Why Humans May Be Too Neurologically Limited To Successfully Rule The World
Recording of the Brain Plasticity Future Salon with with Professor Michael M. Merzenich, Ph.D. on July 17 2009.
Talk Abstract: Brain Plasticity Revolution
We’ll discuss the principles of brain plasticity, on the way to explaining the bases of origin of individual human abilities and the ‘Persons’ who employ them. We’ll describe how this science has been employed to improve or transform the lives of children and adults in need of neurological help. We’ll consider some of the greater societal implications of our new understanding of the brain-plasticity bases of normal and abnormal human behaviors. We’ll try to explain how the empirical, pragmatic and substantially fictitious notions about our self-development and about our humanity that have provided the primary bases for the education, organization and control of human societies are now being challenged by a scientific understanding of the true nature of the processes that account for them. In its implications for how we view ourselves and our rapidly evolving cultures, this new perspective about our true, limited natures may provide the basis for rapid, further societal degradation -- OR guide us toward large-scale societal corrections, and cultural rejuvenation. We’ll end our conversation by discussing a few strategies that might guide us toward that better path.
Bio: Professor Michael M. Merzenich, Ph.D.
As co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, Michael Merzenich heads the company’s global team. For more than three decades, Dr. Merzenich has been a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research. In the late 1980s, Dr. Merzenich was on the team that invented the cochlear implant, now distributed by market leader Advanced Bionics. In 1996, Dr. Merzenich was the founding CEO of Scientific Learning Corporation (Nasdaq: SCIL), which markets and distributes software that applies principles of brain plasticity to assist children with language learning and reading. Dr. Merzenich has received awards and prizes (including the Ipsen Prize, Zülch Prize of the Max Planck Institute, Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award and Purkinje Medal), received more than 50 patents for his work, and published more than 200 articles, including many in leading peer-reviewed journals (such as Science and Nature). This work has inspired the National Academy of Sciences to elect him as a member. Dr. Merzenich’s is also often covered in the popular press, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, and Newsweek. He has also appeared extensively on television, and had his work featured on a PBS special titled “The Brain Fitness Program.” Dr. Merzenich earned his BS degree at the University of Portland and his PhD at Johns Hopkins. He retired from his long career at the University of California at San Francisco in 2007.
Future Salon: futuresalon.org