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Brain Day at the Carnegie Museum 2010

a man and woman looking at something

The Second Annual Brain Day at the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County, a partnership between the museum and the Wabash College Psychology Department, proved another great success last Saturday, drawing 120 students and adults from the Crawfordsville and Wabash communities for an afternoon of learning activities. This year's participants had the chance to have an electroencephalogram (EEG) to "see" their brain activity, to take a lie detector test, to see real brains, including microscope slides and whole sheep brains, and to put on prism goggles to test how their brains deal with changes in perception. "People loved the event," said Carnegie Museum Director Kat Burkhart. "A number of people were so intrigued that they stayed the entire afternoon. It was definitely to big draw of the day." In the photo above, Assistant Professor of Psychology Neil Schmitzer-Torbert, who teaches neuroscience courses at the College, points out the parts of a sheep brain.   Photos by Steve Charles

a boy sitting at a table with a woman in the background

Assistant Professor of Psychology Karen Gunther, who also teaches neuroscience courses at the College, demonstrated to young participants how the brain can be fooled into believing we are being touched when we're actually only visualizing the experience. Asked what she hoped visitors would take away from the experience, Professor Gunther said, "I hope they realize that brains are cool, not icky! "And we hope people took away maybe a few tidbits of information—such as how you can tell from looking at the direction from which the spinal cord leaves the brain if it’s from a 2- or 4-footed creature, or why the rubber hand illusion works, or that you can adapt your brain to altered input such as from the prism goggles. "And if they did take away a couple of fun facts, hopefully in the future they’ll be more interested in finding out more about the brain." In the photo above Whit Horton seems to know Professor Gunther is trying to trick his brain!      

a man pointing at x-ray image on a white wall

When he heard about Brain Day, former NASA physician to the astronauts and longtime Crawfordsville family physician Dr. Keith Baird ’56 volunteered to bring MRI images for the exhibit. Here he explains the images to Brain Day visitors. 

a group of people sitting around a table

Shoshanna Conkright takes a lie detector test from Wabash psychology depaartment intern Xumin Sun ’13. She finally made the readings on the screen spike when she answered "yes" to the question: Have you ever ridden a dinosaur? Carnegie Museum Director Kat Burkhart said partnerships with Wabash such as Brain Day and the very popular Pi Day—the March 13th event that brings Wabash physics and math professors and students to the museum for "five tables of demonstrations, hair-raising fun, lasers, and more"—are very popular with visitors. "Our core visitors come for both days, because they know they will be really cool and special events," Burkhart said. She hopes to work with other departments at the College to present similar events, noting the work of Wabash interns in getting the events off the ground: "Jacob Castilow, who just graduated, was our intern who helped get these started and Nolan Eller ’11, our current intern, has been a great help."  

a group of people looking at a bag of food

 Wabash Psychology Department Intern Romeo Amao ’13 shows Dr. Keith Baird and his grandson, Nicholas Johnson, one of the sheep brain samples.

a man and a girl looking at cookies

Associate Professor of Psychology Preston Bost and his daughter, Emily, examine the sheep brains.

a black and white card with a white square on it

 How's your color vision?

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 Professor Gunther sports her "brain" earrings.

a boy sitting at a table with a device

Raphael Morillo is ready for his EEG.

a woman and a child sitting in a chair

 Professor Eleanor Sayre's daughter, Alathea, gets ready to "see" her brain activity during her EEG.

a man and a child playing with toys

Associate Professor of Psychology Bobby Horton watches as his son, Marshall, throws a yarn ball at a poster in the perception experiment.

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