Science Writer Encounters…The Brain
Science writer Jennifer Ouellette set out to write a work of pop-non-fiction about the neuroscience of the self. Then, something extraordinary happened to her – she met a neuroscientist who quickly disabused her of the idea that any of us could quickly and easily grasp the crux of such a complex series of questions. At the end of the article, featured on Slate, she rightly concludes:
You can sequence my DNA, scan my brain, subject me to a battery of personality tests, but you won’t find my essence in any one of them alone. Stories provide that unifying interpretive layer. If you really want to know who I am, let me tell you a story.
The utter mystery that is the relationship between brain and behavior is something with which we, as neuropsychologists, are quite familiar. Our particular understanding of the roles of brain, behavior, environment, et al., drive us write reports that are unique in the field of healthcare; they tell a story that (hopefully) demonstrates a canny understanding of the interplay described in the Slate article. Still, we realize and revel in the fact that we work in a field that is deeply dynamic, with each day offering the potential of new understanding and professional satisfaction. Which is nice.