UW News

February 3, 2012

Public lectures explore the brain and behavior

News and Information

Register for the lectures online or call 206-616-5274.

See previous years lectures on UWTV.

How do fish hear and communicate with each other? Why do some people learn and remember better than others? And can video games help improve our vision?

These questions will be explored during the 7th annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture Series hosted by the UW psychology department. With the theme “Understanding Brains and Behavior,” the three-part series will showcase the UW psychology departments neuroscience expertise.

The lectures will be 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 22, Feb. 29 and March 7. Registration is free and open to the public. The first wave of registrants filled the original lecture hall, and the lectures have been moved to a larger room – Kane Hall room 130 on the UWs Seattle campus.

Scott Murray, associate chair of research in the UW psychology department, organized this years series. He said that it is now widely accepted that understanding human behavior requires an understanding of how the brain works, and that the field of psychology is well-positioned to study both brains and behavior.

“We have the tools and training to characterize human and animal behavior and combine these studies with detailed measurements of brain function,” he said.

Speakers at this years lecture series will talk about how the brain coordinates complex behaviors. At each of the three events, a UW speaker will be paired with a speaker from another university.

The lectures are:

Understanding the Brain and How We Hear: Insights from Our Fish Ancestors
Feb. 22, 2012

Fish represent perhaps the earliest and simplest examples of how the vertebrate auditory system detects and identifies biologically relevant sounds that are critical for survival. Joseph Sisneros, UW associate professor of psychology, and Richard Fay, psychology professor at Loyola University Chicago, will discuss studies that provide important insight into the origins, adaptations and evolution of the vertebrate auditory system for sound detection and communication.

How We Remember, Why We Forget, and Why it Matters
Feb. 29, 2012

Why do some people learn at faster rates than others, and retain information for a longer time? How does learning become more efficient? Can there be too much leaning? Sheri Mizumori, professor and chair of the UW psychology department, and Daphna Shohamy, assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University, will discuss recent research that reveals new insights into how the brain selects and retains information in memory.

Learning to See: Insights from Sight Restoration and Expert Video Gamers
March 7, 2012

People’s visual systems might, at first, seem to all be the same – we open our eyes and we all see roughly the same thing. Ione Fine and Daphne Bavelier, professors of psychology, will discuss recent research with two groups of people – those whose sight is restored in adulthood due to advances in medical science and expert video game players – that show that our visual systems are shaped by our experiences. The way we see the world is flexible, adaptable and unique.

The lecture series is made possible by a bequest from Allen L. Edwards, a UW psychology professor from 1944 to his death in 1994, with the support of a bequest from Roger B. Loucks, a UW psychology professor from 1936 until his retirement in 1968.