The Being Human Conference, which looks at the science behind the human experience, presents this session on "Mental + Representations & Decision-Making.""
Richard J. Davidson
Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, Founder and Chair and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984.
He has published more than 275 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 13 books. He has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute's Board of Directors since 1991. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research including a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award, a MERIT Award from NIMH, an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD), a Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD, the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Hilldale Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He was the Founding Co-Editor of the new American Psychological Association journal EMOTION and is Past-President of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. He was the year 2000 recipient of the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association - the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. In 2003 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2004 he was elected to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.
He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. In 2006 he was also awarded the first Mani Bhaumik Award by UCLA for advancing the understanding of the brain and conscious mind in healing. Madison Magazine named him Person of the Year in 2007. In 2011, he was given the Paul D. MacLean Award for Outstanding Neuroscience Research in Psychosomatic Medicine. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig from 2011-2017 and as Chair of the Psychology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 2011-2013. His forthcoming book (with Sharon Begley) The Emotional Life of Your Brain will be published by Penquin in 2012.
Dr. David Eagleman
Dr. David Eagleman, neuroscientist, best-selling author, and our beloved UP Master of Ceremonies for the fourth year in a row, holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. His areas of research include time perception, vision, synesthesia, social neuroscience, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system. He is the founder and director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, and he directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action. An international best-selling author, he has written both fiction and nonfiction works, including Sum, Wednesday is Indigo Blue, Why the Net Matters, Incognito, LiveWired, and Cognitive Neuroscience. He is also a regular contributor to The New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Discover, Slate, Wired, and New Scientist. Dr. Eagleman was recently featured on the cover of Italy's Style magazine, where he was named one of the "Brainiest, Brightest Idea Guys for 2012.”
Thomas Metzinger is currently Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-UniversitätMainz and an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Study (FIAS). He is also Director of the Neuroethics Research Unit in Mainz and Director of the MIND Group at the FIAS.
In 2008 he received a prestigious one-year Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Institute for Advanced Study), is past president of the German Cognitive Science Society (2005-2007) and of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (2009-2011).
His focus of research lies in analytical philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophical aspects of the neuro- and cognitive sciences, as well as in connections between ethics, philosophy of mind and anthropology. In the English language, he has edited two collections on consciousness Conscious Experience and Neural Correlates of Consciousness, and one major scientific monograph developing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary theory about consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective, Being No One - The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity.
In 2009, he published a popular book, which addresses a wider audience and also discusses the ethical, cultural and social consequences of consciousness research, The Ego Tunnel - The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self.
Laurie Santos is an associate professor of psychology at Yale University and the director of Yale University's Comparative Cognition Laboratory. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard.
Her research explores the evolutionary origins of human cognition by studying the cognitive capacities present in non-human primates. She has investigated a number of topics in comparative cognition, including primates' understanding of others' minds, the origins of irrational decision-making, and the evolution of prosocial behavior.
Her scientific research has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Forbes, The New Yorker, New Scientist, Smithsonian, and Discover.
She has also won numerous awards, both for her scientific achievements and for her teaching and mentorship. She is the recipient of Harvard University's George W. Goethals Award for Teaching Excellence, Yale University's Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Junior Faculty, and the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research. She was recently voted one of Popular Science Magazine's "Brilliant 10" Young Minds.
Fundamental dispositions and traits of humans. Theories about the nature of humankind form a part of every culture. In the West, debate has traditionally centred on whether humans are selfish and competitive (seeThomas Hobbes; John Locke) or social and altruistic (Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim). Recent research in genetics, evolutionary biology, and cultural anthropology suggests that humans may be both, and that there is a complex interaction between genetically inherited factors (nature) and developmental and social factors (nurture). Basic drives shared with other primates include food, sex, security, play, and social status. Gender differences include greater investment in reproduction and child-rearing among females, hence less risk-taking; and concomitantly less investment and greater risk-taking among males. See alsobehaviour genetics; Homo sapiens; personality; philosophical anthropology; sociobiology.