Antonio Damasio, noted researcher and professor of neuroscience at USC, talks with The New York Times' David Brooks about emotions and the science of being human. He describes the difference between emotions and feelings, and explains why emotions are one of humanity's most important survival mechanisms.
David Brooks became a New York Times Op-Ed columnist in September 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer." He is the author of "Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There" and “On Paradise Drive : How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense,” both published by Simon & Schuster. His most recent book is “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement,” published by Random House in March 2011.
Antonio Damasio is a University Professor and David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California (where he also heads the Brain and Creativity Institute), an Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute, and the author of several books describing his scientific thinking. "As a leading neuroscientist, Damasio has dared to speculate on neurobiological data, and has offered a theory about the relationship between human emotions, human rationality, and the underlying biology." Prior to joining USC in 2005, Damasio was M.W. Van Allen Professor and Head of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Antonio Damasio, noted researcher and professor of neuroscience at USC, explains how emotions are integral to decision-making. He discusses his experiences working with people with brain damage who are unable to decide things as simple as where to go to dinner.
Antonio Damasio explains that even though many people use the words "feeling" and "emotion" interchangeably, there is a key difference between the two. "Emotion," he explains, is "a set of actions" programmed into us from birth, while "feelings" are how our conscious mind interprets these responses.
I find it odd that you would have such a low opinion of both David Brook and Gene Roddenberry who both seem to me to be quite intelligent, even when compared with the likes of Antonio Damasio.
I find Antonio's thinking to be absolute genious however not revelutionary or unique. I suppose in western thinking it might be fairly unique but when compared with the thinking of many asian and south asian cultures, he is really just reinventing the wheel. His basic idea as far as I can tell is what Buddhists refer to as duality, in this case the duality of logic and emotion. He is realizing on his own the balance of the universe, which is quite remarkable. Not an easy concept to come up with.
Great to hear Professor. Damasio in person. His ideas about the precise involvement of emotional activity in the way we make decisions was revolutionary when it came out in 1995 and it remains so in 2010. Great work.
My frustration with David Brooks as an interview can be summed up by this comment during the portion on STUDYING EMOTION: "We have modern philosophers: a guy named Gene Roddenberry who created a guy named Dr. Spock..." I can't really blame him though. If I had the chance to interview Antonio Damasio (whom I count as one of the most important thinkers of our time) I'm pretty sure I would stutter and stare too. For a more coherent Brooks, who actually has some great ideas integrating neuroscience and sociology I would recommend his lecture (on FORA).