Extraordinary Variations of the Human Mind: Lessons for Anthropogeny

Event Dates: 
May 5, 2017 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm

Co-sponsored by the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (KIBM)

The human mind is one of the features that makes our species unusual, and any narrative of our origins must include explanations for how our mental facilities were generated by genetic and cultural evolutionary processes. Comparative studies with the minds of other species and direct studies of how the typical human brain creates the mind are valuable approaches. However, many useful clues can also be gleaned from studying extraordinary variations of the human mind. This symposium brings together experts who have pursued in-depth explorations of some of these variations.

Event Sessions

Media for each talk can be played by clicking on icons in the "Media" column, or by clicking on the individual talk titles below and then the attachment file at the bottom of the page.

Date Media Session Title Speakers Abstract Location
Fri 5/5 File Welcome Fred Gage Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Our Brains: Life on a Continuum Daniel Geschwind Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File From Genes to Neural Circuits to Behavior & Back Again: Neurogenetic Mechanisms in Williams Syndrome Karen Berman

Individuals with Williams syndrome, a fascinating and rare neurogenetic, developmental condition, have only one copy of approximately 25 genes on chromosome 7, instead of the typical, expected two... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Language at the Extremes Simon Fisher

The rise of molecular technologies yields exciting new routes for studying the biological foundations of human traits. In particular, researchers have begun to identify genes implicated in unusual... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory James McGaugh

Recent research has identified individuals who have exceptionally strong memories of personal experiences and public events. They are able to recall their activities for most of the days of their... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File The Incredible Savant Syndrome Darold Treffert

Savant Syndrome is a rare but remarkable condition in which persons with some underlying brain condition, often but not always autism, have some extraordinary islands of ability which stand in... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Acquired Savantism in Neurological Conditions Bruce Miller

Visual artistic creativity has been a continual component of human life from the earliest days. Patients with neurodegenerative disease have shown both increased and novel artistic creativity in... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Born to be Musical: What We can Learn from Congenital Anomalies Isabelle Peretz

Congenital anomalies provide a natural experiment—a rare chance to examine the biological basis of musicality by tracing causal links between genes, environment, brain, and behavior. Significant... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Fragments of Genius: Mapping the Mind of a Musical Savant Adam Ockelford

This talk summarizes the findings from a series of experiments undertaken over a number of years with the prodigious musical savant Derek Paravicini. These sought to map his perceptual and... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Synaesthesia: From Extraordinary Experiences to Enhanced Abilities Jamie Ward

People with synaesthesia experience the ordinary world in extraordinary ways: words may have tastes, and music is an audio-visual spectacle. Everybody knows someone with synaesthesia (it affects a... more

Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Fri 5/5 File Question and Answer Session, Closing Remarks Daniel Geschwind, Isabelle Peretz, All Speakers Salk Institute - Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium

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