Neuroscience is uniquely suited to investigate the biological underpinnings of the features and traits that make us human. These include morality, complex emotions and higher-order cognition. However, as we continually learn more about our behaviour and its origins, one unavoidable and startling possibility is frequently made clear; many quintessentially ‘human’ characteristics may not be unique to ourselves.
Category Archives: Public Education
(or, “Where your iPod really came from”)
There’s this odd thought I get on a semi-regular basis; let’s say a few times per month. Here’s the gist: I’m walking down a busy street, such as Montreal’s Ste. Catherine Street, on a busy afternoon. I abruptly become aware that there are roughly a hundred thousand or so visible objects in my immediate surroundings; gold watches, sweater zippers, cell phones, noserings, Toyotas, handbags, bricks, iPods, and the like. That’s not the weird part, though. Immediately following this otherwise mundane bit of cognition is always the idea that all of these objects, and in fact every human-made object or bit of technology, would not exist but for a small lump of tissue at approximately the level of the passing bike courier’s bridge piercing.
The now-infamous hit by Zdeno Chara on Max Pacioretty resulted in a serious concussion, as well as a fractured C4 vertebra. Amid the controversy regarding the hit and whether further disciplinary action should be brought against Chara, the incident brings the seriousness of concussion injuries back into the public eye.
I recently saw the Douglas’ new ad campaign, ‘Brains need love too’ (check out the video here). The video is extremely open-ended, with the actual message of the campaign open to the interpretation of the viewer, at least until they visit the campaign’s web site. Here are the interpretations I took away from it.
A recent editorial by Dr. Royce Murray, editor of the journal Analytical Chemistry, has garnered significant attention in its attacks on informal dissemination of scientific information to the general public. Given the topics I’ve written about previously, I thought it merited a response here.
This week is Brain Awareness Week, which includes a series of events undertaken by personnel at the Douglas and elsewhere to educate the public about the brain, and in honor of the occasion I thought I’d try to bring some brain awareness to these articles by dispelling some of the more common or insidious myths about the brain.
When I first mentioned writing for the Douglas Blogs, a few friends of mine asked me why, so I thought I’d explain in my first post. I’ve always believed the popularization of science for the benefit of the general public is one of the highest obligations of anyone who works in a scientific field. Although making complex concepts digestible by the public isn’t always easy, it’s absolutely essential to fully realizing the benefits of these discoveries. Here are seven reasons why I believe that educating the public about scientific research is important, with a particular focus on the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry (as in the scope of this blog)