Your brain makes up its mind before you do, says Dr. Heather Berlin, perceiving and deciding on your behalf before you’ve even batted an eyelash. But—that doesn’t mean you can’t own your choices with a little mindfulness and discipline. A cognitive neuroscientist and host of StarTalk All-Stars with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Berlin shows that by understanding the inner workings of our brains—what they’re good (and bad) at —we can discover solutions to some of our most common professional, creative, and social challenges, making us more productive, innovative, and in-control.
You are your brain. But how exactly do your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and sense of identity derive from this three-pound organ locked inside the black box of your skull? Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin has dedicated two decades of scientific research to those questions, discovering surprising clues in the brains of people with psychiatric and neurological disorders. What happens in the brain when a person simply can’t control themselves? Or when their sense of a “self” doing the controlling is fragmented, or lost entirely? By tracing the distinct brain circuits that give rise to her patients’ disorders, Dr. Berlin is revealing the neurophysiological order that makes each of us who we are. In her provocative talks, Berlin takes audiences on a journey deep into the brain, the mind, and the self, as she reveals the startling and exciting recent findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. How does your brain accomplish spontaneous creativity? How much self-control or “free will” do we really have? And what does the future hold, once brains begin to interact with cognitive implants and “neural prosthetics”? Berlin will introduce you to your dynamic unconscious mind, a bigger part of “who you are” than you could ever guess.
Committed to integrating the arts and sciences, science communication, and promoting women in STEM, Berlin is a founding committee member of the National Academy of Sciences’ “Science and Entertainment Exchange” Program, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Committee on Science and Technology Engagement with the Public. She hosts StarTalk All-Stars with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and has hosted series on both PBS and Discovery Channel. She has made numerous media appearances including on the BBC, History Channel, Netflix, National Geographic, NPR, and TEDx, and was featured in the documentary film Bill Nye: Science Guy. Berlin is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and trained in clinical neuropsychology at Weill Cornell Medicine in the Department of Neurological Surgery. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and Master of Public Health from Harvard University.
The Human Brain and Its Future What We Know and What We Don’t
The unconscious mind and brain is more powerful and active than we ever imagined, says Dr. Heather Berlin. Knowing that, how can we optimize ourselves for success, i.e. hack our own cognitive systems? Berlin studies the seemingly mysterious topics of creativity, consciousness, and willpower, helping us to better understand ourselves and others, including what they want and how to help them. This fascinating talk unlocks the secrets of attention, perception, and human wellbeing, and shows how these human traits are key to the future digital economy. Businesses with a clear view of how they work will have an edge on competitors. Artificial Intelligence is evolving, but where is it heading? How will it affect the job market and the global economy? Where will humans fit in? Berlin discusses not just the past and present science of the human brain, but its exciting future.