The Study of Mind and Its Emergence from Brain

James L. Olds
Director, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study

2266th Meeting Abstract
Friday, March 5, 2010 at 8:15 PM

James L. Olds


There is a strong consensus from several intersecting fields of science that the phenomenon we call “mind” is an emergent of the brain with its approximately 100 billion neurons. Only in the last two decades have we been able to use non-invasive brain imaging to directly study the conscious human brain. Those terrabytes of new data, in combination of experimental results from model systems have made possible a new synthesis about the question of “mind”, one that moves from Cartesian dualism to a new unified theory in which the brain, as a complex adaptive system emerges “mind” through its physiology. This new synthesis seeks to create a general integrative theory of neuroscience.

About the Author:

James L. Olds is the Director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University. Concurrently he is Chair of the Department of Molecular Neuroscience and the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience. He received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College in Chemistry and Ph.D. in neurosciences from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He completed his postdoctoral training at NIH. He moved to George Mason University in 1998. His research is focused on the mechanisms for learning and memory in mammalian brains. He is the tenth editor-in-chief of The Biological Bulletin, one of the oldest peer-reviewed scientific journals, which is published in Woods Hole.

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