Feindel Virtual Brain and Mind Lecture Series: The brain in the social world: Integrating approaches from cognitive neuroscience and social network analysis


Carolyn Parkinson presents, "The brain in the social world: Integrating approaches from cognitive neuroscience and social network analysis".

Registration via Eventbrite.

Livestreaming via Vimeo.

Speaker: Carolyn Parkinson, Ph.D.

UCLA Department of Psychology & Brain Research Institute

Bio: Carolyn Parkinson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, faculty at the Brain Research Institute, and the Wendell Jeffrey and Bernice Wenzel Term Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she directs the UCLA Computational Social Neuroscience Lab. She obtained her B.Sc. in Psychology from McGill University, then obtained her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College. Her research examines how the human brain represents, navigates, and is shaped by the structure of its social environment by integrating theory and methods from cognitive neuroscience, machine learning, social network analysis, and social psychology.

Abstract: The cognitive demands of navigating large groups comprised of many varied, intense, and enduring social bonds are thought to have significantly shaped human brain evolution. Yet, much remains to be understood about how individuals track, encode, and are influenced by the structure of the social networks that they inhabit. This talk will provide an overview of recent work integrating theory and methods from social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and social network analysis, as well as the motivation for combining these lines of inquiry. One set of studies tests if, when, and how people retrieve knowledge of familiar others’ positions in their real-world social networks when encountering them. Related research tests how this knowledge, once retrieved, shapes downstream processing and behavior. An additional set of studies tests if human social networks exhibit assortativity in how their members perceive, interpret, and respond to their environment. Consistent with this possibility, inter-individual similarities of neural responses to naturalistic stimuli accurately predict the distance between individuals in their shared social network, such that friends have exceptionally similar responses to the world around them. All human cognition is embedded within social networks, but research on information processing within individuals has progressed largely separately from research on the social networks in which individuals are embedded. The set of findings to be reviewed in this talk suggests that integrating approaches from social psychology, neuroscience, and social network analysis can provide new insights into how individuals perceive, shape, and are shaped by the structure of their social world.

The Feindel Virtual Brain and Mind (VBM) Seminar Series will advance the vision of Dr. William Feindel (1918–2014), Former Director of the Neuro (1972–1984), to constantly bridge the clinical and research realms. The talks will highlight the latest advances and discoveries in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroimaging.

Speakers will include scientists from across The Neuro, as well as colleagues and collaborators locally and from around the world. The series is intended to provide a virtual forum for scientists and trainees to continue to foster interdisciplinary exchanges on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of brain and cognitive disorders.

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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