Neurontic

Archives for February, 2006

Got Creb?

I live with a man who can easily dredge up the names of people who testified in the Watergate hearings, because he watched them on TV–when he was four. He can recite dialogue from movies he hasn’t seen since the early ’80s. And he can tell you with absolute certainty that Admiral Ackbar, the fish-faced…

The Introvert Advantage

Introversion is a loaded word. Just look it up in the dictionary and here’s what you’ll find: Introversion: The state or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life (Mirriam-Webster Online) Doesn’t sound so good, does it? Sounds downright narcissistic. And this is no accident. Sigmund Freud coined…

On Writer’s Block

I’ve never read anything that captures the torment of a bad day of writing as well as the following passage from the preface of Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem: . . . I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered…

Emotional Discrimination

Psychology is supposed to be the empathetic science. So, it surprised me to learn that many psychologists believe the entire range of human feeling can be distilled down to a list of ten. On the off chance this list grew too unwieldy, it was subdivided into two categories: primary emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise,…

“The greatest revolution of all”

Think neuroscience is boring? Think again, says V.S Ramachandran, director of San Diego State’s Center for Brain and Cognition. In the coming years, Ramachandran says, neuroscience promises to revolutionize the way “we view ourselves and our place in the cosmos.” (BBC Reith Lecture 1) If he sounds less like a neurologist than a new-age prophet,…

Microscopic mind control

What would you say if I told you that parasites are infesting the brains of half the human population? Or creepier still, that these little buggers have the power to control people’s behavior, making some irascible, others docile, and still others certifiably insane? You’d probably say I’d watched one too many X-Files reruns–and you’d be…