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Mechanisms of Mind

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The Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI) will kick off its monthly series, “Mechanisms of Mind,” in which speakers representing the arts, sciences, and humanities discuss the cross-disciplinary connections between body and mind, at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in 16 Borland. The series is moderated by Paula Droege, Penn State senior lecturer in philosophy.

Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, February 15, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Right from Wrong: Creating Robots Which Learn How to Behave

Alan Wagner, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Alan Wagner is assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and a research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing. His research and teaching interests focus on the development of techniques that allow robots to interact with a wide variety of people in different social contexts. He is currently investigating human-robot trust and the conditions that encourage or discourage people from trusting robots, as well the possibility of developing robots that will evaluate whether or not they can trust people. Application areas for these interests range from military to healthcare, with particular emphasis on search and rescue and humanitarian applications.

Wednesday, March 29, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Adolescent Brain Development: Opportunities and Vulnerabilities

Charles Geier, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Charles Geier is assistant professor of human development and family studies in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State. His research interests include developmental cognitive neuroscience, with particular focus on reward processing, basic cognitive control abilities, and their interaction. He also studies the relationship between adolescent neurodevelopment and risk-taking behavior, such as nicotine dependence in adolescent and young adult smokers.

Friday, April 7, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Origins of Meaning: A Philosophical Perspective

Dorit Bar-On, Professor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Dorit Bar-On is a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut and director of the Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning (ECOM) Research Group. Her research focuses on philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaethics. Bar-On earned her bachelor’s degree at Tel Aviv University in philosophy and linguistics before earning her M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at UCLA for her dissertation, Indeterminacy of Translation: Theory and Practice. Bar-On has also written Hebrew translations of poetry, fiction, and philosophy, including three anthologies in modern philosophy; writings by Iris Murdoch, Kurt Vonnegut, Dos Passos, Dorothy Richardson, E. E. Cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Walter Scott; and, in collaboration with Marcia Falk, a collection of poems by Zelda Schneerson Mishkovsky and Falk’s The Book of Blessings.

The Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI) provides support for high-impact arts and design research projects. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at 16 Borland.

All events are free and open to the public, but some do require registration, as space is limited. For more information, visit or call 814-863-5126. Connect with the ADRI at