March 22, 2019

Ask the Brain: How does the brain focus?“, McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, founded in 2000, to understand “…how the brain gives rise to the mind.” Robert Desimone, PhD Director, formerly Director of Intramural Research at the National Institute of Mental Health   Research focuses on:

  • Brain imaging  brain mapping, functional connectivity, fMRI, MMG, EMG, predictive imaging, precise interventions, contrast agents, theories of mind, the developing brain, learning
  • Cellular and molecular neuroscience  synapses, vesicles, electrophysiology, protein complexes, signaling, small molecules, disease-linked genes, dendrites, cell death, brain disorders, neurodevelopment
  • Cognitive neuroscience   perception, memory, language, social cognition, attention, empathy, brain disorders, aging, cognitive flexibility, developing brain
  • Computational neuroscience    machine learning, modeling, artificial intelligence, neural networks, memory, visual intelligence, audition, natural language processing, learning theory
  • Genome engineering    CRISPR, SHERLOCK, REPAIR, RNA editing, DNA editing, brain disorders, diagnostics, disease models, therapeutics
  • Neurotechnology    optogenetics, expansion microscopy, robotic technologies, protein engineering, nanoparticles, probes, apps, sensors, nanomagnetics, drug delivery
  • Systems neuroscience    neural circuits, attention, brain disorders, executive function, sensory processing, behaviour, timing, plasticity, learning, memory, emotion, habits


  • Disorder areas:  from Addiction to Schizophrenia
  • MINT awards – up to $100,000 to develop technologies to aid in neuroscience research

What neuroscience research tells us about how people learn and think – or at least how we’re interpreting this from fMRIs and other brain science

Neuroscience of Contemplative Practices – Contemplation by Design Summit 2018 – Stanford University, Jan 18, 2019 –
“Contemplative Neuroscience: existing evidence and remaining questions, by Manish Saggar PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University (see also Brain Dynamics Lab at Stanford)

Brain-based learning and how the brain works (from TED Talks & blog)

Aug 30, 2016 – David Biello – wrong: The problem with fMRI  (from
see also article from Open Culture

Sept 2014 – Jeff Iliff – One More Reason to Get a Good Night’s Sleep – TEDMED2014

Tom Wujec at TED 2009 – 3 ways the brain creates meaning

  • “How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?
  • Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. Suggest we create visuals to clarify ideas, interact w/images to make meaning, augment memory with persistent and evolving views
  • He begins by reflecting on “Big Viz” 2008 TED where David Sibbet (The Grove) and Kevin Richards from Autodesk tried to create visuals to capture key ideas from each session (a success?) 650 sketches
 Articles, blog posts, and other items of interest about emotion, mind, and brain.
BOOK   The Predictive Mind  Jakob Hohwy    Oxford University Press, 2014
This book and the one below provide a nice description of how the mind predicts and constructs experiences of the world rather than reacts to the world. Interested viewers who are looking for a more technical treatment can find a list of scientific references here.
BOOK  Surfing Uncertainty  Andy Clark  Oxford University Press, 2015
ARTICLE  “Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite”   Lisa Feldman Barrett  Nautilus, 2017    New ideas on emotional intelligence are introduced in this article, published in the science magazine Nautilus.
ARTICLE   “The Secret History of Emotions”   Lisa Feldman Barrett   The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2017
This essay describes how I began the long scientific journey, starting 25 years ago, that eventually brought me to the TED stage.
BOOK  Naming the Mind: How Psychology Found Its Language  Kurt Danziger  SAGE Publications Ltd, 1997
This book and the ones below provide some of the historical and philosophical background for new theory of emotion I discuss on the TED stage.
BOOK  The Construction of Social Reality  John Searle  Free Press, 1997
BOOK  The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, Environment  Richard Lewontin  Harvard University Press, 2012
 From Open Culture web site:
Aug 1, 2014 – by Playing an Instrument Is a Great Workout For Your Brain: New Animation Explains Why  Open Culture (Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.)

Check list of references from How to Learn about Learning MOOC – see zoho docs

selected references from Australian edX MOOC – Mar, 2017 – Deeper Learning

subscribed to their video channel in Youtube “LearnX”

Brain Plasticity –   (transcript downloaded to LEARN file on desktop)

November 2017

Read / blog?  – see Learning Spaces note – Ideas4Writing in Evernote