Saturday, March 30, 2019 9:30 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.”
Jessica Payne / University of Notre Dame
What’s going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Notre Dame Professor Jessica Payne shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem-solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again. The fact is, your brain pulls an all-nighter when you hit the hay. Many regions of the brain – especially those involved in learning, processing information, and emotion – are actually more active during sleep than when you’re awake. These regions are working together while you sleep, helping you process and sort information you’ve taken in during the course of the day. Professor Payne’s research has focused on what types of information are submitted to memory, and has been instrumental in better understanding how the brain stores the information.
Sleep is critical for our brains and bodies, from decreasing risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease to bolstering our memory and emotional well-being. Sleep changes across the lifespan, from childhood to adolescence, adulthood to older adulthood. How can we maintain our top level of performance and health through all these fluctuations in our sleep? Professor Payne is an expert in sleep and cognition and will explain the moving target of sleep across the ages and its impact on mental and physical health and well-being. She will help people understand how to best combat these changes and work with them to benefit our lives. She will give tips on how to sleep better, including how to engineer the perfect nap! Along with learning how to use sleep to heighten creativity, productivity, memory and emotional well-being, older adults concerned with cognitive decline can learn about the role of sleep in this process and how to best regain control of sleep in order to bolster their brains and memory processes.
Sound interesting? It is. And useful too, as Professor Payne will outline all sorts of practical information on how to control your sleep habits to ensure maximum productivity.
For more lectures about health and the importance of sleep, check out Professor Jessica Payne’s psychology and lifestyle lectures in our video library. Sign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.
Jessica Payne is the Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Her course, The Sleeping Brain, routinely sports a waitlist because of its immense popularity among Notre Dame students. In 2012, Professor Payne received the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is also a two-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award, and won the Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center.
Michael Sparer / Columbia University
The nation's health care system is in the midst of an extraordinary transformation. Hospitals and insurance companies are merging (and the lines between the two are blurring). There are fewer and fewer solo practice physicians. Large retail chains (from CVS to Walmart) are entering the health care business. Government's role as a payer and regulator is growing, prompted by legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. There are fewer and fewer uninsured, but those who are insured are paying more and more of their health care bill (through higher premiums and deductibles).
In this lecture, Professor Michael Sparer reviews these trends, as well as several others that are sure to have a profound impact on where we get our medical care, what the quality of that care will be, and how we pay for it. The lecture also considers the politics of health care, both in the 2016 Presidential campaign and beyond. What are the key health care issues facing a new President, what are the key differences between the two political parties on these issues, and how will the resolution of these issues affect every one of us?
Michael Sparer is a professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Professor Sparer is also the Chair of Health Policy & Management. He is a two-time winner of the Mailman School’s Student Government Association Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the recipient of a 2010 Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. He spent seven years as a litigator for the New York City Law Department.