Heather Berlin, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She practices clinical neuropsychology at Weill Cornell Medicine in the Department of Neurological Surgery, and is a visiting scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She explores the neural basis of psychiatric and neurological disorders, consciousness, dynamic unconscious processes, and creativity. Passionate about science communication, she is a founding committee member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, host of “Startalk All-Stars” with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and has hosted series on PBS and the Discovery Channel.
More About Heather Berlin
Heather Berlin argues that we have access to all of our brain – not just 10%.
“Berlin emphasized that no evidence that consciousness can exist without the brain, and that these experiences are not anything more than an altered brain state.”
Heather Berlin discusses the neuroscience of awareness and neural activity associated with being conscious.
Heather Berlin argues that within the next 50 years, it may be possible for our brains to “control a cursor on a computer or type emails just by using their thoughts.”
Thoughts come from your brain, and what’s out there in reality doesn’t necessarily correlate with what you perceive. Neuroscience explains this because when we perceive something, or become conscious of something, it’s like a coalition of neurons firing together.
Can thoughts survive death? As a neuroscientist, Heather Berlin argues that there’s no evidence for this. But, she concedes, it is comforting to feel like the dead can hear us.
Being creative is a neural experience, where the brain is making lots of conscious connections.
Is there anything more to consciousness than just neural activity? Heather Berlin responds. Berlin also discusses her differences in opinion with Dr. Deepak Chopra on consciousness. He believes it just exists and is immaterial, and Berlin believes it’s a process in the brain.
"Understanding the neural basis of consciousness requires an account of the neural mechanisms that underlie both conscious and unconscious thought, and their dynamic interaction."