Through public lectures, the Technology and Culture Forum presents speakers of diverse viewpoints who come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds. In planning programs, the Technology and Culture Steering Committee, made up of MIT faculty, students and alumni, seek to address critical issues and raise important questions
In Spring 2014, T&C and Boston Latin School's Climate Action Network (BLSYouthCAN) will host the 8th Annual Youth Summit on Global Climate Change. Last May, nearly 200 students attended this informative, all-day event! The 7th annual Youth Summit on Global Climate Change focused on climate change and global water issues. Guest speakers included Professor Juliette Rooney Varga, Director, Climate Change Initiative, UMASS Lowell; Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy, the City of Boston; and State Senator Jamie Eldridge. Check back for upcoming details!
Getting Beyond Us and Them: Our Brains and the Possibility of Peace
Tuesday, February 4
New brain imaging studies show us that our instincts and assumptions can set us up to experience greater conflict, especially between groups that have differing moral codes or unequal access to power. Dr. Joshua Greene and Dr. Emile Bruneau will share insights from their research into why we encounter conflict and the strategies we can use to overcome our brains' automatic responses and create new opportunities for compromise, coexistence and peace.
Emile Bruneau is interested in the psychology of human conflict. He is working with Saxe to figure out why empathy - the ability to feel compassion for another person's suffering - often fails between members of opposing conflict groups. Bruneau is also trying to locate patterns of brain activity that correlate with empathy, in hopes of eventually using such measures to determine how well people respond to reconciliation programs aimed at boosting empathy between groups in conflict.
Joshua Greene's research focuses on moral judgment and decision-making, primarily using behavioral experiments and functional neuroimaging (fMRI). The goal of the research is to understand how moral judgments are shaped by automatic processes (such as emotional "gut reactions") and controlled cognitive processes (such as reasoning and self-control). Much of the research is aimed at understanding these automatic and controlled processes in more detailed functional terms. Recent work examines related phenomena such as cooperation, punishment, and belief in God.
Click here to listen to a recent radio program, "Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them", on WYNC featuring Professor Joshua Greene.
Click here to listen to a BBC panel discussion, "Why Do We Tell Stories?", featuring Dr. Emile Bruneau.
Click here to read an MITnews story featuring the research of Dr. Emile Bruneau.
Recent Programs of Interest
Tuesday, May 14
Tuesday, November 13
Tuesday, October 16