Discussions on the future of brain science and technology.

About the show

CogNation is a podcast by Rolf Nelson and Joe Hardy, two cognitive psychologists interested in the future of brain science and technology. We explore relevant topics in the areas of cognitive science, technology, AI, and philosophy. Although we dabble with dystopian implications of new technologies (such as the impending robopocalypse), we are led by our curiosity and try to keep it light and fun.

email: [email protected]

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  • Episode 12: The Future of Medical Education: Guest Brent Stansfield

    May 4th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  56 mins 26 secs
    brain, brent stansfield, cognition, education, future, health care, medical school, medicine

    Joe and Rolf talk with Brent Stansfield, who is currently the director of medical education at Wayne State University, about the future of health care and the kinds of value that doctors can provide as artificial intelligence and robotic surgery come of age.

    We frame the discussion around the article "Medical Education Must Move From the Information Age to the Age of Artificial Intelligence" by Steven Wartman & Donald Combs.

  • Episode 11: Intelligence

    April 23rd, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 11 mins
    brain, cognition, history, intelligence, thinking

    We talk about the history of research on intelligence. Is intelligence a real thing? What does it actually refer to, and can it be measured? Joe and Rolf discuss.

  • Episode 10: Augmenting the Brain

    April 11th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 4 mins
    bci, brain, brain augmentation, brain enhancement, cognition, eeg, hippocampus, mind, perception, tdcs

    Rolf and Joe discuss recent developments in brain augmentation technology, including transferring memory in rats, applying electrical stimulation, cognitive training, and others.

  • Episode 9: Self-Control as a Resource

    March 31st, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 2 mins
    brain, ego depletion, self-control, willpower

    Is self-control something that we an think of as a resource that can be depleted and replenished? It's been a popular model in psychology for years, but it has come under question recently. We discuss "Why self-control seems like (but may not be) limited", a paper by Inzlicht and colleagues that proposes an alternate model.

  • Episode 8: Artificial Life

    March 22nd, 2019  |  Season 1  |  54 mins 32 secs
    artificial life, brain, christopher langton, cognition, evolution, life, mind

    Can we create life artificially? What would that even mean? Rolf and Joe talk about the field of Artificial Life, or "A-Life", which has worked toward the goal from a number of academic disciplines for the past thirty or so years. They think about different approaches, such as software, hardware, and biological artificial life, and consider what it might take to convince us that we have created something that would be considered life.

  • Episode 7: Heroism and Heroic Actions: Stephanie Preston

    March 13th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  56 mins 2 secs
    behavior, brain, cognition, evolution, evolutionary psychology, hero, heroism, michigan, preston, psychology

    What makes a hero? Guest Stephanie Preston, director of the Ecological Neuroscience Lab at the University of Michigan, takes an evolutionary look at what might underlie extraordinary acts, done at great personal risk, to help or save the life of others.

  • Episode 6: The Illusion of Conscious Will

    March 5th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  51 mins 49 secs
    cognition, daniel wegner, free will, philosophy, psychology

    A discussion of Dan Wegner's "The Illusion of Conscious Will"

  • Episode 5: Reading the Mind with EEG: Adrian Nestor

    February 22nd, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 4 mins
    bci, brain, cognition, eeg, fmri, mind, perception

    Dr. Adrian Nestor of the University of Toronto talks with us about the state of the art in using EEG to read our percepts and thoughts

  • The Frey Effect, Continued: Dr. Beatrice Golomb

    February 12th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  17 mins 40 secs
    brain, cuba, embassy, frey effect, neuroscience, perception, sound

    Rolf interviews Dr. Beatrice Golomb as an addendum to our previous show about the Frey Effect

  • The Frey Effect (or, When Microwaves Attack)

    February 12th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 10 mins
    brain, cuba, embassy, frey effect, neuroscience, perception, sound

    Discussion of the Frey Effect, an interesting phenomenon where sound is perceived from microwave radiation, and has been suggested as the cause of mysterious afflictions at the American embassy in Cuba.

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces, part A

    February 4th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  51 mins 20 secs
    bci, brain, computer, neuroscience, technology

    A discussion of the current state of the art of brain-computer interfaces

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces, part B

    February 4th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  50 mins 45 secs
    bci, brain, computer, neuroscience, technology

    Second part on brain-computer interfaces

  • Episode 2: Using Virtual Reality for Therapy

    January 27th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 1 min
    mental health, neuroscience, psychology, ptsd, virtual reality

    Discussion of VR in therapy

  • Episode 1: Building machines that think like us

    January 20th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  1 hr 17 mins
    artificial intelligence, brains, robots

    Rolf and Joe discuss the current state of the art in machine intelligence and the prospects for building machines that are as intelligent as people.