Noyce Conference Room
  US Mountain Time
Tyler Marghetis

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Abstract: Our minds can become fixated — but they can also undergo sudden, radical change. Think of religious conversions, mathematical insights, artistic breakthroughs. On the surface, such transformations can seem quite different. But might they share deep, underlying properties? Common mechanisms that span timescales? Can we predict when sudden mental transformation is on the horizon? This talk will explore these “ruts” and “ruptures” of the human mind. I’ll first show that radical transformation isn’t limited to the exceptional few but is ubiquitous, occurring reliably in religious belief, scientific understanding, mental health, aesthetic preferences, and more. I’ll then describe empirical analyses and formal modeling of two case studies of sudden rupture: professional jazz improvisation and expert mathematical reasoning. I’ll end by discussing prospects for a domain-general, multiscale theory of the ruts and ruptures of human thought, from moment-to-moment creativity to decade-long paradigm shifts. 


Tyler MarghetisTyler MarghetisAssistant Professor University of California, Merced
SFI Host: 
Marco Buongiorno Nardelli

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