February 11th, 2014: The Rise of the Super Brain

Does sex affect your IQ? Will shocking your brain make you smarter?  Can you train for intelligence? The Empiricist League’s ninth gathering will take place on Tuesday, February 11th at Over the Eight (594 Union Ave., in Williamsburg, Brooklyn). First speaker starts at 8:00pm.  Please RSVP here.  Admission is FREE!

Inside the Science of Getting Smarter
Dan Hurley is a science journalist who has been covering the field of cognitive enhancement for the past three years. He has written for the New York Times Magazine on computer training games that increase fluid intelligence, and the use of transcranial direct-current stimulation to improve intellectual abilities. In January he published his new book, Smarter: The New Science of Building Brainpower, as well as an article in theatlantic.com about sex and IQ.  Mr. Hurley will speak to the Empiricist League about how to separate out the self-help baloney from the reliable science in this fast-evolving field.

Expanding the Mind’s Workplace
Jason Chein, PhD, is principal investigator of the Neurocognition Lab at Temple University in Philadelphia. His research has focused on the key role played by working memory, the mind’s ability to not just remember but to juggle facts and figures — what he has called the “mind’s workspace.” He has published two studies which found that people who practiced working-memory exercises improved other general abilities, including attention and reading comprehension. Dr. Chein will speak to the Empiricist League about his ongoing studies funded in part by the Office of Naval Research.

IQ Points for Sale, Cheap 
D. Zachary Hambrick, PhD, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, has argued in studies and the popular press that the promise of cognitive training has been over-hyped. In the past year, he co-authored two studies finding that working-memory training does not increase intelligence, although his latest did find that it might still have benefits. In 2012 he published an opinion piece in the New York Times urging people to regard the commercial brain training programs with caution. Dr. Hambrick will offer the Empiricist League a skeptic’s view of cognitive training.