The CMBC is pleased to co-sponsor events presented by other departments, showcasing diverse perspectives on mind, brain, and culture.


FALL 2020

The Emory University Program in Linguistics presents

Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton
UCLA | Anthropology
"Crying, Control, and Masculinity in the Language of Donald Trump"

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
4P via ZOOM







Tuesday, March 3rd at 4:15pm in the Atwood Building, room 360
Sharese King, Department of Linguistics, University of Chicago.

Title: On Race and Place: Investigating stylistic variation in Rochester, New York
Abstract: Recent explorations of regional variation across African American speech communities have brought to the forefront the linguistic heterogeneity across African American Language (AAL). Having problematized the presentation of AAL as a uniform variety (Wolfram 2007; 2015), intra-group analyses highlight the diverse social and linguistic constructions among African American speakers. In this talk, I zoom in on three personae local to the African American community in Rochester, New York, contextualizing each style against the backdrop of a post-industrial city in the Rustbelt region. I investigate how the three personae, The Mobile Professional, The Hood Kid, and The Biker recruit or reject vocalic patterns of the Northern Cities Shift to construct identities relevant to their social landscape. The findings challenge how we define the dialect, while also complicating our understanding of the relationship between race and language.


FALL 2019






LISTEN to a PODCAST of this lecture!







Ant Navigation 
(Podcast link)

Monday, April 15, 2019
PAIS 290  4PM
Ken Cheng Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, AU

Ants as a group feature especially small brains even for their small size, and yet many species are expert navigators forging learned routes about their habitat. Working to bring food to their next, they make excellent research animals for navigational research because they do not satiate when given food repeatedly. I review briefly ants' navigational tool kit, with part integration, view-based navigation (and to some extent cues of other modalities), and systematic search being chief components. Then I describe some evidence on two major themes. First, ants integrate cues from multiple navigational systems that are processed in parallel. In some cases, they even integrate in an optimal (Bayesian) fashion. Second, how ants learn to use views for navigation and how they modify view-based navigation on the basis of experience (learning) has recently been investigated. I highlight some recent work on this experimental ethology of learning to navigate.




FALL 2018

Opera, Media, and Society

Tod Machover
Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

December 6, 2018
4 PM  PAIS 290


Building Transdisciplinary Capacity for Tibetan Medical Research: Methods, Translation and Efficacy Evaluation

October 2, 2018
WHSCAB Auditorium



Smokies Cognition and Neuroscience Symposium (SCANS)

September 14-15, 2018
Asheville, NC












CUES of Conspiracy Theories and the Relevance of Social Justice Research


Dr. Jan-Willem Van Prooijen, Associate Professor, VU University (Amsterdam)

"Citizens across the world widely believe conspiracy theories in which powerholders or societal groups are accused of immoral and illegal conduct. Such suspicions of injustice committed by hostile plots are influential yet difficult to change. Understanding the psychological roots of conspiracy theories is therefore highly relevant for the scientific study of social justice. In the current presentation, I highlight four basic principles that characterize belief in conspiracy theories. These four principles are summarized through the acronym CUES: Conspiracy theories are Consequential as they have a real impact on people’s health, relationships, and safety; they are Universal as belief in them is widespread across times, cultures, and social settings; they are Emotional as negative emotions and not rational deliberations cause conspiracy beliefs; and, they are Social as conspiracy beliefs are closely associated with psychological motivations underlying intergroup conflict. At the end of my talk I illuminate how the study of social justice may help design interventions to reduce conspiracy theories among the public." 

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology


FALL 2017

The Lying Conference 

November 17, 2017
Emory Conference Center, Starvine Ballroom
8:45 AM- 6:00 PM

View program information here. Visit the website here.

Speaker Abstracts: 

Perspective-taking and Dishonest Communication in Primates and Other Animals

Frans BM de Waal, Living Links, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University

The study of Theory-of-Mind (ToM) began with ape research by Emil Menzel and later David Premack after which it expanded in developmental psychology, which made it a key measure of social intelligence. Recently, ToM research returned with a vengeance to the apes when a False Belief task was finally conducted. The apes seemed to pass, which adds evidence that apes and a few other nonhuman animals can take the perspective of others. One of the expressions of this capacity is tactical deception, which is clearly more developed in apes than most other species, although there is also evidence for corvids. There is plenty of functional deception in animals (e.g. mimicry), but tactical deception is more flexible and based on learning and anticipation of the reactions of others. It may require enhanced perspective-taking and self-other distinction. I will review the evidence for this capacity in the primates based on both experimental studies and anecdotal information.

Lying, American Style

Bradd Shore, Department of Anthropology, Emory University

Even for the most ardent empiricist, there can be no objective definition of lying. Like many of our familiar ideas, lying can only make sense as “a cultural model” rather than as a simple objective phenomenon. In this talk, I will try to illuminate some of the presuppositions that underwrite the American cultural model, and to suggest some of the ways in which this model has been politically deployed and manipulated in recent decades.

Little liars: How children learn to tell lies?

Kang Lee, Professor & Canada Research Chair Tier 1, University of Toronto

In this talk, I will use scientific evidence from my lab and others over the last two decades to show that lying begins early in life and discuss what factors contribute or do not contribute to the development of lying, why children lie, and whether we adults can easily detect children’s lies. Furthermore, I will discuss recent developments in technology that may help us detect children’s lies and such technology’s applications in lie-detection and beyond.

Face Value: The Irresistible (and misleading) Influence of First Impressions

Alexander Todorov, Department of Psychology, Princeton University

Physiognomy – the pseudoscience of reading character from faces – has long been discredited, but we are all naïve physiognomists. People form instantaneous impressions from faces, agree on these impressions, and act on these impressions. In the last 10 years, we have introduced data-driven computational methods that allow us to visualize the configurations of face features leading to specific impressions such as trustworthiness. That is, we are able to visualize appearance stereotypes. But are these stereotypes accurate? In the last decade, there has been a resurgence of studies claiming that the stereotypes are indeed accurate. But a closer look at the modern studies shows that the claims of the new physiognomy are almost as exaggerated as those of the old physiognomy. First, different images of the same person can lead to completely different impressions. Second, often our decisions are more accurate if we completely ignore face information and rely on common knowledge. So why do we form first impressions? In our quest to know others and in the absence of good information, we are forced to rely on appearance information. This information could be useful as a guide to the intentions and actions of the person in the immediate here and now, but it is misleading as a guide to the person’s character.

What Happened to The News? - Technology, Politics and the Vanishing Truth

Jonathan Mann CNN International anchor

Many Americans believe that the news media intentionally lie to them. President Donald Trump is the best-known detractor of "fake news," though he himself has been accused of lying more than any other public figure in recent memory. Former CNN anchor Jonathan Mann will address the overlapping changes to technology, politics and business that have crippled our national conversation with deception and distrust.

Onions and Identities: Theater and the True Self

Tim McDonough, Theater Studies, Emory University. Resident Artist, Theater Emory

The conflict between truth and deceit, reality and appearance, being and seeming is a theme to which theater is perfectly suited, because theater is deception in service of truth. Drama is densely populated by duplicitous schemers, by power figures whose lies maintain the sociopolitical status quo, and by characters in search of themselves, who mirror to us our confusions and self-deceptions about self. Theater provides a template for understanding identity and insight into several existentially and socially necessary forms of deceit. Excerpts from Hamlet, King Lear, Peer Gynt, Angels in America, and several other plays.

The Science of Magic and the Art of Deception

Alex Stone, Professional magician, writer and entertainer, New York City

“Magic takes place not in the hands of the magician but in the mind of the spectator.” 

—magician’s adage

Magic is dramatized deception, lying as performance art, cons as theatre. Magicians trick our brains into seeing what isn’t real, and for whatever reason our brains let them get away with it. Turns out, you can learn a lot about how the mind works—and why it sometimes doesn’t—by looking at how magicians distort our perception. Through a mix of psychology, storytelling, and sleight-of-hand, Stone explores the cognitive underpinnings of misdirection, illusion, scams, and secrecy, pulling back the curtain on the many curious and powerful ways our brains deceive us—not just when we’re watching a magician stage his swindles, but throughout our everyday lives.


Co-Sponsored by the Department of Psychology


Just What Is Musical Tempo?

October 3, 2017
4:00 PM

Justin London
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music, Cognitive Science, and the Humanities
Department of Music, Carleton College, Northfield, MN

londonWhen we listen to music its tempo is rarely, if ever, in doubt.  Within just a few seconds, we know whether the music is fast, moderate, or slow.  Yet the cues for these judgments are not simple or straightforward.  This presentation will begin with a few illustrative examples, which we will then unpack in terms of their beat rate, loudness, event density, and spectral flux.  The effect of familiarity with the music (and musical style) will then be considered.  Moving beyond auditory cues, the effect of watching others moving while listening, as well as one's own movement while listening, will be added to the picture, showing that tempo perception has important cross-modal aspects.  Finally, and perhaps as a way of untangling the Gordian knot of the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic cues for tempo, an energistic account of tempo is given, suggesting that "tempo" is not so much a measure of musical speed, but rather an index of the energy required to produce and/or move with the music.

Sponsored by the Emory Department of Music, with support from the CMBC