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Dissecting the Mind

  • The Field 20 Prospect Street Cambridge, MA, 02139 United States (map)

Ever wonder what can influence your mind? Join us while we pick apart our brains with these local scientists.

Note: this event is 21+

We are delighted to bring you: 

The Curse of Expertise: Why the Best Players/Artists Make the Worst Coaches/Teachers

Dr Sam Sommers, Department of Psychology at Tufts University

Across sports, there is no shortage of examples of elite players who have tried their hands at coaching and front office positions with less than impressive results. Similarly, in the arts and other domains, top-flight performers rarely become top-flight teachers. Explanations for this tendency abound, but an important and often overlooked factor is what behavioral scientists refer to as the curse of expertise: as people become more expert in performing a given task, we simultaneously tend to become worse at explaining this performance to others. This talk considers the curse of expertise in sports, as well as business, education, and other endeavors in which transmitting knowledge from one entity to another is essential, and identifies potential strategies for overcoming it.

Inferring "Us" and "Them"

Linda Chang, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Societies are growing increasingly polarized. A component of this is the ability to infer "us" and "them". How do we do this—are "us" and "them" a static relationship, or is the calculation of “us” and “them” a function of the environment? Through a series of studies, we examine these two accounts and find that with the right environment, the same person can go from out-group to in-group member. Understanding this will allow us to create environments that enable us to reach across the aisle.


Context-dependence in social decisions

Tatiana Lau, Ph.D. student at Harvard University

Many of society's most significant social decisions are made over sets of individuals: for example, evaluating a collection of job candidates when making a hiring decision. In this talk, I will share findings about systematic preference shifts resulting from the context of other people. Whereas previous bias reduction strategies typically focus on changing an individual’s stereotypes and implicit prejudices, our findings have implications for debiasing the decision-making process itself.

Event information:

  • Doors open at 7:00pm, and our event kicks off at 7:15pm.
  • In the event of any last-minute event cancellations, we will post an announcement on our webpage, Facebook, and Twitter
  • If you are interested in volunteering for any of our events, please email us at
Earlier Event: April 22
The "Get Down to Earth" Brunch
Later Event: April 24
10,000 Years of Technology