Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Fundamentals of the Brain and Mind: A Short Course in Neuroscience

This is a lecture series from MIT that acts as an introduction to neuroscience. Absolutely enthralling stuff. Go get yourself some popcorn and settle in, these lectures are great. By the way, I've put the lectures in reverse order, but I really like Steven Pinker so he get's to go first.

Lecture 1:
Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language - Steven Pinker After fifteen years of studying words in history, in the laboratory, and in everyday speech, Steven Pinker has worked out the dynamic relationship – searching memory vs. following rules – that determines the forms our speech takes. In one of his final lectures at MIT Pinker gives the ultimate lecture on verbs, in a rich mixture of linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and a surprising amount of humor.

Lecture 2:
Cognitive Control: Understanding the Brain's Executive - Prof. Earl K. Miller
We often take it for granted that we know the difference between a cat and a dog. Where and how do we store the visual information that categorizes “catness” in our minds, so that the next time we see a cat, we know that it is not a dog?

Lecture 3:
Neurobiology of Memory: How Do We Acquire, Consolidate and Recall Memory - Susumu Tonegawa
Tonegawa’s work involves manipulating genes to explore memory and learning from the most basic biochemical and cellular levels, up to the most complex behaviors. One of Tonegawa’s goals in designing defective mice is to simulate profound human disorders, like schizophrenia.

Lecture 4:
Architecture of the Brain - Elly Nedivi
In this lecture Elly Nedivi provides an overview on the basics of brain anatomy, working her way up the spinal column to the deepest recesses of the cerebral cortex

Lecture 5:
The Changing Brain - Mark Bear
How do our right and left eyes take in two separate streams of visual information and end up with a single view of the world? This question has come under intense scrutiny from neuroscientists for decades, and Mark Bear brings us up to date in his lecture (There are serious audio problems until around 4:15, at which time the audio is dramatically improved.Hang in there, it's worth it)

Lecture 6:
Vision: Challenges and Prospects - Pawan Sinha
In a fraction of a second, most of us can recognize a face in a crowd, or make out a face from a blurry image. Pawan Sinha focuses on our uncanny ability to recognize faces as a way of getting at one of the key problems of neuroscience: how our brains represent and then encode objects.

Lecture 7:
The Brain and Mind - Mriganka Sur

In his kickoff lecture for this series on neuroscience, Sur provides both a current overview of brain models and function, and a peek at his own research

1 comment:

Rob @ Cynic said...

I am sorry to jump into your lovely blog space [I couldn't find an email] but as someone who is proud to proclaim being a protector of the mentally ill, could I ask you to help think of some ways to solve a massive issue close to my heart - of which the mentally ill are particulary surceptable.

I know this seems like a massive 'ad' for my blog [or some sort of gypsy curse], but this is serious and my mates told me you are Mr Clever and we need it.