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A brain for life: The 21st century mind

This discourse will give an overview of three aspects of the mind and how we are trying to maximise its potential in the 21st century.

Neuroscience is starting to give us insights into the possible physical basis of the mind. We now know that the human brain is continuously adapting and responding to the environment, "neuroplasticity". It is this personalisation of the physical brain that we can now regard as the individual "mind". Given the exquisite sensitivity of the individual brain/mind, to individual experiences, we need to explore the impact of the new environment of the 21st century on the kinds of people we may become.

This discourse will give an overview of three aspects of the mind and how we are trying to maximise its potential in the 21st century.

The developing mind
The 21st century presents a new environment of two dimensions, where children are currently spending some 6 hours a day in front of a screen. If that screen mandates an environment of fast paced images of activities with no permanent consequences, and indeed a literal world dominated by strong sensations, what kind of individual might result?

The conscious mind
Consciousness is arguably one of the biggest mysteries remaining for both science and philosophy. The new techniques and approaches of 21st century neuroscience may not be solving the riddle of how the metaphorical water of neuronal activity is turned into wine of subjective experience, but is nonetheless offering us fascinating new approaches, and hence insights into this age-old puzzle.

The degenerating mind
In the 21st century, one person in three over the age of 60 will suffer from dementia in the UK. At the moment, there is no cure, nor pre-symptomatic diagnostic test. One vision for tackling this serious and growing problem would be to couple a routine blood test that could detect the disease before the symptoms appear, with an oral medication that prevented any further cells dying - an effective cure!


Baroness Susan Greenfield | talks | www


Date and Time:

25 September 2009 at 8:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Royal Institution
21 Albemarle Street
020 7409 2992

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