Lecture Series: Dr. Thomas Albright

NewSchool Auditorium
Street address
1249 F Street, San Diego CA
When: June 8, 2016 | 7:00PM Lecture

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Towards A Neuroscience for Architecture

Neuroscience is a new research discipline in the armament of longstanding efforts to understand the influence of built environments over human mental function and behavior. Using a variety of powerful experimental approaches, and focusing efforts on the information processing capacities of the brain, we have begun to develop an empirical understanding of how design features influence the acquisition, organization and use of information present in the built environment. Based on this understanding, we argue that selective pressures over the course of human evolution have yielded a visual brain that has highly specific and tunable organizational properties for representing key statistics of the environment, such as commonly occurring features and conjunctions of features. Simple visual pattern types, which are commonly used in architectural and decorative design, mirror these environmental statistics. These patterns are readily seen without scrutiny, yielding a “sense of order” because they tap into existing neuronal substrates.A fuller understanding of these relationships between organizational properties of the brain and visual environmental statistics may lead to novel design principles.

NewSchool Lecture Series featuring Thomas Albright

When: June 8, 2016 | 7:00PM Lecture, Reception to follow

Where: NewSchool Auditorium


Thomas D. Albright is Professor and Conrad T. Prebys Chair at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he joined the faculty in 1986. He is also Director of the Salk Institute Center for the Neurobiology of Vision and Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. Albright is an authority on the neural basis of visual perception, memory and visually guided behavior. His laboratory seeks to understand how visual perception is affected by attention, behavioral goals, and memories of previous experiences. An important goal of this work is the development of therapies for blindness and perceptual impairments resulting from disease, trauma or developmental disorders of the brain. A second aim of Dr. Albright’s work is to use our growing knowledge of brain, perception and memory to inform design in architecture and the arts, and to leverage societal decisions and public policy. Albright received a Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an associate of the Neuroscience Research Program. He is past-president of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (2012-2014), a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology, and Law, and a member of the U.S. National Commission on Forensic Science.