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Review/Commentary of “In the theater of consciousness: The workspace of the mind.”

Introduction

Bernard Baars’ book “In the theater of consciousness: The workspace of the mind” was an overall excellent and stimulating read. Baars takes the reader on a scientific journey through consciousness starting with methods of studying consciousness, moving to exploring consciousness in great detail from many different perspectives devised from empirical data, and ending with the uses of consciousness. At few points throughout the book, it is difficult to remain focused such as when Baars continually analyzes many of William James’ writing. However, Baars methods of studying consciousness emphasize the involvement of subjective experience. He provides many different exercises which can be performed by the reader that validate his ideas, making the book highly interactive, and the didactic manner, fun. Learning about Baars' ideas through these interactive tasks was similar to sitting in on a Neurobiology class when Paul teaches vision and asks us to “close one eye”. There was substantial overlap in material between the book and the class and furthermore the book extended on ideas we went over in class as well as contributed new relevant material. This book added tremendous value to the Neurobiology and Behavior class experience.

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Alcohol, Adolescence, and the Brain

        Blurred vision, impaired motor coordination and memory, and slurred speech are characteristics that clearly demonstrate that alcohol affects the brain. Adolescence is a time when people begin to use alcohol much more frequently. A survey of 70,000 people by the Center for Science in Public Interest has shown that 41.7% of people ages 12-17 have used alcohol in their lifetimes, and that the prevalence of binge drinking (five or more drinks in the same occasion) gradually increases from 3% at age 13, to 38% at age 20 (CSPI, 2000). Extreme intensities of alcohol consumption among adolescents is especially perturbing because a great deal of structural and function brain development occurs during this period. (Spears, 2002). Furthermore, evidence is increasingly suggesting that alcohol affects brain function and behavior of adolescents differently from adults, and that adolescents are extremely vulnerable to the long-term deleterious effects alcohol has on brain function and behavior.     

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Exploration of Meditation: Bridging Eastern Techniques with Western Technology

Aditya Vora                                                                                                                                     Neurobiology and Behavior 2007

Paper 2                                                                                                                                                                       April 10, 2007 

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Born Gay?

                                                         Born Gay? 

            In recent years, homosexuality has become more openly prevalent and accepted. From my own personal experiences I have come to realize that homosexuals are not just people a person reads about in the newspaper, but they are bosses, professors, friends, and family members. I have grown to respect them as individuals and not to see their homosexuality as the main characteristic of their identity but just another piece of who they are. However, given the increased number of homosexuals in my everyday life, I cannot help but wonder what makes these respected, successful individuals different from everyone else? How did they come to be attracted to the same sex? Were they born this way? 

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