The Frontal Cortex

Archives for May, 2009

The Secret of Self-Control

I’ve got a new article in the New Yorker this week on the pioneering work of Walter Mischel and the science of delayed gratification: In the late nineteen-sixties, Carolyn Weisz, a four-year-old with long brown hair, was invited into a “game room” at the Bing Nursery School, on the campus of Stanford University. The room…

Watching Movies

In his review of State of Play, David Denby laments the rise of incoherence as a filmmaking technique: “State of Play,” which was directed by Kevin Macdonald, is both overstuffed and inconclusive. As is the fashion now, the filmmakers develop the narrative in tiny fragments. Something is hinted at–a relationship, a motive, an event in…

Empathy

John Stewart had some fun the other night mocking conservative politicians and talking heads for criticizing Obama’s desire for an “empathetic” Supreme Court justice, who will make legal decisions, in part, by “identifying with people’s hopes and struggles.” The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c Justice Is Bland thedailyshow.com Daily…

The Blooming Self/Yo Yo Ma

The NY Times has a kind review of the Bruce Adolphe/Yo Yo Ma/Antonio Damasio performance that I was lucky enough to hear in person. (I also got to ask the collaborators a few questions afterwards, as moderator.) Most composers would shy away from depicting the evolution of consciousness. Well, maybe not Mahler, who grappled with…

Mental Exhaustion

Evan Lerner has a quite interesting article on seedmagazine.com about physical performance and exhaustion. That painful lactic acid throb? It’s mostly in your head: The finish line is in sight, but you’re not going to make it. Your lungs are burning and deeply in oxygen debt. The muscle fibers in your legs have converted most…