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Tuesday, March 5 @ 6:30pm @ 32 North Brewing Co. join us for a special edition of Nerd Nite San Diego: Neuro Nite! We’re going on a wild ride INSIDE your MIND!

We’ll kick off Neuro Nite with an interactive crowd quiz to expose the most common brain myths. Girl Scout cookies and real-life brains will be available for the hungry and the curious.
Then, speakers!
Are You Nothing But A Pack of Neurons?

Francis Crick (the Nobel prize winning biologist famous for discovering Rosalind Franklin’s notes) once said, that in reference to your conscious experience, “you are nothing but a pack of neurons.” When looking for reductive explanations for behavior, experience, and consciousness the brain (and its electrochemical soup) is a very convenient place to point.

But is it true that our experiences can be cleanly reduced to neuro-chemical signals? Are folk psychological concepts like “happiness” or “desire” just the silly way that non-scientifically sophisticated humans refer to serotonin and dopamine levels? Or … is there something fundamentally flawed about this type of reductionist approach to explaining experience and behavior?

Eric Leonardis will help you navigate the complexities of neuroscientific explanation by exploring why we are more than just our brains, while emphasizing the importance of brain, body, environment, and context interactions.

Eric Leonardis is a Ph. D. Candidate in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego. By day, Eric teaches university classes about robotics and neuroscience … by night, a house producer cranking tracks in the warehouses of San Diego and Los Angeles. Eric recently played a headline DJ set at Union Nightclub in Los Angeles (now Catch One). He has recently released an acid house track “666 – 363” and a remix of Stefan Seay’s “Acid Kiss” with Cool Contest Records. Eric is the founder of BrainScratch, a non-profit organization for science communication at music festivals, giving science talks over house music at festivals such as: Lightning in a Bottle, Desert Hearts, Beyond Wonderland, and Dirtybird Campout.




What the brain sees … when it can’t hear?

“Is sign language universal? Then why aren’t we all learning it?!” In this talk, we will dispel some commonly held beliefs about language, deafness, and the brain – and you get to ask everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sign language(s)!

What do signed and spoken languages have in common? Does the brain care if the language a person uses is signed or spoken? And how do we know that?

WARNING: this presentation contains informative content, badly drawn brains, and explicit sign language that is suitable for all audiences.

A language nerd to the core, Zed Sehyr studies sign languages and the brains of people who use them. She is fascinated by the brain’s plasticity and how it adapts to unique sensory environments, such as deafness. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing and studying sign languages because they provide full access to communication for deaf people, but can also help scientists understand what is universal to human language.

Zed also co-created the first and only lexical database for American Sign Language, which was awarded 2017 NSF Vizzies award for its interactive visualization of the American Sign Language lexicon!

Stalk her work here: and



It’s on the tip of my tongue! Or is it?

We all know this frustrating feeling. We know what it is, what we can do with it, or the movie we saw that actor in, but we just can’t pin down the name! Word retrieval is a complex set of processes that allows us to fetch the words we are looking for from among over 50,000 words in our mental dictionaries. We are usually really good at this, as healthy adult speakers normally utter 2 to 3 words per second, and only slip about once every 1,000 words. How is it that we can accomplish this feat so efficiently?

Stephanie Ries-Cornou is a French-American neuroscientist and assistant professor in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at SDSU. Before moving to San Diego in 2016, she lived in the SF Bay Area where she did a post-doc at UC Berkeley and collaborated with UCSF and the VA Martinez to study language production in patients with epilepsy, brain tumors, and stroke-induced brain lesions. Before that, she received her PhD in cognitive neuroscience in Marseille, France in 2010.

Come meet Stephanie, Zed, and Eric on … what’s that thing … oh yeah! TUESDAY NIGHT!

It’s Nerd Nite San Diego. Be there … and be square!

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