ESP Biography



ROAN LAPLANTE, Neuroscience software specialist




Major: Radiology, Psychology, CS

College/Employer: Self employed

Year of Graduation: 2012

Picture of Roan LaPlante

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I graduated from Brown University in 2012 with degrees in psychology and computer science.

After that I worked at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital until 2015.

I have deep, lifelong interests in personality, computational neuroscience, psychology, socionics, social behavior, and buddhist philosophy.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Consonant Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Spark 2018 (Mar. 17 - 18, 2018)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different consonant sounds, including sounds in English and lots of amazingly fun sounds that are not at all like sounds in English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


How to do adult-related money things in Spark 2018 (Mar. 17 - 18, 2018)
This is a class about how to handle money. There are a lot of experiential skills around handling money that students are usually not taught in school, including some very basic things. In this course we will focus on basic life skills around how to make, spend, and move money. This includes how to invest money and what you should invest it in, how to do your taxes (and what is necessary to do taxes well), how to write and deposit checks, how banks work, which banks you should use, and how to apply for jobs. This class will have extensive student-focused question and answer time. Students are encouraged to prepare questions that they have about how to handle money. There is no such thing as a stupid question.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
In this class we will review Socionics, a personality typology and branch of Jungian analytical psychology developed by a Lithuanian woman named Ausra Augustinavicitue in the 1970s. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is an abstract philosophical model and language for describing people and their social interactions, which attempts to answer the question, "How are different people different?" More concisely, it is a system of personality types. In this class, we will simultaneously review the conceptual foundations of this typology, and in doing so, we will address the problem of knowledge and numerous issues in practice. Specifically we will point out the problems and vagueness of the topic of personality types in itself, how it relates to science (socionics is *not* science) and ask what understanding personality types is actually useful for.


Consonant Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different consonant sounds, including sounds in English and lots of amazingly fun sounds that are not at all like sounds in English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Vowel Phonology: Sounds of the World's Englishes in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different vowel sounds. Because English has one of the most complex vowel phonologies in the world, we will primarily compare dialects of English, but we will also discuss some vowel systems in the other languages of the world. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Consonant Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different consonant sounds, including sounds in English and lots of amazingly fun sounds that are not at all like sounds in English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
In this class we will review Socionics, a personality typology and branch of Jungian analytical psychology developed by a Lithuanian woman named Ausra Augustinavicitue in the 1970s. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is an abstract philosophical model and language for describing people and their social interactions, which attempts to answer the question, "How are different people different?" More concisely, it is a system of personality types. In this class, we will simultaneously review the conceptual foundations of this typology, and in doing so, we will address the problem of knowledge and numerous issues in practice. Specifically we will point out the problems and vagueness of the topic of personality types in itself, how it relates to science (socionics is *not* science) and ask what understanding personality types is actually useful for.


Consonant Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different consonant sounds, including sounds in English and lots of amazingly fun sounds that are not at all like sounds in English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Vowel Phonology: Sounds of the World's Englishes in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different vowel sounds. Because English has one of the most complex vowel phonologies in the world, we will primarily compare dialects of English, but we will also discuss vowel systems in the other languages of the world. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Comparative Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different speech sounds. English is a common reference point in our discussion; we will examine the ways in which the sound systems of other languages of the world are different from English. Depending on interest and time we will also talk about differences in regional dialects of English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production of unfamiliar sounds.


Colors in different languages in Spark 2016 (Mar. 12 - 13, 2016)
English has a very rich vocabulary of color terms. But some languages, such as the Herero family of languages spoken indigenously in southern central Africa, or a variety of languages spoken indigenously on Papua New Guinea, have very few words to describe color, sometimes having as few as four, three, or two colors. This course will explore the prevalence of color terms in the world's different languages, and will review anthropological evidence exploring the effect of languages' color terms on cognition.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
In this class we will review Socionics, a personality typology and branch of Jungian analytical psychology developed by a Lithuanian woman named Ausra Augustinavicitue in the 1970s. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is an abstract philosophical model and language for describing people and their social interactions, which attempts to answer the question, "How are different people different?" More concisely, it is a system of personality types. In this class, we will simultaneously review the conceptual foundations of this typology, and in doing so, we will address the problem of knowledge and numerous issues in practice. Specifically we will point out the problems and vagueness of the topic of personality types in itself, how it relates to science (socionics is *not* science) and ask what understanding personality types is actually useful for.


Phonology: Strange Sounds of the World's Languages in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
In this course we will go over the theory, anatomy, and orthography (International Phonetic Alphabet) of different speech sounds, including sounds in English and lots of amazingly fun sounds that are not at all like sounds in English. Depending on interest we will also talk about differences in regional dialects of English. This is a very interactive course, with an emphasis on speech production.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
In this class we will review Socionics, a personality typology and branch of Jungian analytical psychology developed by a Lithuanian woman named Ausra Augustinavicitue in the 1970s. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is an abstract philosophical model and language for describing people and their social interactions, which attempts to answer the question, "How are different people different?" More concisely, it is a system of personality types. In this class, we will simultaneously review the conceptual foundations of this typology, and in doing so, we will address the problem of knowledge and numerous issues in practice. Specifically we will point out the problems and vagueness of the topic of personality types in itself, how it relates to science (socionics is *not* science) and ask what understanding personality types is actually useful for.


The Scope of Modern Cognitive Neuroscience: Limitations, Popular Misconceptions, and Practical Applications in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
The computational power and complexity of the human brain is one of the great mysteries of science. It is also one of the most poorly represented avenues of science in popular culture. In the past 20 years, while scientists have made exciting breakthroughs in neuroscience, the media has badly misconstrued these discoveries with sensationalistic headlines and persistent failures of critical thinking. This class will describe briefly what we do know about what we don't know about the brain, contrast how neuroscience is studied with how popular media tends to think it is studied, and after stripping away all of the untrue nonsense, ask what kinds of insights neuroscience can actually tell us and what use it actually is to study it.


Structure-function relationships in the brain in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
The computational power and complexity of the human brain is one of the great mysteries of science. It is also one of the most poorly represented avenues of knowledge in popular culture. In this course, we will attempt to review a small amount of what is known about the overall functioning of the brain at a high level and the epistemology of these findings -- the physical measurements and methods that affirm this. We will also look at some erroneous concepts of the brain in popular culture, and compare this to the level of detail present in the scientific source material.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Socionics is a field of nonscientific analytical psychology developed by Ausra Augustinavicitue who was working with ideas of Jungian psychology. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. It is best described as a language for understanding and interpreting processes of personality. It is by far most often used as a typology, assigning personality types to individuals and using these types to systematically predict relational compatibility. However, some would argue that it is more a philosophical language for modeling people, social interaction, and different cultures than strictly a model of personality. Perhaps most importantly, thinking about socionics provides a substantial conceptual framework for thinking about questions of personality, social behavior, cognition, and philosophy. In this class, we will first try to investigate the alphabet of this language, and in doing so discuss the vagueness of the alphabet itself and the myriad issues in practice of actually applying it.


Structure-function relationships in the brain in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
The computational power and complexity of the human brain is one of the great mysteries of science. It is also one of the most poorly represented avenues of knowledge in popular culture. In this course, we will attempt to review a small amount of what is known about the overall functioning of the brain at a high level and the epistemology of these findings -- the physical measurements and methods that affirm this. We will also look at some erroneous concepts of the brain in popular culture, and compare this to the level of detail present in the scientific source material.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
Socionics is a field of nonscientific analytical psychology developed by Ausra Augustinavicitue who was working with ideas of Jungian psychology. Socionics is moderately well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. It is best described as a language for understanding and interpreting processes of personality. It is by far most often used as a typology, assigning personality types to individuals and using these types to systematically predict relational compatibility. However, some would argue that it is more a philosophical language for modeling people, social interaction, and different cultures than strictly a model of personality. Perhaps most importantly, thinking about socionics provides a substantial conceptual framework for thinking about questions of personality, social behavior, cognition, and philosophy. In this class, we will first try to investigate the alphabet of this language, and also discuss the myriad issues in practice of actually applying it.


Methods in cognitive neuroscience in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
How does the brain work? How does the large assortment of cells in your head generate coherent thoughts? Well, we don't know, but we do have some educated guesses about the structure-function relationship of the brain. This course is about how we come to those guesses. This course will explain a tiny bit of the physics behind neuroimaging methods such as fMRI, EEG/MEG, and TMS, and will review a tiny bit of the math in computational neural modeling approaches. Most importantly, it will address the question of what existing methods actually tell us about the high-level structure-function relationships of the brain, and also what they don't tell us.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2011)
Socionics is a field of nonscientific (some argue protoscientific) analytical psychology developed by Ausra Augustinavicitue who was working with ideas of Jungian psychology, which is well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is best described as a language for understanding and interpreting processes of personality. It is by far most often used as a typology, assigning personality types to individuals and using these types to systematically predict relational compatibility. However, some would argue that it is more a philosophical language for modeling people, social interaction, and different cultures than strictly a model of personality. Perhaps most importantly, thinking about socionics provides a substantial conceptual framework for thinking about questions of personality, social behavior, cognition, and philosophy. In this class, we will first try to investigate the alphabet of this language, and also discuss the myriad issues in practice of actually applying it.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Socionics is a field of nonscientific (some argue protoscientific) analytical psychology developed by Ausra Augustinavicitue who was working with ideas of Jungian psychology, which is well popularized in Eastern Europe and almost unheard of in Western Europe or America. Socionics is best described as a language for understanding and interpreting processes of personality. It is by far most often used as a typology, assigning personality types to individuals and using these types to systematically predict relational compatibility. However, some would argue that it is more a philosophical language for modeling people, social interaction, and different cultures than strictly a model of personality. Perhaps most importantly, thinking about socionics provides a substantial conceptual framework for thinking about questions of personality, social behavior, cognition, and philosophy.


Introduction to Socionics in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Socionics is a field of barely scientific (some argue protoscientific) analytical psychology developed by Ausra Augustinavicitue, building upon ideas developed by Carl Jung. It is far more well known in Eastern Europe, where the majority of the major bodies of socionics study (such as the International Institute of Socionics in Kiev) exist. Socionics, following in Jungian tradition, is perhaps best described as a language for understanding and interpreting processes of personality. It can be used as a typology, assigning particular personality types to individuals and using these types to systematically predict relational compatibility, but it is also often used to describe the habits and personality of different cultures (integral types) and myriad other applications with only a loose relationship to individual attributes. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, thinking about socionics provides a concrete framework for thinking about questions of personality, social behavior, cognition, and philosophy.