KEYNOTE – Brilliant: The Science of How to Get Smarter

Event Date & Time

  • May 5, 2016
    9:30 am - 11:30 am

Event Description

UBC Centennial Session and part of Celebrate Learning Week

In this talk, Annie Murphy Paul refutes the idea that intelligence is determined by genetic inheritance or an individual’s upbringing by revealing the impact of the microenvironment, the context in which we use our minds at any given moment. Over the past two decades, evidence has been growing that the micro environments in which we learn and work exert a powerful influence on the expression of our intelligence. From the physical postures we assume to the amount of sleep and exercise we get; from the way we take in new knowledge to the techniques we use to commit material to memory; from our reaction to mistakes to how we handle distractions; from the information we glean from classmates and coworkers to the roles we occupy in our organizations: the situations we create (or find ourselves in) can evoke or suppress intelligent thought and behaviour. Further, by carefully structuring the microenvironment constituting the learning environment, we can deliberately evoke intelligence and create more effective learning experiences. This talk will explore the implications of this finding for the future of teaching and learning in higher education and beyond.

KEYNOTE: Annie Murphy Paul

Annie Murphy Paul is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. A contributing writer for Time magazine, she writes a weekly column about learning for, and also blogs about learning at,,, and

She contributes to The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications. She is the author of The Cult of Personality, a cultural history and scientific critique of personality tests, and of Origins, a book about the science of prenatal influences. Her latest is Brilliant: The New Science of Smart.

This event will also be livestreamed. To view the livestream, please click here: Brilliant: The Science of How to Get Smarter – Livecast

UBC 2050: The Future of Higher Education (separate registration required)

Later in the day, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, join us for a panel discussion on “UBC 2050: The Future of Higher Education” with the following panelists:

  • Dr. Martha C. Piper, Interim UBC President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Dr. Angela Redish, Provost and Vice-President Academic pro tem
  • Annie Murphy Paul, Book Author, Magazine Journalist, Consultant & Speaker
  • Daniel Munro, Associate Vice President, Academic and University Affairs
  • Janet Giltrow, Professor, English Department
  • Sandra Jarvis-Selinger, Associate Dean, Academic Pharmaceutical Sciences