Angel Desai's picture

Brain and Culture: The Crossroads Between Humanity and Biology

Throughout the course of the semester, the Bio 202 class has attempted to formulate an understanding between mechanisms of the brain and subsequent human behavior. One of the core areas of discussion has been the integrated action of neurons and its consequences on human accomplishment. Of particular interest is the way in which sensory stimulation from the external world can interrelate with groups of neurons and actually mediate change in an individual’s behavior. The book “Brain and Culture,” by Bruce E. Wexler takes the fundamental issues discussed in Bio 202 and applies them to larger ideological and socio-cultural

Rica Dela Cruz's picture

The Geography of Thought- Book Commentary

Whenever someone tries to compare or analyze the underlyingbases for the culture and customs of different races or groups of people, theperson making the comparison or analysis almost always runs the risk of beingcriticized for what appears to be “generalizations” as to why certain groupsbehave, act and think the way they do. It is, therefore, very important for aresearcher doing a study on human behavior, such as a people’s way of thinking,to define at the outset the scope of the study being made and the methodologyto be used.

Emily Alspector's picture

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Aside from the beautiful and charismatic style which makes the procession through The Diving Bell and the Butterfly absolutely enthralling, complete appreciation of this book requires an acknowledgement of the implausible efforts of its creator. It is rare that a book can be inspiring based not only on the content of the writing but also on the process of its creation. Jean-Dominique Bauby does not explicitly give details about his condition, nor about how he went about writing this book. This seems to be the main theme of the book: it is not why, but how. He does not want the reader to know much about his accident or the painstaking method of communication he has been forced to resort to, but

Mawrtyr2008's picture

The Moral Instinct: an Exploration of Univeral Morality in Humans and Non-Human Species

The study of morality has historically been relegated to disciplines such as philosophy, history, and literature. However, emerging trends in research suggest that the field of neurobiology would be a valuable addition to this list. Neurobiology research may offer needed insights into the biological underpinnings of social cognition, and particularly of morality. Precisely because the study is firmly grounded in a wide spread philosophical tradition, discussions about the neurobiology of morality shed light on many other aspects of the interconnectedness between cultural knowledge and scientific knowledge.

tlogan's picture

Problems with Pain


Though pain is traditionally thought of as the bodily awareness to harmful or noxious stimuli, the subject of pain has far more depth than one might initially believe. The issues surrounding pain, pain philosophy, and pain management are far-reaching and are replete with ethical and moral conundrums.

Emily Alspector's picture

Phantom Limbs and Theories of Self

While accounts of both phantom limb awareness and pain have been reported for over 500 years (1), only in recent decades have patients reporting such sensations of missing limbs not been classified as pathological. In fact, recent studies report 60-80% incidence rate of PLP, whereas in the middle of the 20th century, reported PLP cases were as low as 4% (3). Rather, modernized technologies and advancements in the field of neuroscience have revealed evidence indicating that the mechanisms involved in such sensations are actually responsive and adaptive (2), perhaps accounting for the increased rate

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