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The Science of Being Human 2015


It's All Under Control

April is an exciting month not only because of the coming spring and the Earth Day celebrations but because of the annual psychology lectures series.

Every year we have guests from the faculty of the Western University's Department of Psychology come to deliver interesting talks as part of The Science of Being Human series.

This year the overall topic is: It’s All Under Control.

 These talks take place in the Stevenson and Hunt meeting room A at 7pm  over the course of four Thursdays in April. Speakers will share their insights and research on the internal and external forces that keep us in check, how the capacity to self-regulate develops, how we can capitalize on this ability and what happens when things go wrong, that is, when we “lose control”.

The first lecture by Dr. Scott MacDougall-Shakleton on April 9 is focusing on biological clocks: How Biological Clocks Make Us Tick.

Come and learn about our internal biological clocks that are used to coordinate daily and yearly changes. Dr. MacDougall-Shackleton is an expert in Animal Behaviour and studies bird behaviour and physiology. Part of his research examines how animals change with the seasons and use day-length to time seasonal reproduction.

Thursday, April 16 – Control: Its Role in Crime and Corrections

Dr. Peter Hoaken has conducted studies on understanding crime and corrections in Canada’s prisons since 2001. In his talk he will look for the answers for the two questions: 1) what does contemporary science say about "control", “crime” and “time” ? and  2) what might a psychologist have to say about Canada’s current criminal justice initiatives, including the 2012 Safe Streets and Communities Act?

Thursday, April 21 – How the Mind Can Control Machines

In this talk Dr. Judy Culham will discuss the potential, hype, and challenges in developing brain-machine interfaces for patients and general public. One goal of the neuroscientists is to use brain signals to control artificial limbs in patients with paralysis. Dr. Culham uses brain imaging (functional MRI) to study how the human brain perceives the world and performs hand actions such as reaching, grasping, feeding and tool use.

Thursday, April 30 – The Development of Self-Control in Children and and Adolescents

Our final session is with Dr. J. Bruce Morton. Dr. Morton will show how aspects of ourpersonalities, which makes them struggle to control urges and easily distract us from our long-term goals,  can be traced back to early development, a crucial time for shaping  how the brain makes sense of rewards, risks and goals.