Socio-biological Perspectives of Neuroscience

August 23, 2012

Human beings are social animals and this symposium will examine recent advances in neural science aimed at exploring the biological underpinnings of our social behavior and its consequences for understanding each other’s culture. In looking at several research strands within this field, one can see a whole new area of biology opening up that can potentially help us understand what makes us social, communicating beings. An ambitious undertaking of this sort might not only discern the factors that enable members of a cohesive group to recognize one another, but also teach us something about the factors that give rise to tribalism and a sense of community which is so often associated with fear, hatred and intolerance of the ‘other’. We hope an understanding of the neural basis of behavior will provide guidance in our address of some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. What is the role of emotion in foreign policy? Can neuroscience illuminate a route towards healing and reconciliation between warring factions?