Center for Neuroethics and Society: From Skulls to Scans: How Brain Measurements Have Been Used, Misused and Misunderstood in the Study of Racial Differences. (Monge & Aguirre)

Date: 
Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 4:30pm
Event Location: 
Nevil Gallery, Penn Museum

Center for Neuroethics and Society

From Skulls to Scans: How Brain Measurements Have Been Used, Misused and Misunderstood in the Study of Racial Differences

Brief scientific presentations by:   Janet Monge, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Geoffrey Aguirre, Penn Department of Neurology  

Commentary by: Dorothy Roberts, Penn Law School

The Morton skull collection, housed at the Penn Museum, was used to test theories of racial differences in the 19th Century.  Debate surrounding Morton’s measurements and their interpretation was revived in the 20th Century by Stephen Jay Gould and again in the 21st by Penn anthropologists.   Meanwhile, in the new era of brain imaging, scientists continue to investigate brain differences between groups of people, including racial groups.   What has changed, and what has stayed the same?  What have we learned?  What assumptions about people, brains and race are implicit in this research?  Please join us for an exploration of these many complex and important issues.