The Fragility of Our Reality: A Conversation with the Brain Behind PBS Miniseries on Neuroscience

When you get down to it, neuroscience is just brains studying brains. One upshot of this reflexivity is a funny kind of loop: studying the brain tells you about being a self; being a self offers up questions about the brain. More, perhaps, than participants in any other scientific field, neuroscientists can oscillate between the hard data of the physical world and the loftier questions of self and soul. That kind of back-and-forth has been central to the career of David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine. As an academic researcher, Eagleman has studied time perception, synesthesia, sensory input, and decision-making. But that more traditional work has included some less-than-traditional research techniques—Eagleman has dropped research subjects from a 150-foot-tall tower to study their time perception under duress—and some…


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