Q+A: Carleton professor Jim Davies

Jim Davies, a professor from Carleton’s Institute of Cognitive Science, has contributed chapters to Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier, about the psychology behind the aliens in the popular TV series Star Trek. The Charlatan sat down with Davies to discuss a bit about science-fiction psychology in popular culture. The Charlatan (TC): How does your current research relate to your chapter in Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier? Jim Davies (JD): We’ve done some studies of creativity the way most people think about it . . . one of them we did a study on how creative people are when they’re creating aliens. So we gave them a blank piece of paper and asked them to make up an alien, […]

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Carleton hosts expert panel for Science Literacy Week

To mark Science Literacy Week, students, researchers and science supporters flocked to Residence Commons on Sept. 20 to listen to a panel of experts discuss the importance of research funding and science-based decision making in Canada. Elizabeth May, the leader of the federal Green Party and member of Parliament for the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in B.C., attended the event. She was accompanied by two local science professors: Paul Dufour, a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy, and Jim Davies, a cognitive science professor, author and the director of the Science of Imagination laboratory at Carleton. The event, called Naylor Report 101, was a collaboration between Justin Singer, a first-year PhD in cognitive science at […]

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Carleton prof aims to innovate teaching methods

Assignments in university are often one-hit wonders for students, slaved over for the purpose of a mark and then discarded in the trash, but they don’t have to be, according to one Carleton professor. Jim Davies, associate professor of cognitive science, said he believes assignments that are just graded and then thrown in the trash are a waste of time for students. “I try to give assignments to students that are useful to somebody other than the students who are trying to learn . . . I try to make assignments that can be useful to other researchers or other students,” Davies said. “It’s not a waste in the sense that the student gets educated and it’s used for generating […]

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Carleton hosts TEDx at Carleton with 12 future-inspired lectures

On the evening of April 6, the Carleton community gathered together to discuss and listen to fellow students’ ideas around how to innovate for the future. John Mesman and Tanvir Janmohamed, the president and vice-president (academic) respectively of the Carleton Academic Student Government (CASG), along with a team planned the 2015 Carleton TEDx conference centred around the theme “Future World.” TEDx Carleton is a part of the popular TED Talk series, but organized independently—as indicated by the “x” in the name—of the TED conference series. The aim of Carleton’s event, according to Mesman, was to bring people together for a TED-like experience to discuss ideas that will “make an impact on what matters—the future.” Mesman said his goal was to […]

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Research Blog: What are you laughing at?

Jim Davies is an associate professor in the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton. Davies recently published his book, “Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One With the Universe.” For the last several years, Davies has researched why people find certain things compelling. The Charlatan’s Anne McKinnon caught up with Davies by email to ask him about his studies. The Charlatan (TC): What is your current area of research? ​Jim Davies (JD): The main work that I do, with my graduate students, investigates human imagination. When people imagine things, they create scenes in their heads. We investigate what goes into those scenes and where those things go. For […]

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