Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently

{original squeezed contributor: davidw}

A recent revolution in neurobiology changed the way scientists thinks

about reward or pleasure, and thus on how we explain decisions and interpret motivation. Theauthor wonders if that doesn't tell us something about the brain of iconoclasts, people who attempt (an succeed) in high risk - but high impact - paradigm-shifting projects. He goes through several historical examples, in detail, to support his thesis that iconoclasts' brains differ in three ways.

Table of Contents

1 A different perception

 

1.1 Chapter 1 : through the eye of an iconoclast

Dale Chihuly became a prominent glass-artist making assymetric sculptures after losing an eye in a accident. While analysing chemicals by nuclear magnetic reasoning, Paul Lauterbur noticed blurs caused by non-uniformities in the magnetic fields he used. Instead of considering them as noise, he thought of creating images by purposefully introducing patterned non-uniformities in his magnetic fields, thus creating pictures, and inventing the MRI. Nolan Bushnell came to develop the historic video game Pongby realising how important simplicity was after seeing players dumbfounded in front of more complex games in a bar.

Our brains interpret visual signals by categorizing them quickly, linking the stimuli to an abstract representation of what it is juged to correspond to. For those iconoclasts, the categorization seems to have changed. A shift in visual perception therefore seems to be at the root of new ideas, and it would seem the key to breakthroughs is in forcing the brain to process signals in a new and original way.

1.2 Chapter 2 : From Perception to Imagination

The visual circuits of the brain are multipurpose, and imagination, the view of what could be, occurs in that same place. Disney started as a professionnal illustrator, but when he became interested in combining those drawings with movie technology, he started by building a studio in his father's garage. It is after seeing the results that his epiphany came.

The role of experience is primal in interpreting visual signals, and the brain can be trained to have certain responses when looking at some images. Among descriptions of scientific experiments, the reader is invited to look at drawings in which he might recognize shapes from the famous video game Pac Man, if he is familiar with it, or geometric abstractions, if he isn't.

2 An enhanced fear management


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