March 21, 2011

Announcement

HSMBB now has a Facebook group page. Please join the group here to get event invitations right in your Facebook!

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 22
HSMBB Seminar: Nouns, verbs, and the brain
Presented by: Professor Alfonso Caramazza
3-4pm, Location TBA

How does the brain perform language processing? How exactly can humans connect words with pictures, a feat that is little seen in any other species? Professor Alfonso Caramazza, the Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology at Harvard, is currently researching the inner-functions of lexical processing in order to answer these questions. By using brain-damaged and normal patients in studies, Professor Caramazza can pinpoint how certain neurological problems in patients may have effects on their language processing and producing abilities. Through these studies, his lab aims to elucidate 1) the structure of lexical-orthographic representations; 2) the representation of grammatical class information; and 3) the representation and processing of morphological structure. Join HSMBB for an interesting seminar and discussion on this topic this Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 23
CommuniTea with Professor Takao Hensch
5-6pm, Bechtel Room (Emerson 107)

If you are an OEB 57 student and heard Professor Takao Hensch’s lecture on critical periods, and are interested to learn more, come to this CommuniTea to talk with the professor himself! Or if you are interested in learning about critical periods, which characterize a period of time for increased plasticity in the brain with results that include hearing sounds, learning languages, among others, come to the CommuniTea to talk with like-minded students and an expert in the field! Home-made cookies will be served.

March 6, 2011

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 8
HSMBB Seminar Presented by: Professor Nancy Kanwisher
6-7pm, Kresge Room (Room 114, Barker Center)

Nancy Kanwisher is a Professor in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. She is one of the primary supporters that highly specific and high level cognitive processes are localized across subjects to specific areas of the brain. For example, she was first to report and defend the existence of a specific cortical region devoted to face processing, a region that she called the FFA (Fusiform Face Area). Her lab has also shown that a number of cortical regions are stunningly specialized for specific cognitive tasks such as the perception of faces, places, and bodies, and words; one region is even specialized for thinking about what another person is thinking. Come to this seminar to learn more about how we are using specific parts of the brain when we are performing a few distinctly human tasks.

Wednesday, March 9
HSMBB Seminar: The Not-Specifically-Moral Brain
Presented by: Joshua Greene
4-5pm, Kresge Room (Room 114, Barker Center)

If you were interested in Joshua Green’s talk on moral decision making at Harvard Thinks Big 2 and want to learn more, come to this seminar! As a psychology professor, Professor Greene focuses on the question of, “How are moral judgments shaped by automatic processes (such as emotional “gut reactions”) and controlled cognitive processes (such as reasoning and self-control)?” His lab studies moral judgment and decision-making using behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and genotyping, and aims to understand these automatic and controlled processes in more detailed functional terms. Come to this seminar to learn more about how our brain may not be innately moral, and how this affects our decision making.

March 1, 2011

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 1 (TODAY!!!)
HSMBB Seminar: Alone Together – Why We Want More From Technology and Less From Each Other
Presented by: Professor Sherry Turkle
7-8pm, Kresge Room (Room 114, Barker Center)

Advanced social technology, such as the Internet and smartphones, have undoubtedly helped remain us better connected. But does this come at a cost? Even though we may Twitter about our lives every few minutes, the time people spend face-to-face with one another have decreased. How will this affect us as humans? Professor Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology and director of the Initiative on Technology and Self at MIT, will be discussing the relationship between humans and technology. She has voiced her views in her books: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Simulation and Its Discontents, and, most recently, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Last month, she also appeared on the Colbert Report to discuss what the rise of social technology means for our society. Please join us for what promises to be an interesting seminar. Chipotle burritos will be served!

Call for Abstracts

The Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Group would like to invite students to the annual Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium to be held on April 9th-10th this year. Click here to learn more about the call for papers (deadline for abstracts is March 11) and click here for registration information. For more information about submitting your paper and registering for this event, please email harvard.ling.colloquium@gmail.com.

February 20, 2011

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, February 23
CommuniTea with Professor Carole Landisman
4-5pm, Bechtel Room (Room 107, Emerson Hall)

Join HSMBB for its first CommuniTea of the semester, where professors and students can get together in an informal setting to chat with one another while munching on delicious cookies and drinking a variety of teas. Professor Landisman of Harvard Medical School, who studies synaptic plasticity and how that affects our everyday experience from memory to perception, will be there to answer any questions or share exciting discussions. Come ask questions, discuss, or meet and greet with others while eating homemade cookies this Wednesday!

February 13, 2011

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 14 (TOMORROW!)
HSMBB Seminar: Changes in brain structure and function associated with mindfulness meditation
Presented by: Dr. Britta Hölzel
5pm, Loker 028 Room (basement of Memorial Hall, near Fly-by)

Will meditating help me concentrate and ace my next exam? Does it make me more empathetic with others? Or am I more fearless after sitting still for 30 minutes every day? Dr. Britta Hölzel, lead author of the paper “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density, ” recently published a paper revealing that meditation resulted in increased grey matter in the hippocampus, which is related to memory, and decreased grey matter in the amygdala, which is associated with fear and anxiety. Previous studies have also shown that subjects who meditated while hearing sounds of pain elicited a greater sense of empathy than in subjects who did not meditate. So does meditation in general help a person? Learn about the scientific component in meditation and finally discover if clearing your mind for 30 minutes a day will help you become refreshed at this HSMBB seminar!

Click here, here, or here for articles on Dr. Hölzel’s latest paper.

February 11, 2011

Welcome Back!

A belated welcome back from a relaxing J-term! I hope the new semester is off to a great start for you. HSMBB has a lot of fun and exciting new events planned for this upcoming semester. More seminars, more CommuniTeas, more dinners, and more fun events. Check out all our events every week through our newsletter!

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 14
HSMBB Seminar: Changes in brain structure and function associated with mindfulness meditation
Presented by: Dr. Britta Hölzel
5pm, Location TBA

Will meditating help me concentrate and ace my next exam? Does it make me more empathetic with others? Or am I more fearless after sitting still for 30 minutes every day? Dr. Britta Hölzel lead author of the paper “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density, ” recently published a paper revealing that meditation resulted in increased grey matter in the hippocampus, which is related to memory, and decreased grey matter in the amygdala, which is associated with fear and anxiety. Previous studies have also shown that subjects who meditated while hearing sounds of pain elicited a greater sense of empathy than in subjects who did not meditate. So does meditation in general help a person? Learn about the scientific component in meditation and finally discover if clearing your mind for 30 minutes a day will help you become refreshed at this HSMBB seminar!

Click here, here, or here for articles on Dr. Hölzel’s latest paper.

November 09, 2010

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, November 10th
Pre-concentration Dinner: Come to get your questions answered about the MBB concentrations
5-6pm, Lowell Small Dining Hall

As the concentration declaration deadline is approaching, get your last-minute questions about the MBB concentrations and their tracks answered by students on the MBB track. What requirements are there? What’s special about the MBB track? Get these questions and more answered on Wednesday!

Friday, November 12th
Harvard Society for Mind, Brain, and Behavior Fall Symposium
3:30-5PM, Ticknor Lounge

The Neuroscience of Love and Sexuality

Featured Speakers:

Carol Hooven (HEB) ON HORMONES AND TESTOSTERONE
Kyle Gobrogge (MED SCHOOL) ON PAIR-BONDING AND MONOGAMY
Judith Chapman (HEB) ON THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN SEXUALITY

Come learn about the wide topic of sexuality through a variety of different angles. Refreshments will be served!

October 31, 2010

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 2nd
Informal seminar with Dr. Bob Slevc
5-6pm, Barker Center 133 (Plimpton Room)

Bob Slevc is currently a visiting professor from Rice University. Bob’s primary research interests are in the cognitive science and neuroscience of language and of music.  His work focuses on the relationship(s) between these two complex systems as well as the ways that language and music rely on (and perhaps affect/enhance) other cognitive abilities such as memory, learning, and cognitive control.  He addresses these issues with both behavioral work and neuroimaging methods, and studies a variety of groups including ‘typical’ college students, second language learners, and brain damaged patients with deficits in the processing of language and/or music. Come listen at this informal seminar to learn about his studies in memory, language, and music!

Wednesday, November 3rd
Undergraduate Research Announcement: Getting a Head Start in Thesis Research
4PM, CGIS-South Belfer Case Study Room (S-020)

Our all-star panel includes:
JEANNE FOLLANSBEE, Director of Studies in History and Literature
DAVID AGER, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Sociology
TOM TORELLO, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in Molecular and Cellular Biology

This one-hour seminar will provide a broad introductory overview for freshmen and sophomores interested in finding out what thesis research is all about, including basic guidelines, tips on approaching faculty to be thesis advisers, concentration considerations, and planning a timeline from beginning the process through submission.  Questions may be directed to the Office for Undergraduate Research Initiatives (OURI), undergradresearch@fas.harvard.edu, 617.384-7959.  (Be sure to check out the new “Undergraduate Research at Harvard” web site, http://undergrad-research.harvard.edu!)

October 24, 2010

Upcoming Events

Monday, October 25th *** TOMORROW!
Dinner to learn about Harvard Summer School Study Abroad opportunity in Trento, Italy
5:30-7pm, Lowell Small Dining Hall (located at the back of the Lowell Dining Hall)

A fun and informal dinner with Amitai Shenhav, Doctoral Student in Psychology! Amitai was a fabulous TF for the Harvard Summer School study abroad program in Trento, Italy and recently published a paper on moral decision-making in Neuron. His research involves studying why cognitive and emotional psychological processes interact in the ways they do, and their degrees of adaptability.

Wednesday, October 27th
Irene Pepperberg Lecture
2-4PM, Emerson Hall 310

If you missed Irene Pepperberg’s talk a few couple of weeks ago, come learn about Alex the parrot this Wednesday! She will be giving a talk in Peter Godfrey’s class of “Animal Minds.” Irene Pepperberg is an adjunct professor of psychology at Brandeis University and a lecturer at Harvard University known worldwide for her work with Alex the Parrot.   She conducts research on animal cognition, particularly in relation to parrots. She is well known for her comparative studies into the cognitive fundamentals of language and communication, and was one of the first to try to extend work on language learning in animals other than humans to a bird species.  Here are some fascinating videos displaying just how intelligent these birds are.  Check out the Alex Foundation website here.

October 17, 2010

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 20th
Informal seminar with Gene Heyman
4-5pm, Location TBA

“Addiction, disease, and voluntary behavior”

Gene Heyman is currently a professor in the department of psychology at Harvard University who teaches undergraduate courses about addiction. Currently, one of his goals is to develop an animal model of addiction that would shed light on how addictive drugs gained control over behavior. Heyman has received several Harvard teaching awards and published more than fifty papers and chapters on topics in choice, basic behavioral processes, psycho-pharmacology, and addiction. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and private foundations. Click here to visit his website.

Thursday, October 21th
Movie Night: Being John Malkovich
7:30-8:30pm, Location TBA

Come join us for a screening of Being John Malkovich: A man takes a new job on the 7th-and-a-half floor of an office building and stumbles upon a membranous room that leads inside the head of stage and screen actor John Malkovich. There he can see life through Malkovich’s eyes before being systematically ejected from the room and onto the New Jersey turnpike. The man then rents out Malkovich’s head to others, eventually letting his wife inside where she falls in love with another woman who, in turn, thinks she has fallen in love with John Malkovich.