This is Your Brain on Neuroscience
Better Decision Making through Neurochemistry
OK, this is the stuff that makes me wish I had a science brain instead of a literature brain. Can you guys over at Decision Science News and the Neuroeconomics Blog please explain the firing of orbitofrontal cortex neurons or the dopaminergic system irregularities that account for science/math disabilities among literature majors and law school students while I compare and contrast semiotic decision science in Moby Dick with the new neuroeconomic historicism in Bleak House? You have twenty minutes. You may turn your papers over . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NOW!!
But seriously folks. The math/science/economics majors who stumbled their way into law school for reasons known only to their psychoanalysts (or here in California, their Kabbala teachers) shouldn't miss out on the new research being tracked daily by Steve Seletta, unsung summer research fellows like Nikki Sullivan, and Director Kevin McCabe along with their colleagues at the Center for the Study of NeuroeconomicsatGeorge Mason University.
It's heady stuff (no pun intended). Once in awhile I actually understand it and on fewer, but no less exciting occasions, I find it applicable to what we'll call negotiation "science" for 30 seconds so we can "teach the controversy" (could Darwinian natural selection theory explain the development of the rule against perpetuities or factual impossibility in criminal law? I don't think so!)
But don't stop there. Dan Goldstein at the London Business School, teaches and blogs about "Decision Science" in his capacity as Assistant Professor of Marketing. He's been mentioned by social, behavioral and cognitive science popularizer Malcolm Gladwell (Blink and The Tipping Point) so you know he must be easier to understand than the true scientists at George Mason U. And the photo on his web page is pretty cute.
But truly, I'm grateful to the cognitive, neuro- and decision science guys (and women) for giving me something to crack my head open over other than dark matter, black holes and string theory, all of which remain mysterious, but have the same strong pull on my randomly drifting attention as freeway accidents do for Southern California motorists. And you can never use particle physics to help explain your last business negotiation.
"What is the purpose of time," asked eminent physicist Stephen Hawking. "To keep everything from happening at once" he replied. This is what writers and scientists have in common. We all question first principles. It's not a perfect match but it's a start.