With ever more refined techniques for measuring complex brain activity, scientists are challenging the understanding of thought, memory and emotion–what we have traditionally called “the self.” How do electrical and chemical currents translate to self-awareness? And why does the brain produce consciousness at all? Join a discussion among eminent neuroscientists, philosophers and psychologists who are redefining what it means to be human.
V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego (http://cbc.ucsd.edu/index.html). He has gained wide recognition for investigating the neurological basis for a host of bizarre psychological conditions.
A part of beyond belief (science religion reason and survival) the event was in the 2006 talking Prof. Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran (born 1951) is a neuroscientist known primarily for his work in the fields of behavioral neurology and visual psychophysics
V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Professor with the Psychology Department and the Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego. A former BBC Reith Lecturer, he co-authored Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, with Sandra Blakeslee, and is the author of A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness.
This year's prestigious University of Glasgow Gifford Lecture Series will feature three talks from V.S. Ramachandran, the Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California.
Do we make conscious decisions? Or are all of our actions predetermined? And if we don't have free will, are we responsible for what we do? Modern neurotechnology is now allowing scientists to study brain activity neuron by neuron to try to determine how and when our brains decide to act. In this program, experts probe the latest research and explore the question of just how much agency we have in the world, and how the answer impacts our ethics, our behavior, and our society.
The notion of a “tortured genius” or “mad scientist” may be more than a romantic aberration. Research shows that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia correlate with high creativity and intelligence, raising tantalizing questions: What role does environment play in the path to mental illness? Are so-called mental defects being positively selected for in the gene pool? Where’s the line between gift and deficit?
Creative thought is surely among our most precious and mysterious capabilities. But can powerful computers rival the human brain? As thinking, remembering and innovating become increasingly interwoven with technological advances, what are we capable of? What do we lose? Join Luciano Floridi, John Donoghue, Gary Small and Rosalind Picard for a thought-provoking program about thinking.
Immanuel Kant, (in 1700s) defined it as the rare capacity to independently understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person. Since then, the spectrum of abilities that we call genius has widened, but pivotal questions remain: What exactly is genius? Where do the remarkable abilities of genius come from? Is genius something that lives within all of us, or is it a categorically different way of seeing the world that is bestowed upon only a few?
Is the human brain an elaborate organic computer? Since the time of the earliest electronic computers, some have imagined that with sufficiently robust memory, processing speed, and programming, a functioning human brain can be replicated in silicon. Others disagree, arguing that central to the workings of the brain are inherently non-computational processes. Do we differ from complex computer algorithms?