Bridging the Gaps

Conversations with
researchers, explorers and thought leaders
from around the world


Upcoming Podcasts at Bridging the Gaps

Consciousness, Synthetic Consciousness and Singularity with Professor David Chalmers

David Chalmers is an Australian philosopher and a cognitive scientist specializing in the area of philosophy of mind. He is professor of philosophy and is Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University. He is also professor of philosophy at New York University.

On the Bittersweet Relationship Between Science and Philosophy with Professor Tim Maudlin

Tim Maudlin is professor of philosophy at New York University and has been a visiting professor at Harvard University. His research focuses on the foundations of physics, metaphysics and logic. He has published several papers and articles, books and book chapters on these and related topics.The books that he has published on these topics are: “Truth and Paradox: Solving the Riddles”, “The Metaphysics within Physics”, “Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity” and “Philosophy of Physics: space and time”.

Conscious and Unconscious Forms of Memory and Memory Distortions with Professor Daniel Schacter

Daniel Schacter is a professor of psychology at Harvard University. His research explores the relation between conscious and unconscious forms of memory, the nature of memory distortions, how we use memory to imagine possible future events, and the effects of aging on memory. He has published over 300 articles on these and related topics and has published several books and book chapters. His two books that are relevant to this discussion are “Searching for Memory” and “The Seven Sins of Memory”.

By |January 1st, 2015|Podcasts|

Growth Mindset: A Must Have Tool for Success

Babies learn. Babies learn to walk, they learn to talk, they are very keen to know about everything that happens around them, and most importantly they don’t worry about making mistakes. However after few years of schooling, a large number of young learners turn away from learning. What changes their behavior towards learning? One of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford university, says this change occurs when learners adopt a fixed mindset.

According to professor Dweck, “in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong”. While with regard to growth mindset, professor Dweck notes, “in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities”.
In this podcast Professor Dweck discusses her research on the concepts of mindset, motivation and success. In this podcast we touch upon the following points:

  • Fixed vs. growth mindset: definitions, concepts, and underlying theories
  • Why learners turn away from learning: their beliefs about their minds and its plasticity are the key factors.
  • Students with growth mindsets perform better than those students who have fixed mindset: professor Dweck discusses research studies and experiments that lead to these findings.
  • Scientists have used brain science and EEG to study what happens in our brains and how does the functioning of a fixed mindset brain differ from the functioning of a growth mindset brain; professor Dweck discusses brain science behind these two mindsets.
  • How do we develop these mindsets? Are we born with particular mindsets, is this genetic or does this depend on our upbringing and our environment? This is a typical nature vs. nurture question.
  • Professor Dweck notes that the way we interact with our children, for instance the way we praise and reward them, the manner of these interactions can lead to the development of a particular mindset; so what are the ways of interaction that support the development of a growth mindset.
  • Based on this research, a support programme – Brainology – has been developed that helps students develop a growth mindset. “Brainology programme achieves this by teaching students how the brain functions, learns, and remembers, and how it changes in a physical way when we exercise it” says Carol Dweck. It is reported on the Brainology programme website that “Brainology was designed to benefit all children, and it has been used successfully in classrooms and at home, typically by 5th through 9th graders. However, younger and older students have also used the program to great advantage… The aim is to raise students’ achievements by helping them develop a growth mindset”. Professor Dweck describes the motivation, goals and objectives, curriculum of Brainology, and the impact of implementing Brainology programme.
  • There are different ways to examine research on mindsets: from students’ perspective, from teachers’ perspective and from parents’ perspective. There is a need to improve awareness among students, teachers and parents about this research and its findings.
  • After discussing the concepts of growth and fixed mindsets from an early education perspective, Dweck discusses that how do these concepts relate to grown-ups.
  • When a grown-up lands on a dream job, lets say he or she becomes a CEO, is it possible that after achieving such a major goal, the person may adopt a fixed mindset?
  • Myth of being perfect and avoiding self-improvement: does this represent a fixed mindset?
    Encouraging and adopting growth mindset at workplaces: how to encourage and support individuals at workplaces to adopt growth mindset.
  • Research suggests that individuals should be encouraged to adopt growth mindset, and groups and organizations should be encouraged to adopt growth mindset, I ask professor Dweck can we extrapolate this idea and can we aim for a society with growth mindset. She shares her views on this.
  • How does the concept of growth mindset relate to the concepts of ‘learning to learn’ and ‘lifelong learning’?
  • Future research directions, expected developments and breakthroughs

Resources:

  • The Brainology Programme (Mindset Works)
  • Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
  • Dweck, C. S. (2002). Beliefs that make smart people dumb. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Why smart people do stupid things. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
  • Mueller, C. M., & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Intelligence praise can undermine motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 33-52.
By |January 1st, 2015|Podcasts|

Are we alone in the universe? Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Are we alone in this universe? This is a fascinating question. While addressing this question Arthur C. Clark said, “two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying”.

In 1940 physicist Enrico Fermi posed a question, “if it seems likely the universe may host other life forms, how come we haven’t seen any signs”. This question is known as the Fermi’s Paradox that acknowledges apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and lack of evidence for such civilizations. Fermi posed this question in 1940, and in 2014 earthlings still don’t have any evidence that there is life out there.

Dr Jill Tarter holds the Bernard M Oliver Chair for SETI Research at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. Jill Tarter led project Phoenix which studied about seven hundred and fifty nearby star systems. She serves on the management board for the Allan Telescope Array; this is SETI’s new effort to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. She received two public service medals from NASA and was named one of the one hundred most influential people of the world for year 2004 by time Magazine.

I invited Dr Jill Tarter to this episode of Bridging the Gaps.

Question and topics that we touch upon in this podcast are:

  • The origin of the idea of using microwave radio signals to search signals from other solar systems.
  • Establishing SETI Institute: using human technology to detect possible existence of technology of extraterrestrial origin
  • Searching a radio or an optical signal that is intentionally engineered: how do we differentiate a signal that might have been intentionally and intelligently engineered from the signals that occur naturally.
  • Project Phoenix: perhaps the most sensitive and most comprehensive search for extraterrestrial intelligence
  • Cataloguing seventeen thousand star-systems that could possibly host habitable planet.
  • Process of identifying and differentiating those stars that have no possibility of hosting habitable planets from those stars that could possibly host habitable planets.
  • Initially the focus of SETI research was nearby habitable star systems, but now that a number of planets orbiting around starts (exoplanets) have been discovered, how has the discovery of exoplanets changed the SETI research?
  • SETI’s Dorothy Project (2010): a massive observational campaign covering a large number of planets detected by Kepler spacecraft
  • Mining and analyzing data collected as a result of large-scale surveys of sky as part to general astronomy to find ET signals.
  • Why don’t we make the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence an integral part of general astronomy?
  • Dealing with hoaxes: verification mechanisms that SETI has put in place in case a potential ET signal is detected
  • If an ET signal were detected how would SETI announce it? Would it be kept secret or would it be made public immediately?
  • Post detection task force and post detection protocol
  • How would the discovery of life out there impact earthlings? What would it change?
  • Recent research on extremophiles suggests that life at microorganism level has an amazing flexibility for surviving in extreme environments, there is an emerging view that not only life can exist in environments previously considered inhabitable, perhaps it can also travel through space from one planet to another planet.
  • Searching a habitable earth like planet out there
  • Why search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence should be kept going?
  • Future research directions and expected developments in the field of astronomy and search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Resources:

By |December 28th, 2014|Podcasts|