Mensa Honors Aron K. Barbey for Brain Connectivity Research
University of Illinois scholar awarded $10,000 Mensa Foundation Prize
By: Mensa Education and Research Foundation
The $10,000 award recognizes applied and fundamental discoveries in areas such as brain-related research, creation of tools and mechanisms for advancing such research, or any significant research that leads to an improved understanding of human intelligence, including artificial intelligence.
"Dr. Barbey's work was unique in that he is a rare scientist studying actual human general intelligence and integrating its quantitative measure with a variety of biological experimental measures in a multidisciplinary model," said Dr. Susan Stine, a neuroscientist and member of the Prize Committee. "I think Dr. Barbey's ongoing experimental and creative activity indicates that we will see continued important contributions to the field going forward which would be a very good outcome for the Mensa Foundation Prize."
Dr. Barbey will discuss his research and be presented the award in July at American Mensa's Annual Gathering in Phoenix. "A powerful insight for understanding human intelligence derives from the brain's most unique and essential characteristic:
"Contemporary research and theory conceive of the brain as a dynamic and active inference generator that anticipates incoming sensory inputs, forming hypotheses about the world that can be tested against sensory signals that arrive in the brain. Plasticity is therefore critical for the emergence of human intelligence – providing a powerful mechanism for updating prior beliefs, generating dynamic predictions about the world, and adapting in response to ongoing changes in the environment,"
In addition to Dr. Stine, the Prize Committee is composed of Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever, physicist Dr. Harry Ringermacher, and global health innovator Dr. Steven Maranz. The biennial Mensa Foundation Prize is endowed by the estate of longtime Mensan Kenneth Douglas Thomson (1934-2013). "This award is a reflection of the Mensa Foundation's efforts to inspire and empower intellectually gifted people," said Marie Mayer, President of the Mensa Foundation Board of Trustees.
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For more than 40 years, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation has advocated for intelligence by providing scholarships, promoting research, championing gifted youth, and empowering educators. Governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, the Mensa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by American Mensa, Mensa members, and other charitable donations. To learn more about the Foundation, visit mensafoundation.org.