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Think Out Loud

David Eagleman Delves Into The Subconscious Brain

Pete Springer/OPB

Neuroscientist David Eagleman wants to figure out all the things we don’t know about our own brains. His research focuses on the subconscious, which dictates almost everything the conscious brain takes credit for. He points out our misunderstanding of our own mental agency in a passage from his book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain:

You gleefully say “I just thought of something!”, when in fact your brain performed an enormous amount of work before your moment of genius struck. When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, your neural circuitry has been working on it for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations. But you take credit without further wonderment at the vast, hidden machinery behind the scenes.

Eagleman’s work looks at the consequences of our misunderstanding how the brain actually works. He’s looked into how our changing understanding of the brain will affect courts, mental health research, and our perception of time.

Have you read David Eagleman’s work? What discoveries in the field of neuroscience have changed the way you think of the brain and human nature?

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