We all wear many hats, and many of us masks as well. One of my hats is that of a professor and while my particular area of expertise is the study of how we perceive the world around us, I also spend much of my time thinking about how our mental states are produced by the chemical and biological processes of the brain. I am interested in consciousness, attention, memory, neuroscience and Buddhist philosophy, among other topics. Please stop by my office for a conversation, about anything really: possible careers in psychology, interesting experiences you have had that need an explanation, politics, thoughts on where we are going as a species, or when exactly AI will take over the planet (or will we create a massive extinction event before then!?).
As a professor (and semi-public figure) there are ways that one is expected to act. This is one mask that can often hide personality characteristics and interests that hinder true connection with others. In an attempt to provide opportunities for connection, I will provide a bit of background on myself.
I grew up in a tiny town in Montana with a larger deer population than people population. My town still has no stop lights and is probably smaller than your high school. I played varsity basketball and football in high school and when I wasn't practicing I was playing video games or wandering around in the forest. I received a B.S. from Gonzaga University in computer science in 2005 and my Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in cognitive psychology in 2014. After graduate school I taught at UH Hilo for two years before moving back to California in pursuit of a girl; whom I married in 2015, so I think my decision to move back turned out pretty well! I have taught classes all over the bay area including: Cognitive Neuroscience; Brain, Mind & Consciousness, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning & Memory, Statistics, and Research Methods. I learn from my students just as they learn from me so please, don't hesitate to come and talk with me!
Other hats that I wear relatively often... I am a big sports fan, especially of the Warriors, 49ers and Gonzaga Bulldogs, and I love to play golf (and yes, it is a sport!). I still like to play video games in my free time (Elden Ring, League of Legends, Rocket League, Diablo III, Civilization), but this free time is getting harder and harder to come by. My favorite shows on TV are/were: Game of Thrones (I read the books at a time where one could say, "Winter is Coming!" and all one would get were odd stares), Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Ozark, Rick & Morty, True Detective (1st season) and The Wire. I played a lot of Magic the Gathering as a kid and Everquest when I was a bit older (EQ was World of Warcraft long before WoW existed). Yes, I am a nerd, that is one of my hats. I am also a gardener, a golfer, and an avid backpacker. One thing that most people don't know about me is that I am also a 500-hour trained yoga instructor and was this close to dropping out of graduate school and becoming a monk somewhere. True story. I received my training from a guru who hasn't spoken a single word in over 40 years (his students spoke, which helped the learning process quite a bit!). I am already a father of two beautiful boys, but soon I will become the father of three. Please wish me luck on this –slightly– new adventure!