We are working on improving several sections of our website, especially our Resources section. It will look much better in a few days. Our first step has been to re-organize our Neuroscience Interview Series, and below you have how it looks today.
Brandon Keim writes a nice post on The Future Science of Altruism at Wired Science Blog, based on an interview with Jordan Grafman, chief of cognitive neuroscience at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Brandon provides good context saying that “Scientists, said Grafman, are understanding how our brains are shaped by culture and environment, and a mechanism of these changes may involve fluctuation in our genes themselves, which we’re only beginning to understand”. (more on this in our post Richard Dawkins and Alfred Nobel: beyond nature and nurture).
And gives us some very nice quotes from Dr. Grafman, including
- “One of the ways we differentiate ourselves from other species is that we have a sense of future. We don’t have to have immediate gratification.… But how far can we go into the future? How much of our brain is aimed at doing that? […]”
- “Other great apes have a frontal lobe, fairly well developed, but not nearly as well developed as our own. If you believe in Darwin and evolution, you argue that the area grew, and the neural architecture had to change in some way to accommodate the abilities associated with that behavior. There’s no doubt that didn’t occur overnight; probably a slow change, and it was one of the last areas of the brain to develop as well. It’s very recent evolutionary development that humans took full advantage of. What in the future? What in the brains can change?”
- “The issue becomes — do we teach this? Train people to do this? Children tend to be selfish, and have to be taught to share.”
The UC Berkeley magazine Greater Good tries to answer that question with a series of articles on Gratitude. I especially enjoyed A Lesson in Thanks, described as [Read more…] about Mental Training for Gratitude and Altruism