Women & Science

Winter Evening Program

The Biology of Risk-Taking

Please join us for this program exclusively for Rockefeller University benefactors and their guests

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 Place:  
1230 York Avenue at 66th Street
Program: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m   Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.   The Rockefeller University
      New York City

Working as a Wall Street trader during the dot-com euphoria of the late 1990s, John Coates noticed that outsized profits seemed to fuel overconfidence and irrational decision making in his highly intelligent and well-educated colleagues. During this period, he also found himself intrigued by the work of his friend Linda Wilbrecht, who was then a Ph.D. student in neurobiology at The Rockefeller University

Dr. CoatesWhen the dot-com bubble burst, Dr. Wilbrecht urged Dr. Coates to test his hypothesis. So he went back to his native England to study neuroscience and endocrinology, and then turned the trading floor into a laboratory. When he monitored hormone levels in traders at a London firm while tracking their profits and losses, Dr. Coates found a strong link between overconfident bets and high testosterone in younger males. He describes his findings in his first book, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust, which was published in the summer of 2012.

Dr. WilbrechtDr. Wilbrecht has also emerged as a leader in research on the neurobiology of behavior and judgment, focusing on the formative period of adolescence. Her work is shedding light on how adolescent experience can affect the development of the brain’s neural circuits, leading to long-term changes in behavior. Recently, she launched a major study on teenage girls and risk, aimed at providing insights into how the outlook and behavior of adolescent girls can be changed by helping them to imagine and envision their futures.

For this special program, Dr. Wilbrecht, now an assistant professor at the University of California at San Francisco, and Dr. Coates, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, will meet again on the Rockefeller campus to discuss the biological regulation of risk-taking behavior, addressing how experience can alter future behavior, and how age, developmental critical periods, and gender can affect decision making.

RSVP by March 1 to Emma Stevens at (212) 327-8675 or estevens@rockefeller.edu.

Honorary Chairman

David Rockefeller

Founding Chairmen

Lydia A. Forbes
Isabel P. Furlaud
Nancy M. Kissinger
Sydney R. Shuman

2017 W&S Chairmen

Judith Roth Berkowitz
Debra Black
Rebecca A. John
Denise Kellen
Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D.
Patricia P. Rosenwald
Lulu C. Wang

2017 W&S Committee

full committee listing

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