Understanding how thought and emotion are realized in the human brain is a remarkable enterprise. How a mere three-pound collection of nerve cells gives rise to human art, wisdom, and passion is one of the central mysteries of our existence. Research in this field promises to enrich our conception of human nature, answering questions that have perplexed humanity for millennia— such as why do I always misplace my reading glasses? To understand the human brain, we need ways to measure its parts in action, figure out what they do, and fix them when they break. Many new tools for measuring the brain have been developed within just the last decade; we are only just beginning to see how to weave these measurements together to explain brain function and human behavior. These preliminary measurements offer many important new insights about how we see, how children's brains develop, what happens when we make a purchasing decision, or what causes depression. Scientists are developing new ideas for helping people who cannot see, do not learn efficiently, or suffer from depression. Understanding the biological basis of the human mind will enable the development of unprecedented tools for improving human health.
This event is free and open to the public. It takes place at the William R. Hewlett Teaching Center.