Episode 59: Your Mind is an Amazing Place with Dr. Mark SolmsNov 29, 2021
In this episode, Sharon is joined by neuropsychologist, Dr. Mark Solms, to discuss some seriously brain-tingling facts. Dr. Solms has been studying human consciousness for decades, and in his newest book “The Hidden Spring,” he explains that human consciousness is defined by feelings, not intelligence. Sharon and Dr. Solms discuss why we may (or may not) hear a little voice in our heads as well as the importance of dreams and what they tell us about human consciousness. Ever wonder what is going on in your head? Join Sharon and Mark as they explore the fascinating world of the human mind.
Links to Full Episode:
This Episode Will Teach You:
- The difference between the brain and the mind
- Why we talk to ourselves (or do not talk to ourselves) in our minds
- Cognitive styles
- What makes the human minds conscious
- Why consciousness is subjective
- Why consciousness is based in feelings
- Communicating with people in comas
- Dr. Solms’ study of dreams
3 Biggest Takeaways:
- Sharon and Mark begin by discussing the difference between the brain and the mind, and Mark reveals that human consciousness is viewed as a subjective topic because it is based on human experience. Mark also discusses that human consciousness is dominated by language, which explains the voice we hear in our heads. He says that if you cannot hear a voice in your head, it is simply because you have a different cognitive style, or thought process, than someone who can.
- Mark then details the basis of his newest book, “The Hidden Spring.” In the book, he uncovers that human consciousness is not defined by cognitive activity or intelligence, but instead is defined by feelings. Instead of consciousness being based in the cortex of the brain as some scientists suggest, Mark says consciousness is actually based in the lower stem of the brain, the primitive part of the brain that also houses our feelings. As well, Sharon questions Mark about people who are in a coma or have suffered from brain damage, and he explains that there are a variety of unresponsive states in which people remain conscious, such as locked-in syndrome.
- Lastly, Mark and Sharon explore Mark’s study of dreams. For much of Mark’s scientific career, he studied REM sleep cycles and dreams. Mark discovered that while dreams typically happen during REM sleep, the brain mechanisms for dream and REM sleep are located in different parts of the brain. Brain mechanisms for dreaming happen in the lower stem, where emotions and feelings are located. This is how Mark concluded that human consciousness is defined by feelings.
About the Guest:
Mark Solms is a professor of neuropsychology at the University of Capetown in South Africa where he is the director of neuropsychology and a lecturette in neurosurgery at the Royal London Hospital.
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