Today's Takeaway | December 26, 2012

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Understanding How the Mind Makes Meaning | The Reading Brain | Your Brain on Sound | The Real Science of Erasing Your Brain | The Future of the Brain

Understanding 'How the Mind Makes Meaning'

What happens in our brains when we hear language, or speak it? In addition to our brains, what other parts of our bodies are at work, trying to relay and understand meaning? And how does all of this inform the way we interact with phones, computers, and non-human language systems? These are all questions that cognitive science professor Benjamin Bergen contemplates in his work at the University of California – San Diego, and in his new book, "Louder than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning."

 

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The Reading Brain

Our brains evolved in survivalist terms, prioritizing basic sensory functions, like sight and scent. Today, our brains must adapt to learn much more complex processes, like learning to read, as Maryanne Wolfe, the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, explains. 

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Your Brain on Sound

We're told from an early age that we have ears to hear with, but if you investigate a little closer, it turns out that behind our ears are our brains.  Seth Horowitz is an auditory neuroscientist at Brown University and the author of "The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind."

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The Real Science of Erasing Your Brain

What if you could erase any knowledge of painful experiences? This is not just the plotline of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." In reality, scientists have been working for years on figuring out how memories are stored, and how we can might be able to erase them. Todd Sacktor is a neurologist and neuroscientist, who has been working on this question at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

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The Future of the Brain

Ray Kurzweil, technologist and futurist who is on a mission to make us all immortal. According to Kurzweil, technology is progressing at a faster and faster rate so that in 10 or 15 years cancer may not exist and aging may be reversible.  His newest book is called “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.”

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