People / Faculty

Stephan Chorover

Stephan Chorover, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Building: 46-2049
Email: chorover@mit.edu

Human Systems: Neurobiological, Psychological, and Sociocultural Levels of Organization

My graduate training was in the field of neuropsychology, and my main research interests continue to focus on the problem of understanding relations between the organization and development of the central nervous system (and especially the brain), on the one hand, and the organization and development of mental activity and behavior, on the other.

However, after many years spent studying neurobiological processes underlying psychological plasticity and stability (e.g., learning and memory) in laboratory animals, I came to recognize how powerfully these processes are conditioned and constrained by contextual factors. At about the same time, a concern with sociocultural influences on human mental and behavioral activity was kindled when I was drawn into the "psychosurgery debate" and the "sociobiology controversy" (see third entry below). In the process of rediscovering the obvious fact that human cognition (e.g., "thinking"), affect (e.g., "feeling") and behavior (e.g., "doing") do not arise in a neuropsychological vacuum, I began to perceive the need for a suitably scientific way to study the recurrent interplay between and among human systems at the three levels of organization mentioned above.

Accordingly, part of my current work is aimed at developing a scientifically more sustainable conceptual framework for the study of relations between psychological phenomena and their neurobiological and sociocultural counterparts (see second entry below). I am also involved in the development of a computer-based approach to learning and teaching in the area of human/ecological relations (see first entry below).


Chorover S.L. 1995. Homework -- An Environmental Literacy Primer. Cambridge, MA: Collaborative Learning Systems.

Chorover S.L. 1988. Paradigms lost and regained: epistemological and methodological issues in the study of human systems. In New Directions for Research in Creative and Innovative Management, Y Ijiri and R Kuhn (Eds). Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 201-245.

Chorover S.L. 1979. From Genesis to Genocide: The Meaning of Human Nature and the Power of Behavior Control. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.