Book Launch: The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 9:30pm to Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - 12:00am

The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture by Robert K. Logan (University of Toronto Press) ISBN 978-0-8020-9303-5
The ability to communicate through language is such a fundamental part of human ex-istence that we often take it for granted, rarely considering how sophisticated the process is by which we understand and make ourselves understood. In The Extended Mind, acclaimed author Robert K. Logan examines the origin, emergence, and co-evolution of language, the human mind, and culture.
Building on his previous study, The Sixth Language (2000), and making use of emer-gence theory, Logan seeks to explain how language emerged to deal with the complexity of hominid existence brought about by toolmaking, control of fire, social intelligence, coordinated hunting and gathering, and mimetic communication. The resulting emergence of language, he argues, signifies a fundamental change in the functioning of the human mind ' a shift from per-cept-based thought to concept-based thought.
This study will be of particular interest to linguists because of the way in which the origin of language is tied to the emergence of cognitive science and culture.From the perspective of the Extended Mind model, Logan provides an alternative to and critique of Noam Chomsky's approach to the origin of language. He argues that language can be treated as an organism that evolved to be easily acquired, obviating the need for the hard-wiring of Chomsky's Language Acquisition Device.
In addition Logan shows how, according to this model, culture itself can be treated as an organism that has evolved to be easily attained, revealing the universality of human culture as well as providing an insight as to how altruism might have originated. Bringing timely insights to a fascinating field of inquiry, The Extended Mind will be of interest to readers in a wide range of disciplines.
Media inquiries please contact Andrea-Jo Wilson at 416-978-2239 Ext. 248.

Venue & Address: 
Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity, Rm 600 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario
Cost: 
Free

Tasty coloured sounds: The experiences of synaesthetes Dr. Julia Simner, University of Edinburgh

Poster for Crossing Sensory Boundaries, with an abstract colourful background
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:00pm

Crossing Sensory Boundaries: Synesthesia Events Co-sponsored by OCAD University

Synaesthesia is an inherited neurological condition that gives rise to a kind of 'merging of the senses'. For example, synaesthetes might 'see' colours when they hear music, or experience tastes in the mouth when they read words. One particularly common variant is experiencing colours when reading letters or numbers, and this variant of the condition – known as grapheme-colour synaesthesia -- is found in around 1 in 100 people. What are the experiences of synaesthetes, and how do these unusual experiences develop during childhood? How do they impact on schooling and early life development and how do adult synaesthetes navigate their multisensory worlds? I will explore the nature of these cross-sensory experiences and ask what they might also tell us about sensory processing in the population at large. I’ll describe what I have learned from the scientific research carried out at my Synaesthesia and Sensory Integration lab over the last decade, and how synaesthesia might open novel ways of understanding creativity, perception and the very nature of reality.

Dr. Julia Simner is a neuropsychologist and leading expert in the field of synesthesia research. She trained at the Universities of Oxford, Toronto and Sussex, and she currently runs the Synesthesia and Sensory Integration lab at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work focuses on the psychological and neuroscientific bases of synesthesia, and has been published in the high impact science journals such as ‘Nature’. She is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia and is keenly interested in facilitating the public’s understanding of science. Her work has been reported in over 100 media articles worldwide, including the NY Times, BBC, CBC, Telegraph, Times, New Scientist, Scientific American etc. In 2010 she was recognised as an outstanding European scientist by the European Commission’s Atomium Culture Initiative and her science writing for the general public has been published in some of Europe’s leading national newspapers.

This presentation is co-sponsored by OCAD University, The Colour Research Society of Canada, MaHRC, and the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, with financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Organized by David Griffin, Instructor, Faculty of Art and Doreen Balabanoff, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design.

Venue & Address: 
Faculty of Music, University of Toronto 80 Queen’s Park Crescent Toronto, Ontario
Cost: 
Free