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April 1: UChicago Neuro Experts to Crack the Brain’s Toughest Riddles in TED-Style Talks

VPR 15 2020 BrainTeasers_text

April 1: UChicago Neuro Experts to Crack the Brain’s Toughest Riddles in TED-Style Talks

“Brain Teasers: Cracking the Mind’s Toughest Riddles” on campus, free and open to public

What: A free, two-hour session for the general public, “Brain Teasers: Cracking the Mind’s Toughest Riddles” will feature a panel of University of Chicago neuroscientists. They will present exciting brain-science breakthroughs and provide fascinating insights into our brain, body and behavior in TED-style talks. The experts will answer these questions and more:

  • Why do some of us choke under pressure, while others perform “in the zone” during a big game or test?
  • Why will a rat pass up a yummy piece of chocolate to free a fellow rat who is trapped instead?
  • What treatments are on the horizon for people with brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia?
  • Will individuals who have lost limbs or suffer from tetraplegia even be able to touch, feel or manipulate objects again?

See preview video on YouTube at

When and Where: 6 to 8 p.m., Performance Hall at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The center has a café inside and free parking. Advance RSVP is appreciated at

Who: These speakers will give short talks, followed by questions from the audience:

  • Sian Beilock, Professor in Psychology, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, and author of “Choke” and “How the Body Knows Its Mind.”
  • Sliman Bensmaia, Assistant Professor in Organismal, Biology and Anatomy, whose research has provided a blueprint for developing touch-sensitive prosthetics.
  • Peggy Mason, Professor in Neurobiology, who discovered that rats exhibit empathy-like helping behavior.
  • James Mastrianni, MD, Associate Professor in Neurology; Co-Director, Center for Comprehensive Care and Research on Memory Disorders, who is an expert on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

All speakers are members of the University of Chicago’s new Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior. Moderating the discussion will be John Maunsell, Albert D. Lasker Professor in Neurobiology and Director of the Grossman Institute.

Why and How: “Brain Teasers: Cracking the Mind’s Toughest Riddles” is the latest installment of the UChicago Discovery Series, a public speaker series at the University of Chicago, featuring the latest research from the University through talks and discussions of major scientific advances. The event is sponsored by the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories.

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