Online Brain Science Seminar Series (BSS)

Online Brain Science Seminar Series(Online BSS)
Dr. Danielle Bassett

Dr. Danielle Bassett, University of Pennsylvania


Wednesday, December 9th 2020, 9:00-10:30


State Transitions in Matter and Mind

Abstract: The human brain and mind are far from static entities. Instead, their dynamics are characterized by movement in a wide and complex state space, with frequent transitions between states. The capacity to undergo a state change provides the flexible, actuatable function that we enjoy as humans. Yet, a key challenge lies in understanding the magic of state change. How does one state transition into another? In this talk, I will begin by developing a theory for the dynamics of state transitions in the brain (Kim et al. 2018 Nature Physics). In the second part of the talk, I will use that theory to probe executive function and dysfunction in humans (Tang et al. 2017 Nature Communications; Cui et al. 2020 Elife; Braun et al. 2020 AIP at Nature Communications). These first two sections will motivate efforts to extrapolate from state transitions in brain (a form of matter) to state transitions of mind. Hence, in the final section of the talk, I will evaluate new evidence from the science of science that underscores the need to engage in a state transition in mind that addresses current implicit biases in neuroscience along the dimensions of gender, race, and ethnicity (Dworkin et al. 2020 Nature Neuroscience; Bertolero et al. 2020). Collectively, the work will provide a cohesive theory and conceptual framework for understanding state transitions in matter and mind, with important ramifications for our understanding of human behavior in the world and in the processes of scientific inquiry.


Rei Akaishi, Ph.D.

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