Michael S. Gazzaniga

University of California, Santa Barbara

Primary Section: 52, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
Secondary Section: 28, Systems Neuroscience
Membership Type: Member (elected 2011)


For a series of pioneering and continuing studies on split-brain humans specifying the nature of cortical specializations with direct implications for understanding brain modularity.  Also fundamental studies on primate and human brain mechanisms that have delineated both cortical and sub-cortical brain circuits involved in perception, visual-motor, attention, and emotional processes.  Born 12 December 1939, Los Angeles, California.  Dartmouth College, A.B. 1961, California Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Psychobiology, 1964-65, California Institute of Technology, Post-graduate Fellow, 1964-66, National Institute of Health Fellowship, Institute of Physiology, Pisa, Italy, August-December, 1966.  Professor and Director, SAGE Center, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2005-present.  David T. Mclaughlin Distinguished University Professor Dartmouth College 1996-2005.  Professor and Director of the Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis,  1992-1996, Member:  American Academy of Arts and Science, 1997-  American Academy of Neurology (Fellow), American Physiological Society (Fellow),  Society for Experimental Psychologists.  John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1982, C.U. Ariens Kappers Award 1999, Neatherlands Academy of Sciences, President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002-2009.  Elected Institute of Medicine, 2005. Alexander von Humboldt Award, Germany (2008) American Psychological Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, 2008.  The Gifford Lectures, 2009.

Research Interests

Throughout my career I have studied split-brain and other types of neurologic patients, in an effort to understand both the functional lateralization in the human brain and how the cerebral hemispheres communicate with one another.  These studies have contributed to identifying the complex mosaic of mental processes that participate in human cognition with the left hemisphere specialized for language and speech and major problem-solving capacities and the right hemisphere specialized for tasks such as facial recognition and attentional monitoring. Even though the brain has a modular architecture, we discovered the left brain also has unique capacity to interpret the multiple actions of these modules which in turn allows for a personal narrative to be created.

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