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K-State Today

April 23, 2013

Agricultural economist presents William Murray Memorial Seminar at Iowa State

Submitted by John Crespi

John Crespi was invited to present the William Murray Memorial Seminar at Iowa State University on Friday, April 19. 

His seminar, "Do Food Labels Scare You? What Your Brain Shows," gave an overview of a neuroeconomic study funded by USDA examining human brain responses to controversial food technologies.

To date, the research is the largest functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, study on human response to food labels that signal the use of cloning, growth hormone and "free range" production technologies. With several experiments underway, the seminar was aimed primarily at economists who wish to know more about the use of state-of-the-art neuroimaging methods in economics, how fMRI works, what fMRI can reveal and what it cannot, the types of analyses undertaken and emerging results, as well as pitfalls to this type of research. Crespi discussed methods and initial results of several ongoing experiments.

William G. Murray, 1903-1991, was an agricultural economist, founder of Living History Farms, and an Iowa gubernatorial candidate. Murray received a bachelor's from Coe College in 1924, a Master of Arts from Harvard University in 1925 and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1932. He came to Iowa State University in 1927 with teaching and research interests in farm land valuation and finance. Murray served as head of the economics and sociology department at Iowa State from 1943 to 1955. From 1935-1936, he was chief economist with the Farm Credit Administration, and in 1948 he served as president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He played a prominent role in the creation and early history of Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, and in 1967, he helped organize the LHF Foundation. He served as research director of LHF from 1967-1974, and as its president from 1974-1981. Murray was also involved in Iowa politics, and was Iowa's Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1958 and 1966.

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