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WAFCA-CE Ethics, Boundaries, and Our Brains: The Neurobiology of Moral Reasoning
Tuesday, April 07, 2020, 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM CST
Category: WAFCA CE Training

NOTE:This training will now be held via Webinar - 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with a 30 minute lunch (4 Continuing Education Hours will be provided to those attending the full online training)

Ethics, Boundaries, and Our Brains: The Neurobiology of Moral Reasoning


1) Click on the "Register Now" button below to complete the registration form in WAFCA's data base. This will allow us to maintain your Continuing Education record and issue CEs. For non-CE subscribers, this will also be where you will make your payment.

(Note: If you work for an agency with a CE subscription, a fee should not show up for you when registering. If it does, please do not complete registration. Instead, email Emily Coddington for assistance. Thank you!)

2) Copy and paste the URL below into your browser. This will take you directly to the Zoom website where you will identify yourself as a webinar attendee. Once on the page, be sure to scroll down to the section where you are asked to enter your name and email address. The name and email address you enter should match the name and email utilized to register with WAFCA. https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vf9EOeZpRn-NW9ShyhQHBg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Studying ethical behavior in the research setting leads to some surprising insights, notably, we humans are remarkably similar in the way we construct our moral codes and remarkably inconsistent in how we apply them. Research in economics, social science, and biology tells us that our ethical behavior is complex, and our deepest motivations are not easily understood. Human history, though, provides ample evidence that by learning more about what we believe and why can give us more control over our moral behavior, allowing us to become better, more ethical people.

New discoveries in genetics have suddenly presented us with a startling question: how much should we know about creating human beings, and how far should we go in changing them? The future of genetic manipulation is already here.

This presentation will be about the biological origins of “ethical” behavior. The purpose of the day is to help each participant understand the roots of why we believe some acts are moral and some are not and how our brains complicate efforts to solve moral dilemmas. We will also look at how 21st Century human beings are on the threshold of changing everything, including themselves.


At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe with how scientists study morality
  2. Explain the unconscious, yet persuasive nature of making moral choices
  3. List the 5 components of the moral mind
  4. Analyze how individuals disengage from their ethical standards
  5. Explain the ways in which the new genetics can challenge what it means to be human


Dr. David Mays, M.D., Ph.D., is a licensed physician in the state of Wisconsin. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is a clinical adjunct assistant professor in the University of Wisc. Dept. of Psychiatry.

He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, member of the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association, and a member of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Over his career, Dr. Mays has practiced psychiatry in a variety of settings, including an HMO, an assertive community treatment program, private clinical and forensic practice, and as the clinical director of the forensic program at the Mendota Mental Health Institute. 

Dr. Mays has received numerous awards for his teaching and clinical work, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Alliance on Mental Illness in Dane County, the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Exceptional Performance Award from the Wisconsin Health and Family Services, the Outstanding Professional Award from the Wisconsin Association on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, and the Outstanding Mental Health Professional Award from the Wisconsin National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is a highly sought after presenter on numerous topics in mental health, including psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, personality disorders, suicide and aggression risk management, mainstream and alternative treatments in psychiatry, and the biology of ethics.


Contact: Rachel Kruse: [email protected], 608.257.5939