Photo: Environmental portrait of psychology professors Carole Bandy and Kevin Fleming with eye-tracking equipment

Cognitive neuroscientist Kevin Fleming, PhD, on unraveling the mysteries of our minds

When it comes to understanding the complexity of the human brain, it’s a reasonably safe bet to suggest things will only get better in the future. Because at the moment, relatively speaking, we hardly know anything at all. “The brain has the potential for more combinations of information than there are atoms in what would be considered a known universe, whatever size you want to imagine it to be,” says Psychology Prof. Kevin Fleming. He estimates that current science explains only about 1 percent of what there is to know about how our brains work. Scratching the surface of the remain¬ing 99 percent, Fleming uses electroencephalography and eye-tracking techniques to study how our brains encode words, recognize faces, and process emotions. Joined by his equally curious faculty colleagues, his department is synonymous with research. Majors must undertake in-depth, senior-year research projects to graduate. As for future discoveries, watch this space. “The fun part about science,” Fleming says, “is that we don’t know what we’re going to find next.”

—Sean Markey

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