Eric Kandel, the Nobel prize winning father of neuralscience has a new book: "In Search of Memory"
The book traces Professor Kandel's pioneering research from the unknowable "black box" of the mind to our current understanding molecular biology and information processing into the mind.
Thanks in part to the revolution in imaging technology brought on by new fMRI and other scanning technology, neuralscientists have made incredible maps of the brain.
These maps help us understand the world from the point of view of our brain.
5 PRINCIPLES OF NEURALSCIENCE ( from Eric Kandel)
1.MIND = BRAIN
2.MENTAL FUNCTION , from simple reflex to complex creative acts of music and art, carried out by discreet neural circuits.
3.ALL BRAIN CIRCUITS ARE MADE OF NERVE CELLS
4.NERVE CELLS USE NEUROTRANSMITTERS TO COMMUNICATE
5.NEUROTRANSMISSION IS GENETICALLY CONTROLLED
Discreet areas in the brain lead to war, morals, cooperation and conflict.
Also, morals are the side effect of natural selection. But morals are in conflict with greed which is also genetic.
But from the perspective of our brain, both greed and morality can be strengthened or weakened. By the use it or lose it principles.
From a neuroscience perspective art is the kind of information that art can strengthen our neural networks for ethics, empathy and tolerance. Ultimately we must all learn how to learn and teach ourselves empathy and trust-- but art can help-- it might even be a teaching tool.
This is the case because art can activate mirror neurons, art is inherently rewarding and pro-social-- in a way it helps build trust.
Mirror Neurons are premotor neurons which fire both when an we act and when we observe the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of another person, as though the observer were itself acting.
So, if I cut my finger -- I would feel pain. And if you saw me cut my finger-- you would feel pain. This is the beginning of empathy.
A very interesting Canadian artist Ariel Garten has a lot of incredible art in the overlap between neural science and art. She is a scientist and intellectual who makes cutting edge art and performances in perfromance, dance, music (violin, percussion, and cuttinge-edge instruments such as organflute, hydraulophone, plasmaphone, electronic, quintephone, and other). She explores the intersection of art and neuroscience.
Sunday, December 30
at 5:42 PM