© Pint of Science, 2020. All rights reserved.
Do you think you control your thoughts and your actions? Join us on a trip to the depths of this mysterious organ, as it explores the way in which it controls us. Come along for a night of intrigue, fun, with games and prices to be won.
Consequences of learning from our world
Dr. Neil Garret (Research Fellow)
How did we feel after telling a lie? Does this cake taste good? These are just 2 of the many types of feedback we might receive in a day. The human brain has an incredible ability to process and use feedback to modify the beliefs we have about the world (for example, that this cake will taste delicious), particularly when these beliefs are challenged (it tastes disgusting!). But is it always wise to bring beliefs into line with reality? I will provide examples of how the brain's powerful capacity to learn can have positive and negative consequences for our behaviour and all-round wellbeing.
Do we know what we are about to do?
Elisabeth Pares (PhD student)
The feeling that we can initiate movements at will or stop ourselves from doing things we don’t to do want is central to our experience as agents. Further, the idea that individuals can control their behaviour is fundamental to most contemporary legal systems. However, some recent studies challenge these assumptions. For conscious control to be possible, people need to know about their intentions before acting. But do they? This talk explores the brain mechanisms underlying intention, the extent to which intentions could just be reconstructed post-hoc, and the implications of these findings.
Thinking meta: how to build a self-aware brain
Dr Steve Fleming (Principal Research Associate)
Self-awareness is often held up as a crowning achievement of the human mind. But it remains unclear what it is about the brain that gives it this weird and wonderful ability to think about itself – what psychologists refer to as “meta” cognition. In my talk I will reveal how we can measure metacognition in the lab, ask whether it’s really uniquely human, and explore whether it's possible to build a metacognitive machine.