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Body and Brain: How using your hands can change your mind
May 30, 2015 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm$10 - $30
Human bodies are all pretty much all the same, right? Think again! Bodies differ in ways that make some people interact with the world differently than others. These differences shape our brains and minds in ways that scientists are just starting to discover. One obvious difference is that some of us are right-handers and some left-handers. This matters for major-league pitchers and batters, but does it affect the rest of us? According to new research, righties and lefties think, feel, and act differently, in ways that may determine what we buy, who we find attractive, and even who we vote for. Changing the way people use their hands, even for a few minutes, can change the way they think. Making a rightie act like a leftie can make them THINK like a leftie. The way we use our hands can also change how emotions are wired in our brains. This discovery has urgent implications since treatments for depression and other mental disorders that affect millions of people were designed for strong right-handers – and may be detrimental to everyone else. Come learn about cutting-edge research that will make you look at your fingered-appendages in a whole new way!
Daniel Casasanto is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at The University of Chicago and director of the Experience and Cognition Laboratory. He studies how the diversity of human experience is reflected in our brains and minds: how people with different physical and social experiences come to think, feel, and act differently, in fundamental ways. To study cognitive diversity across cultures, his lab conducts research on five continents, using methods that range from watching children at play to brain imaging and neuro-stimulation. A former opera singer, Casasanto received a graduate diploma in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory before earning a doctorate from the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT in 2006. Casasanto has received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, and the Association for Psychological Science Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. He has authored over 100 scientific publications, which are featured routinely in the national and international media. Casasanto is a founding editor of Language and Cognition, an interdisciplinary journal from Cambridge University Press. He is also the Scientific Director of The Think Tank: a mobile neuroscience lab and education station designed to forge new pathways to careers in science for disadvantaged students (http://thinktank.uchicago.edu).
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