Chen Institute Brain & Mind Lecture

Thanks to the generosity of the Chen Institute, the Academy is thrilled to announce the Chen Institute Brain & Mind Lecture series, an annual event exclusively for members and donors that explores brain science and mind health in our rapidly changing world.

Our Minds on VR

Jeremy Bailenson

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to blur the line between reality and illusion, granting us access to otherwise inaccessible experiences. While we often associate VR with entertainment and escapism, it potentially impacts a range of activities, including communication, education, and training—and perhaps even offers the chance to deepen empathy and to change people’s attitudes toward environmental and social issues. Dr. Jeremy Bailenson, director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab and a professor in Stanford University’s Department of Communication, will explore the strengths and pitfalls of VR in a range of domains and will help illuminate the cognitive activities engaged in a VR experience.


NeuroAesthetics: Meaning is in the Brain of the Beholder

Photo of Dr. Indre Viskontas from Ted Talk

Someone duct-taped a banana to a wall, called it art, and sold it for $120k. What can neuroscience tell us about aesthetic experiences? Meet neuroscientist, stage director, and 2023 Osher Fellow, Dr. Indre Viskontas as she leads us on a journey into how our brains turn sensory perceptions into meaningful and moving experiences, that can motivate us to act in accordance with our values.


A New Era of Experiential Medicine: Technology to Enhance Cognition

Photo of Dr. Adam Gazzaley

In the inaugural lecture, Academy Trustee Dr. Adam Gazzaley discussed how emerging technologies can provide insight into neuroscience and how other interactive advancements—video games, augmented reality, and virtual reality—can potentially treat conditions like ADHD, dementia, and depression.