Past Event

Metaphors and Models: The Neuroscience of Comparison - Seminars in Society and Neuroscience

November 20, 2017
4:15 PM - 6:15 PM
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Faculty House, Columbia University, New York
Illustration of a forest made of brain neurons and an older gentleman looking at a map amongst the dendrites

The event recording is available via YouTube

This event explores the conceptual force of metaphors in neuroscience. How do metaphors shape how we think and communicate? How are they represented in the brain? To answer these questions, this event engages with the everyday persistence of these rhetorical tools by examining scientific studies of metaphor use and metaphors in scientific discourse. Featuring perspectives from neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, and philosophy, our speakers probe the distinction between metaphors and models that emerge from thinking and reasoning. These models are further taken up in different social and political circumstances and are used to describe a range of phenomenon from mental health to climate change that articulate and obscure our efforts to make sense of the world.

Free and open to the public, but RSVP is required via EventBrite.


  • Dedre Gentner, Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor of Psychology and Co-Director, Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, Northwestern University
  • Stephen Flusberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Purchase College, SUNY
  • Alexander Rapp, Faculty Member in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Tuebingen


The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Science and Society and the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program as part of the Seminars in Society and Neuroscience series.

Image: Matteo Farinella, 2017