Decade of the Mind Conference

Decade of the Mind
Decade of the Mind

From January 13-15, 2009 the Decade of the Mind IV Conference will take place in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico – really the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Albuquerque. Here’s the blurb on the Decade of the Mind Initiative:

Recent advances in brain research, in combination with the scientific consensus that mind emerges as a result of the activities of brains, has led to the notion of a new “Decade” project — one dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of mind within the context of neuroscience. In May 2007 a group of leading scientists met at George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study to map out what such a national initiative might look like.

The Decade of the Mind initiative is trans-disciplinary and multi-agency in its approach. Success will require research that reaches across many disciplines.

The Decade of the Mind initiative focuses on four broad areas:

Healing and protecting the mind: This is the notion of improving the public health by curing diseases of the brain that affect the mind. An example of such a disease is Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding the mind: This aspect of the initiative seeks to understand how mind actually emerges from brain functional activity. Some of the key characteristics of the mind that are still not understood include consciousness, memory and dreams.

Enriching the mind: Improving learning outcomes in education is a key component of this part of the initiative.

Modeling the mind: A key approach to understanding the mind is to model it either analytically or using computation. Such models of mind may facilitate the creation of new hypotheses which can then be tested in the laboratory or clinic. Modeling the mind may also allow for the creation of new applications, technologies and inventions.

The conference schedule is available online, and includes a pre-conference session on neuroethics: legal and social issues. Overall, there appears to be a strong conference focus on technology in relation to neuroscience, so there should be some fascinating conversations and presentations in this cutting-edge area.

Also of note, applications for travel grants are due tomorrow, December 19th!

The hat-tip goes to the Neuroethics and Law blog, which looks interesting itself.

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