Neuroeconomics and the New Science of Behavior

Wouldn’t it be great if you could understand the stock market precisely; or, if you could know precisely how to sell things to differing kinds of individuals; or, if you could predict how the leaders of a large company where you are employed were likely to react to new market conditions?  We are moving in those directions. (MORE)

Mind and Brain Perspectives

In the most recent previous post I looked at IBM’s computer, Watson, and how this may represent the first steps in a coming medical revolution.  We can also look at Watson from a different perspective: what it takes to create a computer which “thinks” in ways which may compete with how humans think (at least when playing Jeopardy, maybe when making a medical diagnosis).  Notice that I didn’t say “think in ways which are similar to how humans think”.  Watson has proven an ability to compete with humans; however, how it processes information may be significantly different from how humans process information, particularly in regard to how it generates abstractions.

Standing back, when we look at Watson’s performance how do we classify its “thinking”?  Does it have a mind?  Does its ability to abstract the subtle quirks of Jeopardy questions imply “insight”?  Does its ability to see through allusion mean that it “gets it”?  What do you think?

So, as we enter this fascinating era of opportunity, challenge, and perhaps epiphany, do we think science and concrete programming are telling us about the nature of the mind?  Opinions will vary.

For a different opinion and a fascinating discussion here is another place to look: the YouTube presentation by B. Alan Wallace, PhD to Google’s wunderkind at a Google Tech Talk titled: “Toward the First Revolution In the Mind Sciences”.  While I don’t agree with all of doctor Wallace’s positions, and think some of his “unanswered” questions do have answers, I believe his discussion dissects an area of academic and philosophical interest: is the mind completely explainable by the brain?  If the topic interests you have a look at his talk here.

Resistance Driven by Old Habits

This is part of the resistance series.

As discussed in the post on Guiding Abstractions habits are basically well-learned solutions to recurrent behavioral situations.  They allow efficiency and free advanced thinking to consider new issues.  So, they are useful.  But, they get in the way of change.  Fortunately, they are not a major impediment to change.  For the most part it is simply necessary to give time for new habits to be formed…MORE

Guiding Abstractions: Your Brain’s Leader, Your “Self”

How we behave in our personal lives and in our business lives is dependent on who we “are”.  But, that is such a nebulous term.  How do we get at the science of “who we are”?  We’ll start here on the journey of examining how we develop our character and how we can change.

If you are interested in this topic then follow the link to… MORE

Relevant Neuroanatomy

For our journey into the world of brains and success it is useful to have some basic ideas about how the brain is organized and how it works.  I’ll present this material by using a story regarding how evolution put the anatomy together.  We cannot really understand our brains and our behaviors without giving at least a little consideration to this.  So, with sweeping strokes of broad generalizations let’s have a look at how your brain is put together. I’ve provided links to some resources that have nice pictures and further information.  The goal here is to give you a brief overview. In two quick paragraphs here are the basic parts.

If this is a topic that interests you then follow the link to…MORE