Prof. Gil Diesendruck was appointed head of the Interdisciplinary Studies Unit at Bar-Ilan University in October 2019. A member of the academic faculty of Bar-Ilan’s Department of Psychology since 1998, he has been directing the Language and Cognitive Development Lab at BIU’s Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center since 2004. He became a full professor in 2014.
Prof. Diesendruck conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona and holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics at the Hebrew University. His area of expertise is the development of social cognition, and his research deals with questions such as the origins of racism, the development of morality, and the acquisition of cultural norms. He has published more than 70 articles in leading journals in the field, has won numerous research grants, and has served and is serving as co-editor of major journals in developmental psychology.
As head of the Interdisciplinary Studies Unit, Prof. Diesendruck oversees the academic management of the unit’s six programs: Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies; Gender Studies; Science, Technology and Society; Conflict Management and Negotiation; Brain Sciences (undergraduate); and Brain Research (Graduate Degrees). Apart from Brain Sciences, all the other programs are for graduate students only. Twenty-eight full-time faculty members teach in these programs, which are attended by some 800 students. Prof Diesendruck works to advance the status of the unit and to promote the interdisciplinary concept in academic training at Bar-Ilan University.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Unit is unique in Israeli academia. It exists as a completely autonomous unit, and not as an inter-departmental or inter-faculty program. All the unit’s programs train students to engage in study from multiple perspectives and levels of analysis, which requires openness to different forms of thinking and interpretation. In so doing, the unit adopts a contemporary approach, that to study any phenomenon, it is necessary to examine it from multiple angles.