Brain Networks, Nature and Neighborhoods: Quantifying Internal and External Environments

Event Sponsor: 
Computation Institute Presentation
Start Date: 
Feb 19 2015 - 12:00pm
Searle 240A, 5735 S. Ellis Avenue - This talk will be broadcast via Blue Jeans (see new Info below)
University of Chicago
Marc G. Berman
Speaker(s) Title: 
The University of Chicago
Ian Foster

It is anticipated that by 2050, 75% of the world will be living in cities.  Having so many people living in such tight spaces could have adverse mental and physical health effects.  In this talk, I will discuss two of my labs’ research lines.  In the first part of the talk I will show how the dimensionality of brain networks is related to self-control behaviors.  In the second part of the talk I will discuss theory and research showing how interacting with more natural environments can be salubrious for psychological functioning.  I will also show relationships between neighborhood greenspace metrics and health in a large urban population sample.  I will close the talk with some future research directions examining how we can better quantify the positive impacts gleaned from nature and how we can utilize neuroscience research to quantify the impact of the environment on our brains.  It is our hope that our research findings could be used to help improve urban living.    


Marc Berman is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and is the Director of the Environmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Chicago.  In his research he examines ways to quantify brain networks and applies those metrics to broader psychological phenomena such as self-control, depression and anxiety.  He and his lab are also interested in quantifying the physical and social environment to better understand brain-environment interactions, and in particular why natural environments have beneficial effects on body and mind.  Berman received in Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience and Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2010.  Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Chicago he was an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of South Carolina.  He also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Rotman Research Institute from 2010-2012.  His work has recently been cited in the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal.

Miscellaneous Information: 

Information: Lunch will be provided.

Webcast: This talk will be broadcast live via Blue Jeans at