The Mind vs. Brain Debate (What is Consciousness?)

This article was originally written by Christina Sarich and published at The Cuyamungue Institute

The mind vs. brain debate has been going on since before Aristotle. He and Plato argued that the soul housed intelligence or wisdom and that it could not be placed within the physical body. In a well-described version of dualism, Descartes identifies mind with the consciousness and self-awareness of itself, with an ability to distinguish itself from the brain, but still called the brain the seat of intelligence.

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Why You Shouldn't Want To Always Be Happy

Frank T. McAndrew, Knox College

In the 1990s, a psychologist named Martin Seligman led the positive psychology movement, which placed the study of human happiness squarely at the center of psychology research and theory. It continued a trend that began in the 1960s with humanistic and existential psychology, which emphasized the importance of reaching one’s innate potential and creating meaning in one’s life, respectively.

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Exposed To A Deluge Of Digital Photos, We're Feeling The Psychological Effects Of Image Overload

Rebecca Macmillan, University of Texas at Austin

Twenty-four percent of U.S. teens say they’re online “almost constantly.” Now much of that time, it seems, is spent incessantly compiling and navigating vast collections and streams of images.

In a 2014 survey, the photo sharing app Instagram supplanted Twitter as the social media platform considered “most important” by U.S. teens.

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Why You Shouldn't Blame Lying On The Brain

Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

The recent finding that telling lies induces changes in the brain has stimulated a number of misrepresentations that may wreak more harm on our understanding than the lies on which they report. CNN’s headline runs, “Lying May Be Your Brain’s Fault, Honestly,” and PBS reports, “Telling a Lie Makes Way for the Brain to Keep Lying.”
These stories are based on a study from University College London using a brain imaging technique called functional MRI. The authors report that as subjects tell lies, activation of the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotion and decision making, actually decreases, suggesting that subjects may become desensitized to lying, thereby paving the way for further dishonesty.

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Why You Must ‘Kill’ the Buddha

The phrase, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” is often used in Zen teachings, but it is a misunderstood adage. At first glance, this koan, a puzzle meant to radically shift one’s consciousness, seems crude, and non-spiritual, even. Why would someone seeking enlightenment ever ‘kill’ anything, especially when the Buddha himself preached the precept, “do no harm.” The meaning of the phrase is meant to be jarring, even paradoxical. When Buddhist master Lin Chi said this to his Zen students, that was his entire point.

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A Sixth Sense? How We Can Tell That Eyes Are Watching Us

Harriet Dempsey-Jones, University of Oxford

We’ve all had that feeling that somebody is watching us – even if we’re not looking directly at their eyes. Sometimes we even experience a feeling of being watched by someone completely outside our field of vision. But how can we explain this phenomenon without resorting to pseudoscientific explanations like extrasensory perception (or a “sixth sense”)?

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