Show 377: The Brain: Revisited!

The Human Brain, as it is presented in the new exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History called “Brain: The Inside Story.”

Understanding that our brain is the source of all of our behavior, thoughts, and personality may seem obvious to people who are naturalistic in their world-view, however in mainstream culture, this outlook is not widely held.

Despite all evidence to the contrary it’s surprising how many people continue to believe that personality and behavior are manifestations of supernatural phenomena, such as an immortal soul, or some other immaterial, non-local, manifestation. The impact that such thinking has on everything, from the way we treat one another to the nature of our social institutions, is vast.

Because of this Equal Time for Freethought believes that the supernatural view of who we are needs to be challenged and, in recent memory, one of the best approaches to doing this that we’ve encountered is embodied in the incredible new exhibition.

Joining us live in our studio will be one the exhibits curators and neuroscience advisors – Dr. Maggie Zellner. Also joining us, for a second time, on the phone will be the exhibit’s primary curator, Dr. Rob DeSalle.

And this being our two hour fund drive special, we will also be offering complementary pairs of tickets to the exhibit to listeners who make a sufficient donation during our broadcast. So please be sure to join us for what will definitely be a memorable program. And please take the opportunity to contribute during the show to help thank WBAI management for expanding our program’s duration, and to get your complementary tickets to “The Brain: The Inside Story”. ”

After receiving a B.A. in Semiotics from Brown University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from New York University, Margaret R. Zellner entered analytic training at NPAP (the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, in New York City). She then became interested in how early experience affects the emotional infrastructure in the brain, and began to study neuroscience.

Maggie received her Ph.D. in neuropsychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2008, and did her postdoctoral work with Don Pfaff at The Rockefeller University, using a mouse model of depression. She is therefore one of the few people in the world who both sees patients in analytic therapy and does behavioral research with animals. She has been active with the International Society for Neuropsychoanalysis since its founding in 2000, and is now the Executive Director of the Neuropsychoanalysis Foundation in New York City.

Maggie is currently a member of the Adjunct Faculty at The Rockefeller University. Recently, Maggie was a curator on the exhibit Brain: The Inside Story, now showing at the American Museum of Natural History. She has developed a specialty in teaching neuroscience to psychotherapists, and has a reputation for being able to describe complex and foreign information about the brain in terms that therapists can understand and relate to. She now takes every opportunity to link complex intrapsychic processes to underlying brain mechanisms, so she gets to use terms like “object relations” and “orbitofrontal cortex” in the same sentence.

Rob DeSalle is a Curator of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History. He is affiliated with the AMNH Division of Invertebrate Zoology and works at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, where he leads a group of researchers working on molecular systematics, molecular evolution, population and conservation genetics, and evolutionary genomics of a wide array of life forms ranging from viruses, bacteria, corals, and plants, to all kinds of insects, reptiles, and mammals.

Rob is also Adjunct Professor at Columbia University (Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology), Distinguished Professor in Residence at New York University (Department of Biology), Adjunct Professor at City University of New York (Subprogram in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior), Resource Faculty at the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, and Professor at the AMNH Richard Gilder Graduate School.

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