The Neuroscience of Fair Play

Key Note September 11, 2009

As head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behavior at Rockefeller University, Dr. Pfaff uses neuroanatomical, neurochemical and neurophysiological methods to study the cellular mechanisms by which the brain controls behavior. His research has focused on steroid hormone effects on nerve cells as they direct natural, instinctive behaviors, as well as the influences of hormones and genes on generalized brain arousal.

Professor Pfaff received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965. He joined Rockefeller University in 1966 as a postdoc and was named assistant professor in 1969. He was granted tenure in 1973 and promoted to full professor in 1978. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Pfaff is the author of several books on the brain and behavior. His latest book, The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule , explains the research that led him to conclude that ethics is a hardwired function of the human brain.


  • Donald W. Pfaff


  • Friday, September 11, 2009