Dr. Razia Oden attended a guest lecture by Dr. Raja Parasuraman at the University of Central Florida last week. Dr. Parasuraman is a Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and is also the director of the Center of Excellence in Neuroergonomics, Cognition, and Technology. Dr. Parasuraman is known internationally for his work in Human Factors and Cognition. He has written several books on Psychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He won the Franklin V. Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Psychological Association.
The focus of the lecture was on “cognitive superstars” and what makes someone extraordinary in cognition. Dr. Parasuraman reviewed people in history who have had exceptional cognitive abilities and then discussed one of his study participants whose cognitive functions were well above average. He explained various tests and methods used to discern the capacity and limitations of this person’s abilities. Finally, he discussed the most likely reasons that a person would be extremely cognitively gifted – it is probable that a combination of genetics, extensive practice, and exposure to resources at a very young age is what makes someone a cognitive superstar.