DANIEL LEVITIN, Ph.D.
WEAPONIZED LIES: AN AMERICAN NEUROSCIENTIST SPEAKS ON THE POST-TRUTH ERA
Post-Talk Commentary by Jennifer Hochschild, Ph.D.
5:00 PM Wednesday, 5 April (Reception at 4:30)
Austin 200 Ames Court Room
1515 Mass. Ave. Cambridge
The language we use has begun to obscure the relationship between facts and fantasy. “Fake news” is too gentle a euphemism for what it is: lies. This is a dangerous byproduct of a lack of education in the U.S. (and, I’m sad to say, many other countries) that has now affected an entire generation of citizens. Lies now proliferate in our culture to an unprecedented degree. It has made possible the weaponizing of lies so that they can all the more perniciously undermine our ability to make good decisions for ourselves and for our fellow citizens. A U.S. government survey found that more than one in five Americans could not locate information in text, or make low-level inferences from printed materials. In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of the problem, and share examples of distortions, misleading charts and false claims. By way of these examples, I outline an educational defense against information illiteracy and the absurd notion that we live in a “post-truth” era.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC
Post-Talk Commentary by Phillip Pearl, M.D.
5:00 PM Thursday, 6 April (Reception at 4:30)
1545 Mass. Ave. Cambridge
I'll review some of what we know about the music and the brain. Why do some people become experts and others -- with the same amount of practice -- do not? Why do we like the music we like? What regions of the brain are affected by music? By the age of 5 we have all learned, implicitly, the rules of what notes go together and which don't; how is the brain able to do this? I’ll play musical examples to demonstrate some of the key points, and touch on recent research on music and health outcomes.