National Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department at the University of Natal. After returning to the UK at the beginning of 1999, I was Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Liverpool (1999-2006), and a Reader in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire (2006). I moved to a position as Associate Professor at Lethbridge in January 2007, and was promoted to Full Professor in July 2009. In January 2012, I became Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour.
Research Interests ::
My research interests lie in the field of comparative psychology and social cognition. At present, my research centres on the cognitive adaptations and learning strategies underpinning group-living, cooperative behaviours and parental investment strategies in human and non-human primates, pursued using the theoretical framework of embodied and extended cognition.
Submitted by Exponential Times on Wed, 2012-12-12 17:03
Recent research in Cognitive Science provides insights into how learning can be improved that are complementary to those gained from practical experience and the research in Computer Science, Education and other Learning Sciences. This talk considers how learning can be improved by: (1) Asking questions and requesting explanations; (2) Presenting specific examples to illustrate abstract principles; (3) Using tests as pedagogical rather than assessment tools. Moreover, online education provides the unique opportunity for hybrid research that is simultaneously applied and academic. Online environments satisfy the scientific requirements of randomized experiments and precise control, as well as the practical need for ecological validity, fidelity, and scalable dissemination. One virtue of a basic Cognitive Science approach to online education is revealing abstract similarities in learning different topics: In addition to presenting ongoing research at Khan Academy and MOOCs like EdX, I discuss how analogous principles can be explored in teaching end-users Google Power Search, internal training, and customer education.
Submitted by Exponential Times on Wed, 2011-05-18 05:31
Dr. Andy James is exploring individual differences in cognition using fMRI. By developing a cognitive connectome, or a map of connections in the brain that are involved in cognition, Dr. James hopes to identify the cognitive differences between healthy individuals to help understand cognition in both healthy and clinical populations.