Neuroscience, Evolutionary Psychology & Mental Health: A full day of talks exploring the fascinating interplay between psychology & culture.
Ever wonder how we went from small insignificant primates to modern civilisation?
Why are rates of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany?
How does the society we live in influence which areas of our brain get activated? Why do some societies stimulate logical, linear and limited ‘left-brain’ thinking, while others result in creative, expansive and more holistic ‘right-brain’ thinking and behaviour?
The answer to all of these questions’ hinges on the fascinating interplay between psychology and human culture.
In this series of talks, you’ll learn:
- The Evolutionary Origins of Human Culture; the fascinating evolution of social intelligence, what explains the meteoric rise of homo sapiens, and how events in our distant past guide our lives today – Professor William von Hippel
- The Brain & Culture: A Symbiotic Relationship; the neuroscience of how our brains mould the world, and how the world moulds our brains – Dr Iain McGilchrist
- Culture and Mental Health; how unequal societies affect our mental health and wellbeing, and how we can begin creating cultural environments that lead to human flourishing – Professor Kate Pickett and Professor Richard Wilkinson
These unique insights will help you deepen your understanding of human nature and the world we live in.
- 10:00am – 12:00pm: The Evolutionary Origins of Human Culture – Professor William von Hippel
- 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
- 1:00pm – 3:00pm: The Brain & Culture: A Symbiotic Relationship – Dr Iain McGilchrist
- 3:00pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon break
- 3:30pm – 5:00pm: Culture and Mental Health – Professor Kate Pickett and Professor Richard Wilkinson
Lectures & Speakers
The Evolutionary Origins of Human Culture – Professor Bill von Hippel
The most basic aspects of our psychology were shaped by the “social leap” our distant ancestors made from the rainforest to the savannah. In their struggle to survive on the open grassland, our ancestors prioritized cooperation and teamwork over physical prowess, creating a new form of social intelligence that set the stage for our rise to the top of the food chain. In this talk I trace our evolutionary history over the last six million years to show how events in our distant past guide our lives today.
- Stephen Pinker – The Blank Slate
- Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene
- Robert Wright – The Moral Animal
- Robert Sapolsky – 1) Behave 2) A Primate’s Memoir
- Steve Stewart-Williams – The Ape that Understood the Universe
- Michael Tomasello – 1) Becoming Human 2) A Natural History of Human Morality 3) A Natural History of Human Thinking
- Robert Plomin – Blueprint
- Christopher Boehm – 1) Hierarchy in the Forest 2) Moral Origins
- Thomas Suddendorf – The Gap
- Joseph Henrich – The Secret of our Success
- David Buss – Evolutionary Psychology: The new science of the mind
William von Hippel is an evolutionary psychologist and the author of the bestselling book: ‘The Social Leap’. He grew up in Alaska, got his B.A. at Yale and his PhD at the University of Michigan, and then taught for a dozen years at Ohio State University before finding his way to Australia, where he is a professor of psychology at the University of Queensland. He has published more than a hundred articles, chapters, and edited books, and his research has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, the BBC, Le Monde, El Mundo, Der Spiegel, and The Australian. He lives with his wife and two children in Brisbane, Australia.
The Brain & Culture: A Symbiotic Relationship – Dr Iain McGilchrist
All in Nature is interconnected: all processes are interactive. The brain and the world (which it exists to bring into being for us) are no exceptions to this. Our brains mould the world and the world moulds our brains. Given the capacity for each hemisphere to attend to the world differently, and therefore make some aspects of the world stand forward at the expense of others, different cultures may come to emphasise different ‘takes’ on the world. I will consider some ways in which this has worked itself out historically in the West, and whether seeing this can help us get a new perspective on what we see happening around us in the world today.
- The Master and His Emissary – Dr Iain McGilchrist
- Ways of Attending – Dr Iain McGilchrist
Dr McGilchrist is a Psychiatrist and Writer, who is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context. He has published original research and contributed chapters to books on a wide range of subjects, as well as original articles in papers and journals, including the British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times. He has taken part in many radio and TV programmes, documentaries, and podcasts, among them dialogues with Jordan Peterson, David Fuller of Rebel Wisdom, and philosopher Tim Freke.
His books include Against Criticism, The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning, and Ways of Attending. He is currently working on his latest book: The Matter With Things. You can keep up to date with his work at www.iainmcgilchrist.com.
Culture and Mental Health – Prof Kate Pickett & Prof Richard Wilkinson
Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? The answer to all of these questions, hinges on inequality.
This talk will explore how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. You’ll learn about the overwhelming evidence showing that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. The speakers will then go on to demonstrate that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lay out a path towards making them a reality.
- The Inner Level – Kate Pickett & Richard Wilkinson
- Drop the Disorder – Jo Watson
- Lost Connections – Johann Hari
- Chasing the Scream – Johann Hari
- Barbalat G, Franck N. Ecological study of the association between mental illness with human development, income inequalities and unemployment across OECD countries. BMJ open. 2020 Apr 1;10(4):e035055.
Kate Pickett is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York and leads the Public Health and Society research group. She is the co-author of The Spirit Level and The Inner Level, with Richard Wilkinson, and her work addresses the social determinants of health and well-being. She was a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist from 2007-2012, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
Richard Wilkinson is a British social epidemiologist, author, advocate, and political activist. He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London and Visiting Professor at University of York. In 2009, Richard co-founded The Equality Trust and was awarded the Charles Cully Memorial Medal in 2014 by the Irish Cancer Society.
What TWU attendees are saying:
Great initiative! For people that like myself are passionate about psychology but wouldn't commit to long term course or training it's a wonderful opportunity to listen to qualified professionals in the area in a relaxed atmosphere.
Just attended my second Weekend University day of lectures at Birkbeck, this time on Memories, Dreams and Existentialism. A great mix of speakers, styles and content which left me wanting to go home and find out more about two out of the three subjects. Fantastic to see Emmy Van Deurzen in action - she's a bit of a heroine of mine! One tip would be to ask the audience to fill up the rows of seats before the start as inevitably some people arrive late (like I did) and it was all a bit chaotic at the back of the auditorium. There were empty seats near the walls but no way to get to them without having four or five people stand up.
Great initiative. Eminent speakers, fascinating talks.
Another amazing day of learning! Thank you Niall.
I just wanted to say what a fabulous day it was on Sunday. The presenters were all highly engaging and the material fascinating. I am ever so grateful to have been able to attend and look forward to any future similar events with 'zest'!
I thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was a well organized event with fantastic informative talks by knowledgeable and charismatic speakers. Looking forward to future events.
Great event, 3 fantastic lectures presented
I found the 3 speakers to be extremely well prepared, professional, charismatic, authentic in their delivery of there content. They all had something to share. They were very clear on the "takeaways" which I found in important for such a long day. They all 3 were also very generious in spending time after their talk, to answer more 1-2-1 questions on the side of the room. Very generious. I look forward to future weekend university days.
Just to say that I was so impressed with the quality of the lectures today. It is rare to find that kind of substance, and I imagine you looked long and hard to choose. You are doing a great job. I will definitely come again and tell those I know who would be very interested.
I have attended lots of psychology workshops and would rate this organisation very highly. Interesting, engaging speakers and well run course at an affordable price. Well done Niall. You deserve to do very well
What an intense and heartening day, Jan 28th at Birkbeck U venue. Despite being crowded (testiment to the desire for these events and the calibre) we were comfortable enough to be riveted by the material for hours. I appreciated the free coffee, because the day was long for those like me who come from outside the city. I look forward to the slides being sent to fill out my notes. Fellow audients were warm and attending for a variety of reasons, and are the second fab reason to be there for the day.
Just attended Scientific Behaviour Change - Ancient Wisdom & Modern Psychology and had the most fantastic, enlightening and inspiring day. All three speakers were at a tremendously high level and (to echo the reviewer below) the variety of approaches and theories around a single topic gave great insight. I've already booked for next month.
Today's event was so good, I immediately booked for next one in February!?
The day of Psychology was really insightful, it has inspired me to start researching into all spectrums of mental health & psychology. Something I particularly liked about the day, was the contrast and variety of theories and approaches by each of the three speakers
Interesting lectures on a variety of areas of Psychology and well organised.
A really good mix of topics. I was engaged all day and i'm looking forward to the next one!
TWU 100% Money Back Guarantee
The Weekend University seeks to guarantee an excellent learning experience. If you are not fully satisfied with the day, you will receive 100% of your money back, and we will cover the cost of your travel to and from the venue.