Creating New Possibilities with your Mind
By Crystal Tang
The debate of nature vs. nurture has been a longstanding one that spans across many disciplines around the world. However, the latest ‘geek’ is not about taking a one-sided stand, but rather to synthesize the ‘best of both worlds’.
This year’s Science Festival 2012 theme is ‘Create New Possibilities’ – a reach out to the young and agile minds looking to innovate. The festival began in July and will follow through till the end of August with a wide array of thought provoking and inspiring activities to participate in.
The real eye-opener though was the STAR lecture, held between 15 – 17 August. This was a first for Singapore MediaCorp studios as they had never accommodated a lecture before nor have they broadcasted one. So to catch this enthralling event – tune in to Channel 5, from 5:30pm to 7pm on 1st September 2012. This year’s theme – ‘Meet Your Brain’ is piloted by Professor Bruce Hood, Director of the Bristol Cognitive Centre.
Be it a routine or even an involuntary action – it all boils down to interaction that goes on in our brain circuits. In the words of Professor Hood, “The human brain is the most marvellous structure in the known universe and yet the way it works has been a mystery for much of human civilization.”
Here’s a glimpse into the ‘mind’ of Professor Bruce Hood after a very warm and informative session I had with him prior to attending his highly engaging and successful STAR lecture:
How would you define cognitive development in one sentence?
It’s not solely up to nature, it is up to you to learn and implement.
Why did you choose to use children for this study?
A child’s brain is extremely mouldable and their circuits are constantly rewiring to fit the world. So to understand the current workings of an adult brain, it is best to understand the genesis of a mind – a child’s brain.
As an active researcher, have you encountered any moments where you have felt all these were in vain?
Yes, constantly. But then again the whole point of a science research is to test out ideas. So, if its conducted properly, we will get an answer- it could prove that your theory is right or it may not. Either way, discovering the real truth is always fullfilling.
What is the primary inspiration behind your book, Supersense: Why we believe the unbelievable?
As a child I used to believe in the supernatural. However when I was in university, I discovered that there was no reliable evidence for backing that paranormal field. On the other hand I did become fascinated with the workings of the human mind. The mind may appear to be intricate and delicate but it really is more complex and structured. This book gives insights to the reasons why we cultivate fear for the ‘unbelievable’.
Is there anything in particular you would like to enlighten our readers with?
Yes. Always enjoy the moment and do plan for the future but always leave room for changes. Also, never stop discovering!
For more information about Singapore Science Festival, please visit http://www.sciencefest.sg
Want to read more about the actual interview? Head to our resident blogger’s page: http://www.visakanv.com/blog/