David Linden: “Perception, Emotion and the Creation of Narrative in the Brain” – October 27, 2009

In this colloquium, neurobiologist David Linden will present the following argument: “The feeling that we have about our senses, that they are trustworthy and independent reporters, while overwhelming and pervasive, is simply not true. Our senses are not built to give us an “accurate” picture of the external world at all. Rather, through millions of years of evolutionary tinkering, they have been designed to detect and even exaggerate certain features and aspects of the sensory world and to ignore others. Our brains then blend this whole sensory stew together with emotion to create a seamless ongoing story of experience that makes sense.  Our senses are cherrypicking and processing certain aspects of the external world for us to consider. Furthermore, we cannot experience the world in a purely sensory fashion because, in many cases, by the time we are aware of sensory information, it’s already been deeply intertwined with emotions and plans for action.

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