#39: Yael Niv on the Moral Obligations of Scientists
This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.
Yael Niv is a professor in Princeton department of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. She is also a discernibly high-quality human being. I have been an admirer of her and her work for many years now. But she's been in the fore of my mind of late because of a couple papers she recently published: on "The Primacy of Behavioral Research in Understanding the Brain" and "The Case Against Economic Values in the Brain" (co-authored with Benjamin Hayden). In this interview, we mostly talk about her background as a psychologically-oriented computational neuroscientist, which has been impressively focused from relatively early on. It's clear how a lot of the ideas that are gaining wide-spread attention (even outside the usual circles of computational neuroscience) having been circling in the heads of Yael and her colleagues for a long time. We talk about the origins of her behavioral primacy paper, as well as the best advice on mentoring she learned from Peter Dayan. It's a fun conversation, and I hope you enjoy!
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