Now is a Great Time to be Studying Human Nature
I'm very optimistic that we can make breakthroughs precisely by trying to take steps in the direction of a more integrated, contextualized neuroscience of consciousness.
I think that this is a very exciting time to be studying human nature. Often people say it’s exciting because of the tremendous breakthroughs we’re making in understanding the brain and the new technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. But I disagree with that, that it’s the new breakthroughs in our study of the brain that are making this an interesting time.
But there is no question that the international community of neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, linguists and philosophers and others who are devoting themselves to these questions is more vibrant than it has been ever before. I want to underline that my own criticism of recent neuro-scientific approaches to consciousness is not a criticism of the scientific study of consciousness. It’s urging that the science gets better and that it shed certain straight jacketing individualistic, internalistic assumptions, assumptions that are really holding a general science of human nature back.
But I'm very optimistic that we can make breakthroughs precisely by trying to take steps in the direction of a more integrated, contextualized neuroscience of consciousness.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.
- A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
- It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
- The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.
- Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
- This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
- Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.
When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.