Imagination and Human Origins

Event Dates: 
Jun 1, 2018 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

Sheldon Brown, UC San Diego
Alysson Muotri, University of California, San Diego

Co-sponsored by the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group

Try to remember the first time in your life when you imagined something. It may have been imagining what was behind the door or under the bed, or a fantastic universe of wonders and exciting adventure. As children, our imaginations are furtive and encouraged as ways in which we develop our cognitive capabilities. As we grow older, we may not imagine these territories in quite the same manner, but we continue to heavily use and depend on our imagination in our daily lives, imagining different situations that might occur in a few moments or in a few years. Thus, we actually spend a large amount of time in our own particular universe imagining many possible different ones. Why we do this and how this capacity evolved during evolution? Imagination probably helped our ancestors to be successful in making decisions and live in complex societies. Imagination is key to advancing technology. In this CARTA meeting, we plan to explore imagination as a unique/enhanced human ability. We will discuss the impact of human imagination in sciences and arts, the evolutionary origins, the consequences of imagination impairment and the fundamental genetic and neurological basis of human imagination.

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
Fri 6/1 File Welcome & Opening Remarks Ajit Varki, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Alysson Muotri, University of California, San Diego
Fri 6/1 File What Is Imagination? Sheldon Brown, UC San Diego
Fri 6/1 File Dream It, Be It: How Imagination and Creativity Reshaped Human Evolution Agustín Fuentes, University of Notre Dame
Fri 6/1 File Thinking about the Possible: Imagination and Learning in Early Childhood Caren Walker, UC San Diego
Fri 6/1 File The Origins of Human Imagination and How Technology Enhances Our Imagination Lyn Wadley, University of the Witwatersrand
Fri 6/1 File Human Society as a Consequence of Human Imagination Maurice Bloch, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Fri 6/1 File Building Complex Knowledge with Language and Imagination Lera Boroditsky, UC San Diego
Fri 6/1 File Imagining Society: The Art of Firelight Stories Pauline Wiessner, Arizona State University
Fri 6/1 File Using Imagination to Create Reconstructions of Ancient Hominins Adrie Kennis, Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions
Alfons Kennis, Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions
Fri 6/1 File Reconstructing the Neanderthal Mind in a Dish Alysson Muotri, University of California, San Diego
Fri 6/1 File Wrap-up, Question and Answer Session, Closing Remarks Sheldon Brown, UC San Diego
All Speakers
Pascal Gagneux, University of California, San Diego