Dan Simons: Missing What’s Missing...

Lectures & Discussions

Photograph from the cover of “The Invisible Gorilla”

Psychology Professor and NYTimes best-selling author Dan Simons explores the limits of awareness and memory in two special lectures.

“Missing What’s Missing…” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 2019 in Knobel Hall, Burton Morgan.

“Do ‘Brain Training’ Programs Work?” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2019, in Burton Morgan Lecture Hall.

Missing What’s Missing…

We all have intuitive beliefs about the workings of our own mind, and those beliefs are firmly grounded in our daily experiences; we believe we see the world as it is and that we know why we see it the way we do. Yet, our experiences can be misleading, fostering illusions about our cognitive abilities and delusions about the richness of our understanding. Dr. Simon draws on research from visual perception, attention, and metacognition to illustrate how the unnoticed limits of our own minds affect what we see and think. The talk will focus on failures of awareness and the limits of our mind.

Do ‘Brain Training’ Programs Work?

In 2014, a large group of scientists released a “consensus”letter stating that there is little or no evidence for real cognitive benefits from brain games. Shortly afterward, a group of brain training proponents released their own letter touting the extensive evidence for everyday benefits of cognitive training! How could two groups of scientists examine the same literature and come to conflicting “consensus” views about the effectiveness of brain training? Simons presents the results of a comprehensive evaluation of all evidence cited by leading brain training companies and proponents as support for the benefits of brain training. Our team found that practicing a brain training game does make you better at that game, but we found almost no compelling evidence that such games improve everyday cognition or limit the effects of cognitive aging. Dr. Simon discusses the state of the evidence, and the changes to scientific standards that are needed to improve how such interventions are conducted and how their results are interpreted.

DANIEL SIMONS is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. His research explores the limits of awareness and memory, the reasons why we often are unaware of those limits, and the implications of such limits for our personal and professional lives. In 2010, he and his colleague Christopher Chabris co-authored the New York Times bestseller, The Invisible Gorilla.

Posted Date 
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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