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Researcher To Discuss How Human Brian Works

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Lawrence Technological University's Southfield campus

Lawrence Technological University’s Southfield campus

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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SOUTHFIELD — “How Does the Brain Make the Mind?” is the topic for Lawrence Technological University’s 2012 Walker L. Cisler Lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Garrison Cottrell of the University of California at San Diego on Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lear Auditorium of the University Technology and Learning Center at Lawrence Tech, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield.

Lawrence Tech’s annual Walker L. Cisler Lecture is dedicated to the improvement of science education. The event is free and open to the public, and a dessert reception will follow.

A professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center at his university, Cottrell researches vision — how people recognize faces, facial expressions, and objects.

One way to understand the mind is to build computer models that “do the same things people do.” Cottrell has found evidence that humans don’t just “look and see” — in fact, our brains fool us quite a bit about what we see.

Cottrell, who has been working on neural network models of mental processes for more than 30 years, will describe the field of cognitive science and how building working models of mental processes can provide insights into how the mind works.

An internationally known researcher in computational cognitive neuroscience, Cottrell earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Rochester and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with neural network pioneer David Rumelhart. His research group, Gary’s Unbelievable Research Unit (GURU), which has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, focuses on how the visual system might learn representations of the world, how our attention is drawn to different objects in our visual field, and how we use these processes to recognize objects.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student groups and NAIA varsity sports.

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