The brain, which is an information processing device designed by evolution, is built from approximately 100 billion neurons. As computational elements go, neurons are extroverts—each one communicating with thousands of others through their synapses. As a consequence of its rich interconnectivity, the brain is well suited for certain computations such as pattern recognition, which requires grasping the whole from the sum of the parts. The brain also excels at understanding context, because at some level most parts of the brain are connected to one another.
But, according to UCLA Prof. Dean Buonomano in his new book, Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives, the architecture of the brain is also responsible for many of our limitations and flaws. We have very limited capacity to memorize names, are prone to false memories, have our opinions and habits easily shaped by marketing and propaganda, and as a consequence of a vast number of cognitive biases, our supposedly rational decisions are often anything but that.
Our brain was not tuned for the digital, predator-free, sugar-abundant, special-effects filled, antibiotic-laden, advertising-saturated, densely populated world we have managed to build for ourselves. Buonomano says that it would serve us well as individuals and as a society to keep in mind the natural strengths and weaknesses of the organ calling all the shots.
Buonomano is a professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology, and member of the Integrative Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA. His research focuses on neural computing – how networks of neurons perform the computations that underlie learning, memory, and cognition. He is internationally renowned for his research on how the brain tells time and parses the temporal structure of complex stimuli. His research and book have been covered in the popular press, including Newsweek, Discover Magazine, Scientific American, The New Yorker, and National Public Radio. For more information: http://www.neurobio.ucla.edu/~dbuono/
$8.00 Adults, $4.00 Students, Friends of the Center - Free
This lecture will be repeated at 4:30 PM in Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa Community Center
1845 Park Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA