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Michael Graziano
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Michael Graziano is a neuroscientist and novelist. He is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. His contributions on the functioning of the brain regularly appear in scientific journals such as Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He has published books on the brain including the popular book God, Soul, Mind, Brain and Consciousness and the Social Brain. His novels include The Divine Farce and The Love Song of Monkey. More information can be obtained on his web site:

Entries by Michael Graziano

Consciousness and the Unashamed Rationalist

(80) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:38 PM

About a week ago I published a piece in the online magazine Aeon, and the intensity of the reaction took me by surprise though it probably shouldn't have. I had summarized a new theory about how the brain produces consciousness. Given the strong opinions on all sides, I thought I...

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The Spirit Ends When The Brain Dies

(1004) Comments | Posted October 5, 2011 | 10:13 AM

In my last post I commented about the link between the brain and the mind. That post received so much interest and so many comments from all perspectives that I thought it would be useful to explore the topic more systematically. Nobody should be mistaken about the cultural...

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Does The Eternal Soul Exist?

(751) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 6:38 PM

Neuroscientists understand, at least in general, how the biological machinery of the brain can compute information. But how does a brain become aware of information? What is sentience itself? When a specific part of the brain is damaged, does the patient lose only a specific category of knowledge, such as...

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Is Spirituality a Byproduct of Evolution?

(1211) Comments | Posted August 5, 2011 | 8:16 AM

Homo sapiens evolved to be socially intelligent. Over millions of years, perhaps more, the primate brain evolved special machinery to allow us to think socially, to build abstract concepts of each other's minds and to react emotionally to each other in a way that more or less maintains the social...

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Casey Anthony, the Jury's Decision, and the Neuroscience of Morality

(187) Comments | Posted July 11, 2011 | 11:42 AM

The Casey Anthony trial was all about moral judgment -- the moral judgment of Casey Anthony, and in the end, the final judgment of the jury. How do people make moral judgments? How do they choose A over B? Especially given the shocking nature of the jurors' decision, how can...

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Why is Music a Religious Experience?

(134) Comments | Posted June 15, 2011 | 10:55 AM

As a neuroscientist, I have often wondered -- what is the source of my relationship to music? A great deal is known about how sounds are processed in the brain, and at least a little is known about how the syntax of music is perceived. But what about reverence for...

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The Spirit Constructed in the Brain

(55) Comments | Posted April 29, 2011 | 12:43 PM

For 20 years at Princeton University I studied how the brain processes sensory information and controls movement, but lately I've become interested in a more esoteric question, the big question of neuroscience: the brain basis of consciousness. There is now a conceptually simple theory that in principle can account for...

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The Darwinian Evolution of Religion

(79) Comments | Posted April 11, 2011 | 9:15 AM

Whether you inhabit religion from the inside, or view it from a cultural distance, surely it is clear in either case that religion is something that changes through time, that the parts of religion that work well tend to spread, and that the parts that work poorly tend to die...

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