Keynote – Brilliant: The Science of How to Get Smarter

Date & Time

Thursday May 5th, 9:30-11:30am


UBC Point Grey – Earth Sciences Building, Room 1012


UBC Centennial Session

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 Speaker

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.

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Live Stream

This event is being live streamed. The live stream can be found here: Brilliant: The Science of How to Get Smarter – Livecast