Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nagging Thoughts

Recently, the Research Digest Blog asked a group of respected psychologists and neurological researchers to describe one thing about themselves that - despite all their knowledge and training - they still don't understand. Some answers (they had to be 150 words or less) are fascinating, some just egoistical. But they are all interesting in their own way.

Here's what Stephen Rose had to say: "A lifetime studying the neurobiology of learning and memory, and I still wonder about St Augustine’s questions 1600 years ago: "How does my brain/mind encompass vast regions of space and time, abstract thoughts and numbers, false propositions" - or for that matter the memory of my fourth birthday party or what I had for breakfast yesterday. Meantime, I am embarrassed by the naivete of my fellow neuroscientists who mechanically collapse mind into brain, or claim to be able to localise within that mass of tissue: equity, empathy, romantic love... "You’re nothing but a bunch of neurons" claimed Francis Crick, locating consciousness in the anterior cingulate gyrus. Lombroso redux indeed! As the mind is wider than the brain, to misquote Emily Dickinson, what other sciences/knowledges do we need to bring to bear to understand ourselves?"

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