Highlights: Keynote and Jerilyn Ross Lecture
Thursday, April 4
5:30 – 7:00 pm
James Fowler, PhD
Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science
University of California, San Diego
Happiness, Depression, and the Power of Social Networking
"Social networks drive and shape virtually every aspect of our lives. How we feel, whether we are depressed, whether we fall ill, and whether we vote all depend on what others around us—even those distantly connected to us—are doing, thinking, and feeling. These connections have an ancient evolutionary past, and I describe how this will affect our new life as technology moves our networks online."
James Fowler's work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences. His primary interests include social networks, behavioral economics, evolutionary game theory, political participation, cooperation, and genopolitics, or the study of the genetic basis of political behavior.
Best known for his studies of the social spread of obesity, smoking, and happiness in the Framingham Heart Study, he has also studied the network of legislative co-sponsorships in the U.S. Congress and the network of U.S. Supreme Court precedents. More recently, he has shown evidence that social networks have a partly genetic basis. In 2010, he published a paper regarding the use of social networks as sensors for forecasting epidemics.
Fowler’s latest research focuses on Facebook friendship as a predictor of voter mobilization, and the use of the social network medium, to mobilize voters in American elections. Fowler demonstrates that being presented with indications of friends having voted is a strong predictor of individual voting.
Among many honors, Dr. Fowler has been named a 2010 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers, and he has been interviewed by Stephen Colbert.
His book, co-authored with Nicholas Christakis, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, draws new conclusions about the influence of social networks on human health and behavior.
Jerilyn Ross Lecture
Friday, April 5
8:00 – 9:00 am
Richard J. Davidson, PhD
William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
Director of Waisman Brain Imaging Lab; Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience
Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Order and Disorder in the Emotional Brain
Richard Davidson’s research in his Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience focuses on the neural substrates of emotion, mood, emotional regulation, and affective style and disorders of emotion.
A neuroscientist, Dr. Davidson provides new evidence of the brain’s neuroplasticity, and he reveals that the choices we make can actually “rewire” our brains. After studying the brains of meditating Buddhist monks, he’s now using his research with children and adolescents to investigate ADHD, autism, and kindness.
Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2006, he currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and is Chair of the Psychology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Listen to a podcast with Richard Davidson: “Investigating Healthy Minds”