Professor Ascoli to Lead Program on the Science Behind Consciousness

Posted: April 23, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: April 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Mason’s Center for Consciousness and Transformation will present “Trees of the Mind: Neurons and Their Relationship to Consciousness” on Wednesday, April 28.

Giorgio Ascoli, a neuroscientist with Mason’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, will lead the program and explore the science behind consciousness. The program runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and will be held in Research I, Room 163, on the Fairfax Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Mental states (thoughts, feelings, memories, intentions, etc.) consist of electrical activity patterns in networks of nerve cells. Learning, meant as the acquisition of the potential to have a new mental state, corresponds to the formation of new connections among nerve cells, enabling the activation of the new pattern of electrical activity.

In this presentation, Ascoli will introduce the notion that the tree-like shape of nerve cells provides a concrete structural foundation for a key cognitive function, namely, the capability to acquire new knowledge.

Light refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is highly recommended, and registration forms are available online.

Initiated in 2009, the Center for Consciousness and Transformation is an interdisciplinary research and teaching center whose mission is to understand the nature and effects of individual and group consciousness and their role in transformative learning and social change.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu