For a quick link to the schedule of Convocation Day events, including the keynote address and Q & A session led by Dr. Chabris, musical performances, a student-prepared cash lunch, the Undergraduate Research Symposium poster session, afternoon workshops, and documentary film screening, go to:

Christopher Chabris

Christopher Chabris

The campus-wide Convocation Committee is pleased to announce that Dr. Christopher Chabris, psychologist and co-author of the best seller The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, has been selected as our 2018 Convocation Day speaker. Chabris earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University and taught there before his current teaching post at Union College. He has spoken at Google, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft, among other places. Our speaker is a chess master and games enthusiast who writes a monthly column for the Wall Street Journal.

Convocation 2018 will focus on important and relevant themes such as how cognitive illusions impact our daily lives. As a creator of one of the most famous experiments in psychology, Chabris will discuss how our intuitions lead us astray, affecting our decisions in business, the criminal justice field, the health sciences and even how we drive.

We hope that Chabris will inspire students and faculty alike to consider how illusions about attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause and potential can cost us dearly, and how to manage these illusions. Please note that Tuesday April 17, 2018 is Convocation Day, on which no day or evening classes will be held.

Convocation 2018 will focus on important and relevant themes such as the role attention plays in police-civilian encounters, the problems with eye-witness testimony and memory, the ways in which talented medical experts and pilots may miss what is right in front of them and how our belief in the power of confidence shapes our selection of leaders.

More Details Regarding The Invisible Gorilla:

Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself-and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, we use a wide assortment of stories and counter intuitive scientific findings to reveal an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.

We combine the work of other researchers with our own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, we explain:

  • Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail
  • How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it
  • Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes
  • What criminals have in common with chess masters
  • Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback
  • Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters

Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We’re sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our mind with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.

The Invisible Gorilla reveals the numerous ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it’s more than a catalog of human failings. In the book, we also explain why people succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. In short, we try to give you a sort of “x-ray vision” into your own minds, with the ultimate goal of helping you notice the invisible gorillas in your own life.

Who Are the Current Members of SUNY Broome’s Convocation Committee?

SUNY Broome’s Convocation Committee is a cross-divisional effort with student representation under the aegis of the Liberal Arts Division, Dr. Michael Kinney, Dean and Associate Vice-President.

Professor Irene Byrnes (Chair)
Professor Carla Michalak, Liberal Arts Division
Professor Anne Haner-Uncapher, Health Sciences Division
Dr. Victor Larmoureux, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Division
Associate Librarian Amanda Hollister, Library
Professor Gian Roma, Business and Professional Studies Division
Dr. Virginia Shirley, Liberal Arts Division
Orion Barber, Student Assembly