16 March 2011
Venue: Auckland Museum, Domain Drive, Parnell
Contact info: Bookings required. Phone 302 6249. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre for Brain Research/Auckland Museum Institute public lecture and discussion by Professor Ian Kirk, Auckland psychologist.
This tantalising question will be answered by Professor Ian Kirk at a public lecture during Brain Awareness Week. Held at the Auckland Museum, the talk will form part of the Museum’s new exhibition on the TV series Outrageous Fortune.
Ian will examine the workings of the human brain, looking at what makes us so different from other animals, and whether different ‘tribes’ of people think differently. “It is generally accepted that the workings of the human mind are different from those of even our closest relatives, the great apes,” he says. “There remains some debate however, about what is critically different about the human brain that makes this so. In my talk I will discuss some of the major theories regarding anatomical and functional features of the human brain that make us unique.”
Language has been suggested as one of the key differences between humans and animals, with our brain anatomy allowing speech to occur. In addition to this, humans have an enlarged frontal lobe, which enables a large capacity working memory so we can manipulate data from the external world. Ian will address the idea of whether any of these features give rise to our ‘minds’ and therefore consciousness.
Of growing international interest is the genetic make-up of brain differences. Studies have shown that different human populations have varying proportions of expression of some genes. Indeed, the proportions of subtypes of genes which encode for brain cell stimulating proteins like Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) vary widely between groups.
Yet do any of these brain changes explain the behaviour traits of the characters on Outrageous Fortune? Come along to Ian’s talk to find out more!