Music and Meaning | Seminars in Society and Neuroscience

The extraordinary power of music to communicate complex emotions and thoughts has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries. This symposium presents new perspectives on this question from the intersection of the humanities and cognitive science. Music taps into cognitive mechanisms that govern our daily interactions with the world, such as expectations and violations of these expectations, to evoke powerful emotions of tension, anticipation, laughter or frisson, and appears to have much in common with language. How does philosophical, historical, and cultural analysis complement these cognitive approaches to explain the social and ethical functions of music? How do these modes of inquiry bear on each other to explain what makes music mean? READ MORE

Eric R. Kandel – Reductionism in Art and Brain Science

Neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel will discuss his latest book, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science, in a free, public lecture at Columbia University. In this new book, Kandel, whose remarkable scientific career and deep interest in art give him a unique perspective, demonstrates how science can inform the way we experience a work of art and seek to understand its meaning. READ MORE

Advocate for Science – braiNY

Support for (neuro)science education and research funding is essential. As scientists, we must be able to effectively communicate why science is important for society, as well as engage our public officials for their continued support for funding. This program will provide an introduction to those who wish to become active in advocating for neuroscience and provide lessons and a plan to go forward with this newly gained knowledge. Our panel includes Mr. Ross Frommer, J.D., VP and Associate Dean of Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Ross previously served as Director for NY State Office for Senator Patrick Monynihan. He will bring insight at both the public office and Insitutional level for political action. Dr. Abigail Kalmbach, Society for Neuroscience Early Career Policy Ambassador will discuss her advocacy events which include visiting Capitol Hill and working to build an advocacy network. Finally, Dr. Maryam Zaranghalam will discuss her experiences in outreach and science communication, as well as her interests in advocacy. The event will be moderated by Dr. Haung (Ho) Yu, Assistant Professor at CUMC and SfN Governance and Public Affairs Member. READ MORE

Carol D. Ryff – Unequal Lives and Aging: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?

Dr. Ryff will review growing evidence on the health and longevity consequences of inequalities in educational attainment and income. She will highlight the work of MIDUS investigators in explicating the mechanisms (behavioral and biological) that link inequality to adverse health outcomes. MIDUS researchers have also advanced understanding of protective psychological and social factors that offer buffers against these pernicious processes. She will illustrate with a focus on “purposeful life engagement,” which is emerging as a key asset to healthy aging. Future directions will focus on two neglected topics (one negative, one positive) in the science of inequality: greed among privileged elites as an insufficiently studied fundamental cause, and the role of the arts and humanities in promoting better lives and more beneficent societies. READ MORE

Ben Hayden – Neuronal Foundations of Economic Value

Value is a central concept in economic theory and in neuroeconomics. Nonetheless, we have only recently begun to understand how the brain evaluates options and compares values to make beneficial choices. These processes appear to involve the coordinated action of multiple prefrontal and striatal regions acting together. Our work suggests that value is an emergent process that depends on the coordinated action of component processes, including memory, executive control, and action selection. READ MORE

Frances Champagne – How Do Early Life Experiences Shape Behavior?

Featuring Frances Champagne, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, this talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. READ MORE