Cambridge Science Festival: making sense of the brain

The human brain is mainly our management centre. Intelligence, creativity, emotion, and reminiscence are a number of of the many issues ruled by the brain. But what occurs when it goes unsuitable? And what are neuroscience researchers and psychologists discovering about its skills?

This 12 months’s Cambridge Science Festival lifts the lid and takes an in-depth look into the workings of the brain, from psychosis and dementia to how different methods in the physique management the thoughts, and divulges some of the newest analysis into brain injury restore.

The packed sequence of neuroscience and psychology occasions begins on day one of the Festival, 12th March, when Professor Paul Fletcher presents the newest analysis into understanding psychosis. He examines the experiences of psychosis to contemplate how they could come up out of the regular functioning of the thoughts throughout his discuss, I’m not mad: I only bend reality so that I can see around the corners. Professor Fletcher explains how psychosis, although it may be weird, incomprehensible, and terrifying, just isn’t to this point faraway from regular on a regular basis expertise as we would prefer to suppose, and even argues that ordinary notion is solely a managed hallucination. He additionally gives examples of this and exhibits how we are able to use our rising understanding of ‘perception and belief’ in the brain to attempt to demystify psychosis.

There are different methods in the physique that may have an effect on how our brain controls our ideas and emotions. On 17 March, Dr Philippe Gilchrist, discusses some of the relationships between day-to-day cardiovascular functioning and our ideas, emotions and behaviours in his occasion From heart to emotion.

Commenting forward of the occasion, Dr Gilchrist mentioned: “When we experience stress, our body responds by releasing various chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline, preparing us to meet the challenge. Our day-to-day cardiovascular functioning is intricately linked not just with our environment and general health, but also with our cognition, emotions, and behaviours. Usually when we think of acute stress, we think of the fight-or-flight response, including increases in arousal.  However, certain forms of stress can also lead to paradoxical decreases in physiological activity, including decreases in heart-rate and blood pressure.”   

Dr Gilchrist discusses a sequence of experimental research and creating analysis inspecting this paradox.

Further creating analysis is explored in Food for thought: awakening neural stem cells in the brain (23 March). Stem cells in the brain can generate new neurons all through an animal’s life in response to stimuli reminiscent of train, diet and harm. Professor Andrea Brand, Gurdon Institute, goals to know the alerts that instruct stem cells to provide new neurons at will. The skill to reactivate neural stem cells from a dormant state raises the prospect of future therapies for brain restore after injury or neurodegenerative illness, reminiscent of dementia. Professor Brand discusses new analysis in the subject.

Dementia is the matter in Maps, monsters and mazes in the fight against dementia, (12 March). How can a sport assist to defeat dementia? Dr Saber Sami and Professor Michael Hornberger talk about how Sea Hero Quest, one of the world’s largest citizen science initiatives, is offering new insights into human spatial navigation and the way this might assist in diagnosing dementia.

On 17 March, there are a number of occasions associated to the brain and psychology. Professor Usha Goswami presents an summary of how brain rhythms decide speech rhythms and why this can be totally different in folks with dyslexia throughout her occasion Dyslexia, rhythm and the brain. Dr Idalmis Santiesteban exhibits how present analysis contributes to an understanding of the processes that assist us to not solely join but in addition differentiate from others in Distinguishing self from others: how do we do it? And Dr Susanna Mierau discusses how folks on the autism spectrum understand the world in another way, together with elevated or decreased sensitivity to sights, sounds, contact, odor and style, and the way the altered sensation can have an effect on their lives throughout her occasion,Sensory perception in autism: from the clinic to the laboratory.

Other associated occasions:

  • Brilliant brains: seeing science through art, 12-18 March. An exhibition exploring consciousness, together with neuroscience analysis by Dr Srivas Chennu, Department of Clinical Neuroscience.
  • God and epilepsy, 13 March. Professor Alasdair Coles (Department of Clinical Neurosciences) and Dr Joseph Tennant (Faraday Institute) present examples of individuals who expertise mystical epileptic seizures, and what they will educate neuroscience, psychology and theology.
  • When the object of your actions escapes you, 14 March. Dr David Belin discusses the psychological and neural foundation of impulsive/compulsive issues. He affords a framework to know how a behaviour, in some susceptible people, turns into a compulsive behavior.
  • Making sense of the mind and brain, 14 March. An night at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit exploring analysis in psychology and neuroscience by means of hands-on actions and experiments adopted by quick talks.
  • Molecules to memory: advances in dementia research, 14 March. Hosted by Alzheimer’s Research UK Local Network, this annual public occasion showcases present dementia analysis at Cambridge.
  • Department of Psychology open day, 17 March. Interactive occasions and talks, exploring the intricacies of how we work, from controlling impulses and studying extra about feelings, to the reliability of reminiscence and discovering how our visible expertise comes not solely from what we have a look at, but in addition from what we now have learnt about the world.
  • How do brains learn about the world around us?22 March.How does the brain piece collectively info from the senses to work together with a quickly altering world? How does the brain be taught and the way does expertise re-organise its capabilities? Does the brain want a private coach? Can you get an previous brain to be taught new tips? Can we re-wire our brain by means of coaching? Dr Zoe Kourtzi solutions these questions and extra.
  • Let’s talk about the sense of symptoms! 24 March. Combining psychoanalytic principle with scientific circumstances, Iro Zoubopoulou introduces principal psychoanalytical notions from each a Freudian and a Lacanian perspective.

Download the full programme here.

To pre-book occasions, go to the Cambridge Science Festival website, or name: 01223 766 766.

Visit the Festival’s twitter web site @camscience #csf2018, or Facebook web page cambridgesciencefestival

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