LouAnn Gerken, professor of psychology and director of the cognitive science program at the University of Arizona, will discuss "The Making of a Mind."
We’re all born with a brain, but when does our brain begin to construct a model of the world – a mind? Research now suggests that infants not only absorb a remarkable amount of information about the physical and social world, they also use this information much like scientists to make guesses about the structure of that world. By creating tentative models of different aspects of the world based on very small amounts of data, infants use their developing models to predict the behavior of objects, people and the world around them.
The human brain, and the mind it creates, is enormously complex. Everything we do, feel and think emerges from billions of nerve cells and their interconnections. Brain development is shaped by evolution and genetics, but is also greatly affected by experience. The mind takes shape through exposure to individuals and cultures, and becomes a constructive and predictive device. It creates inner worlds – past, present and future – that allow us to behave in highly adaptive ways, if we so choose. It also allows us to engage in risky behavior and make bad decisions.
Six speakers in this UA College of Science series will explore how brains are built, how minds are made, and how modern cognitive and neural science is changing the way we think about memory, money, morality, mortality and more.
Parking is available on a pay per use basis in the Tyndall Avenue Garage. Call 520-621-4090 or go to the College of Science Web site for more information.