How does the human brain work? Why do humans ‘get’ mental illnesses, and what causes these illnesses, when the human brain does not ‘work’ as expected?
Dr. Bernard Crespi, Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Canada Research Chair in Evolution and Psychology, will address some of these questions in a public talk at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.
The presentation will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in a talk entitled Where Darwin Meets Freud: the evolutionary biology and psychology of human mental illness.
According to Dr. Crespi, understanding the evolution of the human brain, and mental illness risks, represent some of the biggest research questions of the 21st century.
Crespi’s research centers on integrating theory, methods and data from evolutionary biology, social behaviour, genetics, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and hormones to understand why and how the human brain has evolved, how human cognition has evolved under Darwinian natural selection, and how risks and forms of human mental illnesses have evolved.
Conditions such as autism, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are usually considered as purely-detrimental mental ‘illnesses’, comparable to other sorts of medical disorders. However, “recent advances in genetics, neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology are re-casting psychiatric conditions in new light, and guiding new ways to study and treat them”, says Crespi. “Our goal will be to better understand the nature of mental illnesses, their causes, and their consequences for individuals, families, and communities”.
In addition to multiple major international awards in evolutionary and behavioral biology, Dr. Crespi was awarded 2016 Sterling Prize for revolutionizing psychiatry with his Diametric Theory of Human Mental Illness, originally published with co-author and sociologist Christopher Badcock in 2008.
Dr. Bernard Crespi joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 1992. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan, and conducted postdoctoral work at Oxford and Cornell Universities. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Eventbrite tickets available at:
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Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.