March 25–28, 2023

CNS 2023 | Keynote Address by Martha J. Farah

Martha J. Farah will deliver her lecture in San Francisco, CA March of 2023 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Hotel in the Grand Ballroom.

Poverty and Neuroscience: A fish and a Bicycle?

Martha J. Farah, PhD

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Saturday, March 25, 2023, 5:00PM - 6:00PM (PT), Grand Ballroom

Does neuroscience have anything useful to contribute to our understanding of poverty and its harmful effects? Early work indicates that it may, despite the very different concepts appropriate for describing poverty or socioeconomic status more generally (income, educational attainment, and occupational status) and the brain (regions, networks, and neurotransmitters). To assess the prospects for fruitful interdisciplinary integration, I will first take you on a flyby of recent work on the neuroscience of socioeconomic status, sampling the questions that have been asked and the answers that are emerging. I will then consider the potential policy implications of this work, as well as scientific challenges and limitations and the worries expressed by some concerning reductionism and victim-blaming.


Martha Julia Farah is a cognitive neuroscience researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked on an unusually wide range of topics; the citation for her lifetime achievement award from the Association for Psychological Science states that “Her studies on the topics of mental imagery, face recognition, semantic memory, reading, attention, and executive functioning have become classics in the field.”

Farah has undergraduate degrees in Metallurgy and Philosophy from MIT, and a doctorate in Psychology from Harvard University. She has taught at Carnegie Mellon University and at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences and Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society.[1]