Rewiring the Brain for Peace Two neuroscientists journeys developing research in support of peacebuilding

Broadcast on August 15, 2017
With Jeremy Richman, PhD. & Dara Ghahremani, Ph.D.

Neuroscience is a relatively new field. Existing research gives us a glimpse into the brain’s plasticity and the infinite possibilities this characteristic presents. However, as Dr. Jeremy Richman put it, “We know more about subatomic particle structures or the surface of Mars than we do the organ between our ears. And yet, it's the seat of our memories, emotions, and behaviors. And if we are looking to cure violent behaviors, we have to consider it.” Join Dr. Richman and Dara Ghahremani, two neuroscientists from different backgrounds, as they discuss their respective research, describe how they became interested in the potential to rewire the brain for peace, and explain how rigorous research can help us accomplish this.

During this highly informative session, you'll discover:

  • Concrete insights into the potential applications & limitations of neuroscience

  • The potential of neuroscience in helping to rewire our brains for peace

  • What we already know about neuroscience, what we need to explore more and what ordinary citizens can learn from it

Dara Ghahremani, Ph.D.

Associate Neuroscientist

Dara G. Ghahremani, Ph.D. is associate research faculty in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Semel Insitute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He received his PhD in the Neuroscience area in the Psychology Department at Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA. His research aims to understand self-control behavior, its neural basis, how it is compromised in substance abuse, and how it may be strengthened using both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.

The self-control behaviors he focuses on include behavioral flexibility, response inhibition, and emotion regulation. He uses multiple neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neural basis of self-control, including functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain activation while people perform various tests of self-control and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure neurochemical markers of dopamine function. His studies examine both healthy control participants and those that are substance abusers. These include adults who use methamphetamine and cigarettes as well as adolescent cigarette smokers and marijuana users. The interventions employed for potential enhancement of self-control behavior include medications that show promise for enhancing cognitive function and non-pharmacological approaches that activate the parasympathetic system, relieving stress and anxiety. His recent studies on non-pharmacological approaches have focused on the YES! for Schools program, an internationally-taught biopsychosocial workshop for adolescents that promotes self-regulation and human connection.