Heather Berlin

Ep.23: Theory of Mind and the Neural Basis of Consciousness with Heather Berlin


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A Theory of Mind and the Neural Basis of Consciousness with Heather Berlin

In this episode of Hidden Forces, host Demetri Kofinas speaks with Dr. Heather Berlin about the neural basis of consciousness. The two consider a theory of mind based on a materialist perspective on reality. Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions. If this is the case, then where do our thoughts and our feelings, come from? Who is in charge of our volitions and our desires? What is the neural basis of depression, anxiety, and psychosis? What is the substantive source of human creativity, inspiration, and genius? Is there really nothing more to the experience of consciousness – to life itself – than the observable firing of billions of neurons jumbled together in an atomic stew consisting almost entirely of empty space?

Dr. Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Berlin practices clinical neuropsychology at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is the host of the PBS series Science Goes to the Movies, and the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown. Heather Berlin co-wrote and stars in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway and Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, Off the Top, about the neuroscience of improvisation. She has made numerous media appearances including on the BBC, History Channel, Netflix, NatGeo, StarTalk, and TEDx. Heather Berlin received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and Master of Public Health from Harvard University.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Reading list for “A Theory of Mind and the Neural Basis of Consciousness with Heather Berlin”

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel J. Levitin
Your Brain Is a Time Machine, by Dean Buonomano
The Brain: The Story of You, by David Eagleman
The River of Consciousness, by Oliver Sacks
Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts, by Stanislas Dehaene
Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain Paperback, by Antonio Damasio
The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge
The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, by David Eagleman
Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon, by Henry Marsh