New lab logo

For I don’t remember how many years I’ve wanted a lab logo. I thought that designing a logo was something that some student might actually enjoy doing. But I never pushed or insisted, and so it never happened.

Then, as a byproduct of a bunch of reading I’ve been doing about causal modeling and the philosophy of science, I came up with a figure that seems to work on several levels.

The outer circle represents the world, the next circle the body that is embedded in the world, the next the nervous system embedded in that body (in the world), and the smallest the mind embedded in the brain (in the body in the world). The world, body, and brain are directly measurable in various ways. The mind is not. We infer properties and structures of the mind indirectly, through patterns of brain activity or peripheral physiology or behavior. The focal point of psychology as a science is making inferences about something that cannot be directly measured. This is one reason psychology is harder than physics.

The figure has other associations. It is similar to one used to demonstrate that rotational motion in 2 dimensions can evoke the perception of an object in 3 dimensions – something called the stereokinetic depth effect (SKE). It evokes the perception of a cone-like shape protruding up and to the left. And it evokes a weaker perception of a tunnel. I study depth perception and motion perception, so these features make the figure even more appealing.

Finally, the figure could be viewed as a large letter O, for openness, something I now embrace in all aspects of my scholarship.

I confess that I was just trying a new way to depict the embedded causal relationships among mind, brain, body, and the environment and found a color scheme I liked. The rest was purely accidental. But I guess invention is like that sometimes.

I hope you like it.

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Rick O. Gilmore
Professor of Psychology
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