21 November 2014 – 22 November 2014

Symposium: “Mind the Brain!” Neuroscience in society

Registration obligatory!

Internal link to conference website

Neuroskepticism is on the rise. After decades of enthusiasm about the explanatory potential and the purportedly far-reaching practical consequences of the “New Sciences of the Brain”, contemporary neuroscience is now under attack in books, scientific papers, conferences, popular media coverage and internet blogs. In turn, the criticism of neuroscience is itself criticized as being exaggerated, misguided and generally unhelpful in progressing science. It is time to reconcile the divergent voices.

In a two-day symposium at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain of Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin, in cooperation with the Department of Neurology at the Max Planck Institut for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig), we will examine the complex relationship between neuroscience and society from different perspectives. It is more urgent than ever to understand their modes of interaction and to reach consensus positions on the future role of neuroscience in society. 

Some of the questions that will guide our symposium are: What are the expectations of society regarding relevant neuroscientific progress? How do the media cover neuroscience findings? Are researchers perhaps forced to publicly oversell their results in an increasingly competitive research environment? What can be done to reform neuroscientific research practices in order to increase the outcome of truly relevant data, e.g. in biological psychiatry? Do we need to rethink the publication process of scientific data, encourage more replication studies and improve the feasibility of publishing negative findings?

The workshop will be organized around these questions, with two keynote lectures and five short talks. There will also be six specialized working groups dedicated to these questions, each working group panel headed by two experts in the field.

A summary of the outcome of each working group will be given to the other participants in the afternoon of day two. Following the Mind the Brain! symposium, the outcome of our meeting will be presented to a broader audience in a public lecture as well as in a press conference.