How does your brain create your thoughts? How much of your fears and joys originates in your genes? Does the DNA you’re born with govern who you are for your entire lifetime – or is it possible to change it? These are weighty questions with complicated answers, and if you’re more artistic than scientific the prospect of a discussion of neurophysiology might make your eyes glaze over. But David Weiner brings a witty, down-to-earth perspective to this exploration of what we know and what we don’t know about our brains. For example, he explains, “People don’t like to hear this, but the rat brain is almost the same as the human brain in terms of the neuronal structure. They take these rats out of a caged environment and they put them into a rich environment where they can play with games, and they’re challenged. It happens that they grow these lush connections. It’s the connections that mediate our intelligence, that mediate our being better at what we do.” In layman’s terms Mr. Weiner shares his wonder at things even his scientific mind can’t comprehend, and points to tantalizing new discoveries about our potential to change the way we think, feel, and act.
David L. Weiner has been a business consultant for four decades, and more recently found his calling as a popular psychology writer. He serves on the board of advisors for the Health Emotions Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin, was instrumental in founding the Scientific Society for the Study of Psychopathy, and is C.E.O. of Marketing Support, Inc. His books include Brain Tricks: Coping With Your Defective Brain (Prometheus Books 1995), Power Freaks: Dealing With Them in the Work Place or Anyplace (Prometheus Books 2002), and Reality Check: What Your Mind Knows But Isn’t Telling You (Prometheus Books 2005).
Topics Explored in this Dialogue:
- What mechanical process occur in your brain to cause you to become anxious
- How you can ease depression without drugs
- How your computer resembles your brain
- Why multi-tasking is impossible
- How your neurotransmitters influence your position in your social hierarchy
- How the media has influenced the prevalence of phobias
Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 10/18/2005 Program Number: 3117