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Neuroscience Expert Headlines W&L’s Institute for Honor Symposium

Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology and director of The SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will deliver the keynote address at the 13th annual Institute for Honor Symposium at Washington and Lee University on Friday, March 1.

Gazzaniga will present his address, “Who’s in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain,” at 3:45 p.m. in Room 214 of the Science Center. It is free and open to the public.

The theme of this year’s institute is “Neuroscience and the Law: ‘My Brain Made Me Do It!’ ” In addition to the keynote, participants will hear presentations and panel discussions during the two-day event, which runs on March 1 and 2.

Over several decades, Gazzaniga has studied patients who have undergone split-brain surgery that reveals the division of labor between the two hemispheres of the brain. In his recent lectures and in a new book, which has the same title as his W&L lecture, he examines the uses of neuroscience in society and particularly in the courtroom.

Gazzaniga received a Ph.D in psychobiology from the California Institute of Technology, where he worked under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Roger Sperry on groundbreaking studies of persons with surgically divided brains. He has published many books accessible to a lay audience, such as “The Ethical Brain,” “Mind Matters” and “Nature’s Mind,” which, along with his participation in the 1988 PBS show “The Brain and the Mind,” have made information about brain function generally accessible—essential in obtaining public support for clinical and basic science research.

His many scholarly publications include the landmark 1995 book “The Cognitive Neurosciences,” now in its third edition, the sourcebook for the field.

Gazzaniga’s long and distinguished teaching and mentoring career has included beginning and developing centers for cognitive neuroscience at the University of California-Davis and at Dartmouth, and most recently the SAGE Center at UC-Santa Barbara. He has advised various institutes involved in brain research, belonged to the President’s Council on Bioethics and was the founding director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience project. He was recently elected to the nation’s most influential and prestigious scientific organization, the National Academy of Sciences.

He was the subject of an October 2011 “Profiles in Science” feature in the New York Times, which has an accompanying video interview.

Other speakers at this year’s Institute for Honor include Tyler Lorig, the Parmly Professor of Psychology and chair of neuroscience Washington and Lee; David Caudill, the Goldberg Family Professor of Law at Villanova University Law School; and Judge Jed S. Rakoff, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Aside from Gazzaniga’s keynote speech, the presentations at the institute are open only to members of the University community. Others may register for the event by contacting the Office of Special Programs at (540) 458-8916. Additional details are available at http://www.wlu.edu/x59368.xml.

Established in 2000 at Washington and Lee by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor promotes the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. Its mandate is to provide an educational and resource management facility dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business and community relations.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459