For a lot of years I've been interested in how brain activity gives rise to thinking, memory, learning and motivation.
As a teenager learning to play jazz piano and to improvise, I realized I was using thought processes that were different than my everyday ways of thinking. I read that the left and right hemispheres of the brain give rise to verbal
vs non-verbal, analytic vs holistic modes of thought. But how could any part of the brain, this hunk of biological tissue, give rise to any kind of thought?
In graduate school at UC, Santa Barbara (UCSB, or as some call it, UC Surfing Branch) I got interested in
the way that dopamine in the brain contributes to pleasure, reward, motivation.
After my first professor jobs at Columbia U. and Boston College, I became a professor and neuroscience researcher at wonderfully diverse City University of New York (the CCNY campus). It's a good gig. And I'm still working on questions about the brain underpinnings of motivation and learning.
When not thinking about the brain, I used to get a masochistic thrill from watching Trump on TV. I actually got hooked on feeling my blood boil. Of course, his election was a sucker punch that I know a lot of us feel. (The one person I know who voted for him is suffering buyer's remorse. "He really is as dumb as he sounds!" she said)
My wife's Spanish, and so I enjoy getting to know the ways and foods of Spain when we visit her family in beautiful Santiago de Compostela.
This isn't a 'latest-findings-in-neuroscience' blog. It's more a 'here's-something-funny-that-happened-to-me' or an 'i-can't-stop-thinking about-this-idea' blog. But psychology and the brain often make their ways into the content because so much of what I think about and talk to other people about each day relates, in some way or another, to the brain and mind.
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