What Do We Know About the Brain and How Do We Know It?

April 12, 2011 3:50pm - 5:20pm

Russell Fernald

The brain gives rise to the mind through its 100,000 chemical reactions per second, but many of the interesting (and hard!) questions about this process have not yet been answered. For example, where exactly is the mind? I will talk about what we know about how the brain’s specialized cells, the neurons, function and how they are distributed in the brain and peripheral nervous system. Building on this information we will explore why understanding evolution is so important for understanding the brain, how drugs hijack the brain’s intrinsic reward system and how brains change during adulthood. With the public’s growing attention to neuroscience, it is common to overstate what we know and I will talk about why that might be.