In her TEDtalk 'Reflections of Other Minds' she will talk about the fact that dolphins and elephants, like us, are large brained and highly social species. Dr Reiss and her colleagues have exposed dolphins and elephants to a simple device, a mirror, and in turn they have demonstrated that like, us, they pass the mark test, recognize themselves in a mirror and subsequently use the mirror as a tool for viewing themselves. Prior to these findings, mirror self-recognition was a cognitive ability thought to be a unique to humans and our closest relatives the great apes.
Stuart Firestein, PhD, is the former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where his laboratory is researching the vertebrate olfactory receptor neuron. He has published articles in Wired (magazine), Huffington Post, and Scientific American. Firestein has been elected as a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his meritorious efforts to advance science. He is an adviser to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation program for the Public Understanding of Science.
Leslie B. Vosshall is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Robin Chemers Neustein Professor at The Rockefeller University, where she is the head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior. The overall goal of work in the Vosshall laboratory is to understand how complex behaviors are modulated by external chemosensory cues and internal physiological states. Working with Drosophila melanogaster flies, mosquitoes, and human subjects, Dr. Vosshall’s research has yielded new knowledge about how odor stimuli are processed and perceived.
Donald Wilson is a research professor at the Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Physiology and Neuroscience, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Emotional Brain Institute
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. His current research focuses on how the mammalian brain processes and remembers information. As a model system he and his team focus on rodent (rat and mice) discrimination and memory for odors.
Dr Tristram Wyatt is a senior researcher at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and an emeritus fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. He is interested in how pheromones evolve throughout the animal kingdom, at both molecular and behavioral levels. The second edition of his book Pheromones and Animal Behavior will be published by Cambridge University Press in late 2013.
In his TED talk "Success of the smelliest? Do humans have pheromones?", Dr Wyatt will touch upon the sense of smell.