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Ingenious: Jim Davies

How the unlikely drives imagination.

Cognitive scientist Jim Davies can show you how the mind works. In fact, he believes that the mind is a book that can be opened and…By Luba Ostashevsky

Cognitive scientist Jim Davies can show you how the mind works. In fact, he believes that the mind is a book that can be opened and read, if you know the language in which it’s written. As head of the Science of Imagination Laboratory at Carleton University he creates models of visualization with the tools of artificial intelligence that unpack how the mind processes information. But when he sat down with Nautilus, we turned the lens on his cognition. Meet him in this video and check out his essay, “Explaining the Unexplainable.”


What is cognitive science? 0:04

What are you studying now? 0:38

Can we understand how a person’s mind works? 2:37

Trying Not to Try

In a famous story from ancient Chinese philosophy, Butcher Ding has been called upon to play his part in a traditional religious ceremony. The ritual, to consecrate a newly cast bronze bell, requires the butcher to sacrifice an ox in...READ MORE

Is imagination uniquely human? 6:19

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found in your research? 7:18

What is the biggest question about the human mind? 9:20

Is the human mind unknowable? 10:17

How do people process the unlikely? 14:36

So does the unlikely captivate humanity? 19:19

Will artificial intelligence be able to deal with uncertainty? 20:39

What role does the unlikely play in cognition? 22:11

Is there a movie that accurately portrays cognitive science? 25:01

If you weren’t a cognitive scientist, is there any other profession you would have wanted to pursue? 27:21

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