Joe is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the Center for Neural Science, New York University. His overarching scientific goal is to develop a biological rather than a psychological understanding of our emotions. He is interested in how the brain learns and stores information about danger. Using classical fear conditioning as way of inducing emotional memories in rats, his group has mapped the neural pathways by which sensory stimuli enter and flow through the brain in the process of fear learning. This work implicated specific circuits in within the amygdale (a clump of nerve cells deep inside the cerebral hemispheres) as essential for the formation of memories of the fear conditioning experience. It is now clear that the same brain system underlies fear learning in and humans. The detailed mechanisms of fear, which can only be uncovered through animal studies, are thus applicable to understanding fear processing in the human brain. He explores the differences between emotional memories (implicit--unconscious--memories) processed in pathways that take information into the amygdala, and memories of emotion (explicit--conscious--memories) processed at the level of the hippocampus (another clump of nerve cells) and the neocortex (outermost surface of the brain that appears corrugated). He has written the most comprehensive examination to date of how systems in the brain work in response to emotions, particularly fear. He is the author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are.
Can Religion Be Explained Without God?
Most people believe that God exists and religion is God’™s revelation. But some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural; that religion, without God, can flourish because personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.
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