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Bring Cognitive Science To The Streets!


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How much would you love something that could manage to combine psychology, bright colors, social justice, and a cute, wordplay1 name?

Enter: The Think Tank. Brain child of Tyler Alterman, the Think Tank is a “mobile cognitive science lab and education station” that will drive around to schools and museums across the country, focusing on bringing cognitive science to children in disadvantaged and STEM-underrepresented areas. Kids who hop on board the Think Tank will be able to don brainwave-reading headsets and games (donated by Emotiv Lifesciences), try out technology that will allow them to record neuronal spikes and control the movements of a live insect via its nerve cells (from Backyard Brains), and play around in an interior lab-space, where they will even be able to try their hands at designing and running their own experiments.

These activities are fairly awesome. Who wouldn’t have a blast playing around with these awesome brain toys? Alterman’s hope is that by bringing science to children in STEM-underrepresented areas and making it fun, the Think Tank will increase intrinsic motivation and get these kids really excited about science. As we know, intrinsic motivation is a great predictor of engagement and positive learning outcomes — so getting kids to be intrinsically motivated to learn science is a really, really good thing.

But, the Think Tank needs your help before it can get rolling!

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 6 to 9 p.m., Think Tank Founder and Director Tyler Alterman will be hosting Brain Bash 2013, a gala in New York City intended to raise the critical final funds needed for the Think Tank. And guess what? You’re all invited!

So go get your tickets now! Each ticket will get you:

  • Free dinner & drink
  • Live neuroscience rock from the Amygdaloids, a band of neuroscientists led by world-famous researcher Joe LeDoux
  • Brain-controlled games from Tan Le, CEO of Emotiv Lifesciences
  • Science cinema from NeuroDome and Imagine Science Films
  • Peer-reviewed rap from Baba Brinkman
  • STEM goodies up for auction
  • Total science-supporting street cred and a badass plans to tell all of your friends about. Because really, how often do you get to go to a gala?!

But wait…there’s more. Tickets are usually $108, but if you want to buy your ticket now, just enter the promo code PsySociety towards the bottom of the ticket sales page and get your ticket for…wait for it…wait for iiiiiiit$30! THIRTY DOLLARS! For a gala! Crazy, right?! If you’re going to be in the NY area, you’d be nuts to pass this up.

However, you have to act fast! Ticket sales end tonight (Monday, June 10th) at 11 PM EST. But even if you can’t attend the gala, you can still donate any amount of money to the Think Tank’s final fundraising efforts. Even though I regrettably can’t attend, I’ll be donating the cost of one PsySociety-discounted ticket. I hope you will too!

So, again…get your tickets HERE: http://cogscionwheels.org/brainbash2013/

Best of luck, Tyler — let’s get cognitive science out on the open road!


1. Let’s see how many puns I can make in this very post!

For a Q&A with Tyler, check out this post by SciCurious.

Images and video via the Think Tank website.

Melanie Tannenbaum About the Author: Melanie Tannenbaum is a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received an M.A. in social psychology in 2011. Her research focuses on the science of persuasion & motivation regarding political, health-related, and environmental behavior. You can add her on Twitter or visit her personal webpage. Follow on Twitter @melanietbaum.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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