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Laurier Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience
Founder of cognitive neuroscience to speak at Laurier
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
Jan 31/07| For Immediate Release
Dr. Jeffery Jones
Dr. Philip Servos
WATERLOO – Renowned psychologist Michael Gazzaniga, the “father of cognitive neuroscience,” will explore the ethical dilemmas of brain imaging technology during a lecture at Wilfrid Laurier University on Tuesday, February 13 at 7 p.m.
Drawing on topics from his newest book, The Ethical Brain, Gazzaniga will address how our understanding of moral and ethical behaviour and our ideas of privacy and self-incrimination have been challenged now that technology allows us to observe the brain in action.
“As we understand more about how the brain works, there is the potential to exploit this knowledge for good and bad,” said Jeffery Jones, assistant professor of psychology at Laurier and a cognitive neuroscientist himself, who organized Gazzaniga’s lecture.
Gazzaniga is best known as the founder of cognitive neuroscience – the combination of cognitive psychology and neuroscience that uses technology to study the brain mechanisms behind thought and cognition.
He is also known for his revolutionary human split-brain research with Roger Sperry in the 1960s. Working with epileptic patients who had undergone a dramatic procedure to sever the corpus callosum – the bridge of nerve fibres enabling communication between the brain hemispheres – he was able to study how each half of the brain functions separately.
Gazzaniga is the head of the new SAGE Centre for the Study of the Mind at University of California, Santa Barbara; the creator of the Neuroscience Institute and the Centers for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, and Dartmouth College. Gazzaniga is also the founder of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and serves on the President’s Council on Bioethics.
“Gazzaniga will allow students to look at what they’re learning within a broader societal context, which is just as important as understanding the fundamentals,” said Jones, who credited Laurier’s Science and Technology Endowment Program (STEP) with making it possible to bring a speaker of Gazzaniga’s calibre to Laurier.
The lecture will also highlight the Laurier Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, which aims to become one of Canada’s premier centres for cognitive neuroscience research.
Gazzaniga’s lecture will be held Tuesday, February 13, 7 p.m. in the Bricker Academic Building, Room 101 at Wilfrid Laurier University. A reception and book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is not required.