The Role of the Prefrontal Cortex: I’d Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me than a Frontal Lobotomy
with Robert T. Knight, M.D.
Rewarding things in life like obtaining the career of your dreams are often achieved through long-term planning and strategic decision making. Even more mundane accomplishments like arranging to meet with friends for a drink at a bar depends deeply on the ability to flexibly organize our thoughts and actions to reach some goal. Humans are exceptional at exerting control over our cognitive lives and this has been fundamental to our successes at developing science, music, literature, and art. Over the past century we have learned that this ability to control and organize our thinking depends on one critical part of the brain: the prefrontal cortex. We’ve learned this, in large part, from studying people who have damage to this part of their brains. Without a functioning prefrontal cortex, patients show disorganized thinking, have severe deficits at controlling their impulses, and often have difficulty in completing simple tasks that require even the slightest amount of planning.
In this talk, neurologist Bob Knight will describe what we’ve learned about the role of the prefrontal cortex in organizing our behavior through his work with patients with prefrontal damage as well as through his research in which electrical activity is recorded directly from the surface of the brain in patients awaiting surgery.
Robert T. Knight, M.D.
is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley where he directs a large research laboratory and is the former Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He is also a board certified neurologist who specializes in treatment individuals with damage to prefrontal cortex due to stroke, seizures, and traumatic brain injury.
Science Pub Eugene is a monthly event open to anyone aged 21+ (or minor with adult). No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge!
$5.00 suggested cover charge. Tell your friends. We hope to see you there!
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