Bass Connections in Brain & Society

Bass Connections in Brain & Society team members discuss a painting as part of the "Art, Vision, and the Brain" project.

Bass Connections is a University-wide initiative providing students with greater exposure to inquiry across the disciplines, partnership with unlikely fellow thinkers, sustained mentorship in teams, and the chance to experience the intersections of the academy and the real world. The program is divided into five thematic areas, including Brain & Society.

Many core problems of our time – climate change, financial crises, addiction and social inequality – arise from individuals and their choices. Brain research on cognition, emotions, expression and decision-making is translated in Bass Connections in Brain & Society to address collective challenges and increase understanding of what makes us human.

Bass Connections in Brain & Society engages undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty from different programs and majors in an immersive curriculum that combines research and coursework into a common program of scholarship in multidisciplinary project-based teams. Curricular and project elements build connections between basic research and socially challenging questions in medicine, the humanities, public policy, economics, ethics and law, to understand a variety of issues. This includes areas such as physical and social responses to transformative events, the workings of the brain in rhetoric and the arts, memory in legal testimony, and the role of decision processes in shaping our institutions and public policies. Through Bass Connections: Brain & Society, teams tackle current issues relating to the brain and its link to society as a whole.

Project deliverables are diverse, including, but not limited to co-authored articles, artistic presentations, policy briefs, smartphone applications, curricula and community outreach programs. Bass Connections is a University-wide initiative launched by a gift from Anne and Robert Bass.

Bass Connections in Brain and Society leadership team:

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Co-Director

Leonard White, Co-Director

Tyler Lee, Theme Administrator

Learn more about DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


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