The Heart-Brain Connection: The Neuroscience of Social, Emotional Learning

Medicine (by using psych drugs) cannot do the things we actively choose to do to change our brain function, structure and therefore our behavior and cognitive capacities. We can change our brains and heal our body/minds and spirits. … [click on title to read the rest]

The quest to understand consciousness

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? … [click on title to read the rest]

Pain is not suffering

One of the things that helped me most in learning to cope with the dozens of acute and bizarre symptoms that the psychiatric drug withdrawal caused was to become curious about my experience, yes, to attend to the pain and pay attention to it rather than avoid it or disassociate from it. This has not... Continue Reading →

Beyond Biological Reductionism Raymond Tallis: Madness Radio

Can people's behavior really be explained by neuroscience and our evolutionary needs as hunter-gatherers -- or is this just a popular fad? Does understanding the brain really solve the mysteries of being human? Neurologist Dr. Raymond Tallis, philosopher, Academy of Medical Sciences Fellow, and author of Why the Mind is Not a Computer and Aping Mankind: Neuromania,... Continue Reading →

The self-illusion

by PAUL WOODWARD The best stories make sense. They follow a logical path where one thing leads to another and provide the most relevant details and signposts along the way so that you get a sense of continuity and cohesion. This is what writers refer to as the narrative arc – a beginning, middle and an end. If a sequence of events does not follow a narrative, then it is incoherent and fragmented so does not have meaning. Our brains think in stories. The same is true for the self and I use a distinction that William James drew between the self as “I” and “me.” Our consciousness of the self in the here and now is the “I” and most of the time, we experience this as being an integrated and coherent individual – a bit like the character in the story. The self which we tell others about, is autobiographical or the “me” which again is a coherent account of who we think we are based on past experiences, current events and aspirations for the future. ...

The trouble with brain scans

In the world of mental health and psychiatry the use of brain scans is often highly suspect the data from them is often been manipulated to support weak theories about mental illness. Still, neuroscience is exciting and the developments that are happening are certainly fascinating. It's a good idea to approach any reports that use brain scan data critically and carefully. This article in the Guardian brings up some good things to be aware of when considering any reports that use brain scans to support their claims.

The certainty epidemic: everyone knows they’re right!

ertainty and similar states of “knowing what we know” arise out of primary brain mechanisms that, like love or anger, function independently of rationality or reason. Feeling correct or certain isn’t a deliberate conclusion or conscious choice. It is a mental sensation that happens to us. The importance of being aware that certainty has involuntary neurological roots cannot be overstated. If science can shame us into questioning the nature of conviction, we might develop some degree of tolerance and an increased willingness to consider alternative ideas — from opposing religious or scientific views to contrary opinions at the dinner table.

The quest to understand consciousness

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

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