Saturday, December 07, 2019 10:00 am - 1:15 pm
Thad Polk / University of Michigan
Human beings store away huge quantities of information in memory. We remember countless facts about the world (e.g., birds have wings, 2+2=4, there are 26 letters in the alphabet) as well specific information about our own lives (e.g., what we had for lunch, where we went for our last vacation, our first kiss). We remember how to tie our shoes, how to ride a bike, and how to write our signature. Most of the time we retrieve information from this enormous database of memory so efficiently and effectively that we don't even give it a second thought. But how does that work? How do we store information away into memory and then retrieve exactly the information we need minutes, days, or even years later? Conversely, why do we so often forget someone's name or where we put our keys? And perhaps most importantly, is there anything we can do to improve our memory and keep it sharp?
This course will address all those questions and many more. We'll dive into the psychological and neural mechanisms that underlie our amazing ability to remember. We'll discover that we're actually equipped with multiple different memory systems that are specialized for remembering different types of information. We'll learn about factors that can have a dramatic impact on memory, such as motivation, emotion, and aging. And we'll also discuss ways to maximize our memory by applying techniques that have been scientifically demonstrated to improve retention. After taking this course, you'll have a new appreciation for the extremely powerful memory mechanisms in your own brain and a better understanding of how to use them most effectively.
Thad Polk is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. His research combines functional imaging of the human brain with computational modeling and behavioral methods to investigate the neural architecture underlying cognition. Professor Polk regularly collaborates with scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas and at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where he is a frequent visiting scientist. His teaching has been recognized by numerous awards, and he was listed as one of The Princeton Review’s “Best 300 Professors in the United States.”
Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College
No matter how old you are, you’re aging. You started aging from the moment you were born, and you’ll continue aging until the moment you die. That’s the brutal, universal fact. But people age differently, as you’ve noticed if you’ve looked around and compared yourself to your peers. Are you aging better than they are? Worse than they are? In what ways and for what reasons?
We’ve all heard about the placebo effect – which explains why name-brand medicines work better than the generic stuff, even when they share the exact same ingredients. But did you know that the way we think about ourselves and the world around us dramatically impacts our health, how fast or slow we age, and even how long we live? In fact, people with a positive mindset about aging live on average 7.5 years longer than those without. That might sound alarming to those of us who struggle to see the bright side, but the good news is we can make surprisingly simple changes or small shifts to how we think, feel, and act that will really pay off.
In this talk, Dr. Catherine Sanderson breaks down the science of thought and shows how our mindset—or thought pattern—exerts a substantial influence on physical health. Most importantly, this talk ends by giving specific strategies we can all use, no matter our natural tendency, to make minor tweaks in our thoughts and behaviors that will improve the quality and length of our lives.
At the end of this lecture we’ll discuss what’s common with aging (everybody shrinks a little), what’s not normal (Alzheimer’s is a disease not everyone gets), and key components of successful aging (friends and family are important, but perhaps in different ways). The trajectory of aging gets shaped very early in life, but there are powerful forces that guide it along the way, and steps you can take to maximize your later years.
For more lectures about health and tips for aging gracefully check out Catherine Sanderson’s psychology lectures in our video library. Sign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.
Catherine Sanderson is the James E. Ostendarp Professor of Psychology at Amherst College, and is often cited as the school’s most popular professor. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She has published over 25 journal articles in addition to three college textbooks. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.