Michael Spezio to present CASIRAS/LSTC webinar February 19 January 13, 2021

Michael Spezio, associate professor of psychology, neuroscience and data science and director of the Laboratory for Inquiry into Valuation and Emotion (The LIVE Lab) at Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., will present the next CASIRAS Talk Friday, February 19, at 4 p.m., Central time. This talk is hosted by the Center for Advanced Studies in Religion and Science (CASIRAS) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC).The Zoom event is free and open to the public. Register by completing this form to receive the link on February 19.

"CASIRAS is using these webinars to engage further in the advanced science-religion dialogue that is at our core," said CASIRAS President Gayle Woloschak. "We look forward to Dr. Spezio's presentation as he has been a provocative thinker in the field and has published his work in the Zygon Journal over the years."

Spezio is a computational cognitive neuroscientist specializing in valuation, emotion, and decision making in interaction. He joined Scripps College after completing postdoctoral fellowships in UC Davis' Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science and in the laboratory of Ralph Adolphs at Caltech. He has edited several interdisciplinary volumes on religion & science and science and virtue.

His wide range of interests and areas of expertise include decision science, valuation, emotion, theory of mind, belief modeling, trust, applications of machine learning, social neuroscience, autism spectrum, political psychology, mindfulness, virtue science, moral action, neuroethics, data science ethics and justice (DSEJ), and religion & science.

He oversees the work of the LIVE Lab, which uses interviews, natural language processing, cognitive computational modeling, and computational models of the brain (EEG and fMRI), along with more typical self-report questionnaires to explore the following questions:

  • How do we formally model the values and emotions that form who we are and how we choose to live?
  • How can formal computational models coming out of operations research and artificial intelligence help us better understand the dynamics and structures of personal and moral values, and how institutions, organizations, and groups shape those values?
  • How do these dynamics and structures affect choices and decisions when people actually interact with one another?
  • How do we scientifically address the individuality and social connection of each person and recognize the potential of neurodiversity?
  • How do valuation and emotion allow exemplary groups to overcome seemingly insurmountable differences between people?

Spezio has published numerous articles and received researched grants from the Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project, University of Oklahoma funded by the Templeton Religions Trust; the John Templeton Foundation: the U.S. National Science Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); the Fetzer Institute; the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH/NIMH); Air Force Research Laboratories; and the Center for Theology & Natural Sciences.


CASIRAS is a supporting organization for the Zygon Center for Religion and Science in partnership with LSTC. It also supports Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science in partnership with the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science and the International Society for Science and Religion. Learn more at casiras.org.


David Glover

Administrative Assistant, CASIRAS


Jan Boden
Public Relations Manager

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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