In recent years, we have increasingly heard about the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to find areas of the brain that may be associated with our thoughts and actions, such as when we are being deceptive, if we trust someone or are in love, or our religiosity. While this research has been very exciting, concerns were raised in July of this year that there may be a fundamental flaw in how at least some of these studies were analyzed. Please join us to learn about the implications and meaning of these new concerns, and to address some of the ethical implications for scientists and the general public.
Dr. Eyler received a BS degree from Duke University and her clinical psychology PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. After a clinical psychology internship, she completed an NIMH-funded post-doctoral fellowship in Geriatric Mental Health at UCSD. She is now an Associate Professor at UCSD, a Clinical Research Psychologist in the VA Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, and is Associate Director of the MIRECC Neuroimaging Unit.
In addition, she serves as a faculty member in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and the Stein Institute for Research on Aging. Dr. Eyler’s research program focuses on understanding behavioral and brain differences among individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and older adults, using structural and functional brain imaging and blood-based biological markers, among other measures.
Her interest in scientific ethics began with the required course she took as a post-doctoral fellow and continued with participation in the Biomedical Ethics Seminar series, research studies regarding informed consent among individuals with severe mental illness, and presentations about ethical issues surrounding detection and communication of incidental findings in human research. She taught a section of the UCSD Scientific Ethics course for the first time in Spring 2015.