Neurological researcher to present talk on brain activity and disorders

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Richard J. Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will present "Order and Disorder in the Emotional Brain," at noon on April 8 in Foster Auditorium in Paterno Library on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture is hosted by the Social, Life and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center.

Davidson’s talk will address variability in individual responses to emotional cues and challenges. 

“Emotions are at the core of human personality,” Davidson said. “They define each person’s uniqueness and they shape resilience and vulnerability to adversity.”

He will also discuss how specific patterns of brain activity are related to vulnerability to particular types of disorders, and how patterns of central brain function are related to biological systems that play a role in physical health and illness. 

Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style, and methods to promote human flourishing, such as meditation and related contemplative practices. He is founder and chair of the Center for Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center and is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry.

While on campus, Davidson will also present the inaugural Lecture on Compassion, offered by the College of Health and Human Development and coordinated by the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. His presentation, titled "Well-being is a Skill: Perspectives from Contemplative Neuroscience," will be held on April 7. 

Davidson received his doctorate from Harvard University in psychology. He has published more than 320 articles, numerous chapters and reviews, and edited 14 books. Davidson and Sharon Begley are co-authors of "The Emotional Life of Your Brain," which Penguin published in 2012.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Scientist Award, a MERIT Award from NIMH, an Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders, the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Hilldale Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In 2000, he received the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association — the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. He is founding co-editor of the new American Psychological Association journal EMOTION and is past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

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Last Updated March 30, 2016