How I Became A Scientist

(The following is a post I wrote for Bio Yelp on how I became a scientist. Hopefully you find something in here informative or interesting!) My brain is a physical object, and my mind emerges from physical processes. This basic realization struck me when I was 15, during a lesson about the nervous system. How … Continue reading How I Became A Scientist

We Are All Brains In Vats

The following post is from my new article for Knowing Neurons, an online publication about neuroscience and the mind.   The Matrix made all of us ask the same disturbing questions: How do I know that the world I see, hear, and touch is real? Can I prove that I’m not actually in a pod created by machines … Continue reading We Are All Brains In Vats

There Is No Ghost In The Brain

As long as the nature of consciousness will remain a mystery, we will be in the grip of anxiety. And that is because we are, all of us, haunted by that uniquely human question: what awaits us after death? Although the vast majority of Americans believe in some sort of afterlife, such beliefs are starkly at odds … Continue reading There Is No Ghost In The Brain

Consciousness Is A Scientific Problem

Below is the text of my newest article for the Berkeley Science Review: The brain does many things. It makes decisions, it remembers facts, it moves our muscles, it can do math, and it can communicate with other brains. Each of these abilities are active subjects of neuroscience research. But the brain does something else, which … Continue reading Consciousness Is A Scientific Problem

Love In A World Of Atoms

The threads that weave the cloth of our mentality are soulless. Our experience of the most beautiful sunset, our most fervent desires, our loftiest thoughts, and our most expansive feelings of love are storms of neural activity, nothing more. Science – and neuroscience in particular – has stripped our mental lives of a soul. But … Continue reading Love In A World Of Atoms

You’re Not As Rational As You Think: Political Philosophy and the Neuroscience of Irrationality

Cognitive scientists have known for decades that humans are inherently irrational when it comes to making economic decisions. This may seem obvious to a good poker player, who will likely utilize mathematical probability to make economic decisions during a poker game, but to most people the fact that they have systematic economic biases might come as … Continue reading You’re Not As Rational As You Think: Political Philosophy and the Neuroscience of Irrationality

A Conversation with Mark Baxter about the Gilman et al (2014) Paper

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of discussing the Gilman et al (2014) paper, which I wrote about in my last post, with Mark Baxter, Ph.D. Mark is a neuroscientist interested in brain mechanisms of learning and memory. Mark and I had a brief back-and-forth on Twitter recently about the Gilman et al (2014) paper, which … Continue reading A Conversation with Mark Baxter about the Gilman et al (2014) Paper