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Published 18 May 2017

Mental travels with 2016 Rutherford Medallist

Professor Michael Corballis FRSNZ, who received the 2016 Rutherford Medal from Royal Society Te Apārangi, will be taking audiences around New Zealand on a trip in space and time, in their minds...

Michael is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at University of Auckland. He received the Rutherford Medal for foundational research on the nature and evolution of the human mind, including cerebral asymmetries, handedness, mental imagery, language, and mental time travel.

In his talk he will discuss the neuroscience and evolution of our mental excursions, and their implications for innovation, storytelling, and even language itself.

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photo Michael Corballis

He says, "We have a remarkable capacity to mentally relive past events, imagine future ones, and even invent fictitious ones. This mental escape from the present allows us to plan our futures, deliberate on the past, and find inspiration in imagined scenarios. We can also transport ourselves into the minds of others, enhancing empathy and social understanding. Sometimes, our minds elude conscious control and wander in unpredictable ways, providing a potential source of creativity".

Michael’s latest book is The Truth about Language: What it is and Where it came from.

He spoke in the following centres:

WHANGANUI | 5.30pm Tuesday 13 June 
Prince Edward Auditorium, Wanganui Collegiate

NAPIER | 6pm Thursday 15 June 
Ballroom, Napier Conference Centre

WELLINGTON | 6pm Monday 19 June 
Soundings Theatre, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

CHRISTCHURCH | 6pm Tuesday 20 June 
Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College

DUNEDIN | 5.30pm Thursday 22 June 
Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum

The 2017 New Zealand Rutherford Lecture is proudly sponsored by The University of Auckland.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi