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Mind Research Collaborations

For Immediate Release:
November 01, 2007

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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367
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Mind Research Collaborations

The Exploratorium’s new Mind collection, on view November 9, 2007-December 31, 2008, includes cutting-edge research gathered through collaborations with individuals and research institutions from the Bay Area and across the country. These research associations broadened the Exploratorium's own expert knowledge and expanded its pool of resources, and includes.

Paul Ekman, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul Ekman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California at San Francisco, has been studying emotions and facial expressions for decades. His work has plumbed the mysteries of how expressions change over microseconds, explored the ways in which viewers use faces to decode the feelings and intentions of others, and shed light on the underlying nature of emotional experience. Numerous Mind exhibits have benefited from Dr. Ekman’s work and insights. Polite Smile, Delight Smile and The Eyes Have It guide the visitor in discerning the feelings of another from the building blocks of a facial expression. Masks, on the other hand, challenges visitors to communicate emotions without using their faces. Startle shows visitors how their own spontaneous expressions of surprise change over time. And Poker Face lets visitors attempt to prevent their own faces from betraying their true intentions. Dr. Ekman received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University.

Stephen Palmer, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Palmer is Professor and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at the University of California at Berkeley. As part of the Mind project, Dr. Palmer is coordinating a unique partnership between Exploratorium staff and local cognitive scientists designed to bring real scientific research on human thought and feeling to the museum exhibit floor. Many visitors have had little exposure to the strategies and techniques of modern research in the cognitive sciences; this collaboration will combine rigorous data collection with visitor-friendly interpretation and access to shed light on how researchers actually study hidden mental processes. Dr. Palmer holds a B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from UC San Diego.

Shinsuke Shimojo, Ph.D.
Dr. Shinsuke Shimojo, Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology, studies how people use their senses to scan their surroundings, pay attention to complex stimuli, and learn about their environments. His work is directly relevant to several new exhibits in the Mind collection. For example, at Divided Attention, visitors face an increasingly difficult series of tasks as they must track more and more moving objects. Easy Search, Difficult Search illustrates the ubiquitous "pop-out" phenomenon in which an object’s surroundings determine how easy or difficult it is to see. And the intriguing visual illusion of Subjective Time Expansion demonstrates how easily our sense of time is fooled by an unexpected visual event. Dr. Shimojo earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology at the University of Tokyo and his Doctorate in Psychology at MIT.

Additional Mind Advisors:

Dan Ariely, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Psychologist specializing in exploring processes of human judgment and decision-making

Patricia Churchland, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Chair of the UCSD Philosophy Department; studies issues of philosophy of mind within the cognitive sciences and the interface between neurological and psychological phenomena

Michael Cole, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Social psychologist pursuing research in cross-cultural learning and the perception, memory, and understanding of social information

Antonio Damasio, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Southern California
USC Professor of Neuroscience and former Head of the University of Iowa’s Department of Neurology; researches neural underpinnings of emotion, memory, and judgment

Pamela Jennings, M.F.A.
Carnegie Mellon University
Artist and teacher focusing on thinking, feeling, learning, and the dynamics and implications of human-computer interaction

Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Neuroscientist specializing in studying the effects of stress on cognitive and biological systems

Michael Stryker, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Chair of UCSF’s Graduate Neuroscience Research Program; researches developing connections within the nervous system, and particularly within the visual cortex

Jeanne Tsai, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Psychologist studying interactions between cultural phenomena and emotional experience




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About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

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Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367