Michael Gazzaniga

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Michael Gazzaniga
Born (1939-12-12) December 12, 1939 (age 74)
Residence Santa Barbara, California
Citizenship United States
Nationality United States
Fields Psychology, neuroscience
Institutions University of California, Santa Barbara, SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind
Alma mater Dartmouth College, California Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisor Roger Sperry
Doctoral students Joseph E. LeDoux
Known for Split-brain research, cerebral lateralization, cognitive neuroscience
Notable awards Elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2011)

Michael S. Gazzaniga (born December 12, 1939) is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he heads the new SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. He is one of the leading researchers in cognitive neuroscience, the study of the neural basis of mind. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.


In 1961, Gazzaniga graduated from Dartmouth College. In 1964, he received a Ph.D. in psychobiology from the California Institute of Technology, where he worked under the guidance of Roger Sperry, with primary responsibility for initiating human split-brain research. In his subsequent work he has made important advances in our understanding of functional lateralization in the brain and how the cerebral hemispheres communicate with one another.

Gazzaniga's publication career includes books for a general audience such as The Social Brain, Mind Matters, Nature's Mind, The Ethical Brain and Who's in Charge?. He is also the editor of the The Cognitive Neurosciences book series published by the MIT Press, which features the work of nearly 200 scientists and is a sourcebook for the field. His latest monograph is entitled Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. It was published by HarperCollins in 2011 [1].

Gazzaniga founded the Centers for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis and at Dartmouth College, the Neuroscience Institute, and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, of which he is the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus. Gazzaniga was a member of U.S. President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics. He was also the Director of the Law and Neuroscience Project, a project to study the intersection of law and neuroscience.

Cultural influence[edit]

Gazzaniga's work is referenced in the book Peace on Earth by Stanisław Lem.

In 2010 a tribute volume to the work of Gazzaniga was published, containing contributions by Joseph LeDoux, Stephen Kosslyn, Steven Pinker and others. [1]


Dr. Gazzaniga has led pioneering studies in learning and understanding split brained patients and how their brains work.[2] He has performed numerous studies and done large of amounts of research on split brain patients to provided a much higher quality understanding into the lives of those affected by this rare phenomenon. He has studied how people who have the two halves of the brain separated function in comparison to those who do not. Dr. Gazzaniga has looked into what bodily functions are controlled by each half of the brain. He has looked at what split brained patients are able to do as a result of their condition such as the ability to draw two different objects with each hand, an ability that a person with a non split brain is unable to do. They study how those with split brain act emotionally and physically in comparison to those who do not have a split brain. Through Gazzaniga’s studies a much greater understanding of the split brain phenomenon has been brought to other physiologists as well as the general population of the world.[3][4]


  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (1970). The Bisected Brain. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. ISBN 978-0-390-35278-1. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S.; LeDoux, Joseph E. (1978). The Integrated Mind. New York: Plenum Pr. ISBN 978-0-306-31085-0. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (1987). Social Brain: Discovering the Networks of the Mind. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-07850-9. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (1988). Mind Matters: How Mind and Brain Interact to Create our Conscious Lives. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-50095-8. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (1992). Nature's Mind: The Biological Roots of Thinking, Emotions, Sexuality, Language and Intelligence. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 978-0-465-04863-2. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (2000). The Mind's Past. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22486-5. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (2005). The Ethical Brain. New York [u.a.]: Dana Press. ISBN 978-1-932594-01-0. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S.; Ivry, Richard B.; Mangun, George R. (2009). Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-92795-5. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (2009). Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique (1st ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-089289-0. 
  • Gazzaniga, Michael S. (2011). Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (1st ed.). New York, NY: Ecco. ISBN 978-0-06-190610-7. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The cognitive neuroscience of mind: A Tribute to Michael S. Gazzaniga, edited by Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz, Kathleen Baynes, George R. Mangun, and Elizabeth A. Phelps, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2010
  2. ^ American Psychological Association, “Psychology’s best,” 2008, Vol 39, No. 9, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/10/honors.aspx
  3. ^ Hock, Roger R., “Forty Studies that Changed Psychology Explorations into the History of Psychological Research,” Ch. 1 “Biology and Human Behavior”, Reading 1: “One Brain or Two?” Copyright 2013, 2009, 2005 by Pearson Education Inc.
  4. ^ Michael Gazzaniga, on season 7, episode 3 of Scientific American Frontiers.

External links[edit]