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The Neural Basis of Religious Cognition

December 11, 2022 @ 10:30 AM 12:00 PM

Dr. Jordan Grafman, Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Center, Department of Psychiatry at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, will speak on the topic of The Neural Basis of Religious Cognition.  Religion’s neural underpinnings have long been a topic of speculation and debate, but an emerging neuroscience of religion is beginning to clarify which regions of the brain integrate moral, ritual, and supernatural religious beliefs with functionally adaptive responses.  In this discourse, Dr. Grafman will briefly discuss his studies indicating that religious cognition involves a complex interplay among the brain regions underpinning cognitive control, social reasoning, social motivations, and ideological beliefs. This interactive discussion can include what  the ramifications are of such studies for our knowledge of brain function and human beliefs.

Before joining Northwestern and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Grafman served as the director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at the Kessler Foundation. He also served as Chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  His research primarily focuses on investigating the functions of the human prefrontal cortex using a wide variety of methods, including magnetic resonance imaging, psychophysiological techniques, and genetic research. He was awarded a Humboldt Research Award in 2011.  Dr. Grafman received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

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