Tuesday, Sep 15, 2020. 12:00 PM. Link to Zoom for Online Seminar.

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Moshe Bar -- Overarching States of Mind

Abstract: Implicitly, we think of our brain and mind as fixed: always with the same inclinations, biases, strengths and weaknesses. But the human mind is dynamic and seamlessly changing between different states depending on circumstances. We propose that these states of mind are holistic in that they exert all-encompassing and coordinated effects simultaneously on our perception, cognition, thought, affect and action. Given the apparent breadth of their reach, being able to explain how states of mind operate is essential. We provide a framework for the concept of state of mind (SoM). From this framework we derive several unique hypotheses, and propose an underlying mechanism whereby SoM is determined by the balance between top-down and bottom-up cortical processing. This novel framework opens new directions for understanding the human mind, and bears widespread implications for mental health.

Bio: Moshe Bar is a neuroscientist, director of the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University. He is the head of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center. Prof. Bar assumed the position of the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center director following 17 years in the US, where he had served as an associate professor at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital last, and had led the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.

Prof. Bar has made significant contributions to the field of cognition; ideas and findings that have challenged dominant paradigms in areas of exceptional diversity: from the flow of information in the cortex during visual recognition to the importance of mental simulations for planning and foresight in the brain, and from the effect of form on aesthetic preferences to a clinical theory on mood and depression. Bar uses methods from cognitive psychology, psychophysics, human brain imaging, computational neuroscience, and psychiatry to explore predictions and contextual processing in the brain, and their role in facilitating visual recognition.