When your brain “lights up”, what is the story you tell about that fact?

I am a major fan of the work of Robert A. Burton. I would like you to read his last 2 books because they represent a gift that I want you to open. He is an exemplar of a “genre” I am immediately attracted to, viz., the insider, critical of the professional activity in which he is so well-trained and proficient.

Here is a Google talk that, I hope will serve as a teaser.  What I most value is his representation of science—–instances of incredibly useful brilliance in a sea of excessive claims or stories flowing from the minds of those who interpret the brilliance based on their needs, experiences, personalities, culture and class.

Interested in what is called “free will,” “conscious thought,” “brain activity,”, “feeling vs. knowing,” , but most importantly, “how little we know when a particular brain activity is correlated with a particular stimulus”?

Major irony: his personality is a major reason that his work is not the subject of USA TODAY gee-whiz/ “studies show” graphics. As he points out, suppose you are neurological scientist wanting to make a name for yourself in a multitude of neurological scientists publishing papers, think of how tempting it is to exaggerate the causal oomph of your research data. Burton is full of questions and not a lot of answers.

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