Damasio, Jaynes and Sarno

In past writings I’ve mentioned my excitement when I first read Antonio Damasio’s neuroscience tome “Decarte’s Error.” In that book Damasio laid out his observations that emotions are really physical sensations, particularly sensations of our internal body: guts, lungs, circulation etc. If you take away the physical sensation of an emotion you take away that […]

Decartes’ Error and Donald Trump

I continue my mental exploration of the idea that Donald Trump is a master persuader who is using brilliant tactics to convince a needed segment of the population to grant him the Republican nomination (and eventually the presidency.) I’ve mentioned that Scott Adams has been talking a lot about this idea but so have many […]

More on Trump the persuader

I still find myself fascinated by Scott Adam’s arguments that Donald Trump, in his attempt to become President, is employing persuasion techniques used by master salespeople and politicians. To quote Adams… As far as I can tell, Trump’s “crazy talk” is always in the correct direction for a skilled persuader. When Trump sets an “anchor” […]

The mind of conspiracy theorists

I’ve started reading a book I’ve been meaning to read for some time: Julian Jaynes “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.” (There’s a title that would not make it in today’s popular science writing market!) I’ve seen the book mentioned in various places for years, mainly for its stunning assertion […]

Brain chemicals and loyalty cards

When I read Antonio Damasio’s neuroscience book “Decartes’ Error” several years ago I was struck with a certain revelation. Damasio made the point that the subtle fluctuations of our emotional life are tied to physiological processes. A sting a fear is correlated to the activation of the amygdala and corresponding hormone releases. Similar processes drive […]

The anatomy of violence

I’ve just started reading a book called “The Anatomy of Violence.” It might have been better called “The Neuro-anatomy of Violence”; it’s basically about the differences in brain structure between violent criminals and lovable imps like the rest of us. It refers a lot to the work of Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist I’ve mentioned often. […]

Getting emotional in writing

I’ve been doing some guest blogging over at a friend’s blog dedicated to writing fiction. My latest post there discusses how the neuroscience of emotion relates to writing immersive fiction. In 1994, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio published Descartes’ Error —- Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. The book was a conversational rumination on neuroscience; at its […]

Freedom from the frontal lobe

I’m continuing with Antonio Damasio’s “Descartes’ Error” and have arrived at one of the meatier sections. To recap, Damasio’s basic claim in the book is that emotions — by which he really means sensations felt in the skin, viscera etc. — are critical to rational decision-making. So you don’t just think through a problem using […]

Where do thoughts come from?

I’m rereading the book that really set me off on the journey of understanding neuroscience: Antonio Damasio’s “Descartes’ Error.” The book has a section that kind of introduces the basic functionality of the brain and reading it today led me to an interesting rumination. We understand the brain as a series of interconnected wires (neurons.) […]