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Social sciences/Psychology/Cognitive psychology/Cognition/Consciousness

Sy Montgomery introduces her award-winning book, Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World.

Welcome to the DoSER Director’s Corner! Here Jennifer Wiseman will share her reflections on public dialogue at the interface of science, ethics, and religion and how DoSER is working to support constructive exchange and understanding between these communities. This is also an opportunity to explore positive and productive ideas; we welcome your thoughts.

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The phrase “nature versus nurture” still heavily influences perceptions of human behavior, at least in the minds of the public. But gene researchers and neurobiologists also grapple with the concept, speakers said at a recent AAAS event, when they explore how biology and environment shape human personality.

A football player is slammed hard, laid out cold, and carted off the field; a soldier in Afghanistan is blown off his feet by an explosion; a driver and passengers are pulled from the mangled frame of an automobile—these are the images that come to mind when most people think of traumatic brain injury.

A specific region of the brain appears to be larger in individuals who are good at turning their thoughts inward and reflecting upon their decisions, according to new research published in the journal Science. This act of introspection—or “thinking about your thinking”—is a key aspect of human consciousness, though scientists have noted plenty of variation in peoples’ introspective abilities.

The new study is published in the 17 September issue of the journal Science. Science is published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.