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Psychology Lectures: Geoffrey Loftus, Ph.D. & Brian Wandell, Ph.D.
Psychology Lectures: Geoffrey Loftus, Ph.D. & Brian Wandell, Ph.D.
WhenWednesday, Nov 1, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Campus locationStudent Union Building (HUB)
Campus room145
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Psychology
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Description

Psychology Lectures: Geoff Loftus & Brian Wandell

Please join us for lectures by Geoff Loftus and his Stanford University colleague, Brian Wandell, as we celebrate the career and retirement of Professor Loftus.

Geoff Loftus: Measuring the Passage of Time, the Heights of Trees, and the Rate of Forgetting

Central to science is figuring out how to measure things — e.g., for Physicists, energy; for Astronomers, planetary density; for Chemists, Avogadro’s constant, and so on.

Whereas Psychologists have been remarkably successful in measuring some things (exemplified in Brian Wandell’s accompanying talk), they have been less successful in measuring other things. In particular, in many fields of Psychology, one’s goal is to measure some internal entity (e.g., “memory strength”) which, while presumed to exist, and while central in psychological theories, is not directly observable. One must therefore carry out such measurements using a dependent variable (e.g., “probability correct”) that is related to the internal entity only in an ill-specified manner. This in turn renders tests of theoretical hypotheses untrustworthy and unstable.

Dr. Loftus will illustrate this problem using fictional measurements of time and height practiced by a fictional group of ancient people, and then demonstrate one solution to it within Psychology, using as an example, how to measure the rate at which people forget.

Brian Wandell: Neuroimaging and Measurement: The Neural Circuitry of Reading

Like many psychologists, Geoff Loftus and Brian Wandell share a passion for understanding measurement, and many conversations on this topic were the first basis of their friendship. Over the years, Dr. Wandell drifted more into neuroscience where he learned that psychologists understand measurement quite differently from neuroscientists. To honor Geoff, some of this talk will be about how the theory of measurement applies to human neuroimaging research, using the example of neuroimaging measurements of the visual portions of the brain’s reading circuitry.

Over the last 25 years, human neuroscientists identified several critical parts of that circuitry, knowledge that provides an opportunity to diagnose failure points of the circuitry in individual children; this information can lead to better remediation and training and support societal aims for improving literacy. The diagnoses will be particularly effective if they are developed using quantitative measurements, computational modeling of circuitry, and the ability to share data and computations. These methods – whose foundation is measurement theory - differ from the group comparison and hypothesis testing approaches widely used in clinical and cognitive neuroscience.

In summary, Dr. Wandell will show pictures that illustrate understanding of the visual structures in the reading circuitry, and offer opinions about the value of understanding measurement theory as he seeks to convert scientific findings into useful diagnostics. 

This is a free event, but registration is required. Register here.

These lectures are made possible by a generous endowment by Professor Allen L. Edwards.

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