The Frontal Cortex

Me at Google

I visited the Cambridge Google offices last month and talked about Escoffier, umami, Kanye West and the plasticity of dopamine neurons:


  1. #1 Rachael
    July 18, 2008

    Nice talk

    By the way, isn’t Google the coolest? I visited my brother recently (he works at the Google in Mountain View) and got a tour of the campus. I left feeling inspired about the future of the American workforce. Google has an amazing vision of how companies should operate. First, their mission statement doesn’t include profit – it just happens to be a rather successful side effect. Second, they treat their employees extremely well. They invest in employee benefits that do not have obvious economic payoffs (food, transportation, fun in many ways), but clearly this increased happiness translates to company success. There are also a few items which are directly motivational, such as their performance-based pay algorithms. Depending on the achievement of self-defined goals, evaluations from coworkers and supervisors and the success of your projects, you could double your salary in a given year. This, combined with a very flat company structure (cut out the heirarchy crap), motivates their employees to work in creative ways to achieve tangible rewards.

    Anyway. If only Google hired bioengineers. But if Google hired bioengeers, that would be scary, so it’s a good thing that they don’t!

  2. #2 OftenWrongTed
    July 18, 2008

    Another fine presentation Jonah, and timely for me as I just bought Igor Stravinsky’s POETICS OF MUSIC, which I will begin reading today, between my experiments at work

  3. #3 Michael MacLean
    July 18, 2008

    Thankyou for that. Having studied psychology in pre-umami days, and suffered some dreadful early “scientizing” of aesthetics/sensuality it’s a pleasure to see your talk and the likes of Semir Zeki making genuine approaches to the utility and formulaity of Art (appreciation).

    As hinted at in many of your comments and the questions that followed, appreciation of, or becoming inured to, or accommodating novelty is a culturally mediated correlate of brain plasticity.

    I would hope to see this fit into a framework like Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, perhaps subsuming his “Naturalistic” (bunkum) and Musical intelligences.

  4. #4 The Science Pundit
    July 18, 2008

    I watched this this morning. I have a couple issues with the Cambridge sound crew (loud buzz, no microphone for audience members asking questions), but the talk was great. I would have never made the connection between cooking, taste receptors, and neuroscience. Great stuff!

    ps–It’s been years since I’ve listened to The Rite Of Spring. I’m gonna have to give it another listen.

  5. #5 jope
    July 19, 2008
  6. #6 Gay
    July 23, 2008

    I love to cook and your talk is really informative. Thanks for sharing it here.

  7. #7 S Sherman
    September 12, 2011

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for posting.

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