Steven C. Schlozman, Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, spoke yesterday at a seminar hosted by The Harvard Society for Mind, Brian and Behavior. The event was nothing like one would have expected on a Monday afternoon in Barker Center. Entitled "How to Inadvertently Learn Some Neuroscience While Preparing For (The Inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse," the seminar gave students tips on how to hypothetically deal with zombies, and debunked some misrepresented Hollywood horror myths through neuroscience.
Schlozman, who wrote a fake medical paper in 2009 on what the brain of a zombie would be like, began the seminar by projecting a gruesome image from the film "Dawn of the Dead" for the room to see.
"Video game zombies tell only half of the story," he said. "To truly understand a zombie, we must actually acknowledge the science behind their creation."
Throughout the lecture, Schlozman cleverly used the appeal of this pre-Halloween, supernatural theme as a gateway into a broader discussion of neuroscience. Approaching the topic as he would for a research paper, the Brown-Dartmouth graduate incorporated information from zombie history, literature, and cinema.
"It's a great modality to talk about aspects of neuroscience," said Schlozman, who takes every opportunity to intertwine his interest in zombies with the study of the brain.
Punctuating his analyses with neurological insights during his talk, for instance, he made a key distinction between "slow-moving" and "fast-moving" zombies.
Without fully functioning brains it is impossible for zombies to move quickly and deftly, says Schlozman. This would require an intact cerebellum and basal ganglia, decent depth perception, and higher cortical processes—all of which, he reasoned, an average zombie would not have.
Additionally, by offering eight tips for surviving a zombie attack, Schlozman also successfully integrated a lesson on brain structure, a brief discussion on the story of...