Neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett has a great line about why the myth of the triune brain—which states primal instincts are rooted in a lizard part of our brain—hangs around pop culture and won’t leave: “If bad behavior stems from our inner beasts, then we’re less responsible for some of our actions.”
Barrett’s article, “That Is Not How Your Brain Works,” upends prominent scientific myths about the brain. It does more than criticize and correct. It underscores that understanding the three-pound blob between our ears is a path out of confusion and into clarity. Her article is representative of all the articles in our new issue, “Mind.”
Mark Solms, who founded neuropsychoanalysis—neurobiology with a jolt of Freud—spells out his theory for Nautilus that consciousness in rooted in elemental feelings rather than immaterial cognition. In his new book, The Hidden Spring, and interview with us, Solms takes on other consciousness researchers to answer existential questions and “help you see yourself in a new light.”
This issue challenges conventional views and considers what “mind” will mean in the future. In “The Intelligent Life of Droids,” cognitive scientist and Star Wars fan Alan Jern writes, “When I watch R2-D2, BB-8, and IG-11, I see behavior that looks a lot more like my friends’ behavior than a drone’s behavior. Their behavior is intentional—a sign of sentience.” So who gets to define what a mind means? All month we present answers that invite your questions.
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