I am spending the day at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Imaging Neuroscience. The all day seminar will explore what implications the insights of neuroscience and the newly emerging discipline of neuro-economics will have for policy. (By the way, there was a discussion of neuro-economics on the Today Programme this morning.)
Running throughout the day will be discussion of a key spectrum for understanding what shapes human decision making; this can be expressed as the distinction between the sub-conscious adaptation and conscious choice or between ‘pull’ factors (that shape our behaviour though environmental context and sand social norms) and ‘push factors’ (attempts explicitly to persuade people to behave in particular ways).
There have been over several decades many attempts to push up the educational performance of black Americans, but Jonah Lehrer (coming soon to the RSA) reports this week that the pull factor of President Obama’s election seems to have had a remarkable effect. Read his fascinating post here.
If you’ve ever had experience of psychotherapy you’ll be used to being asked how you feel about something. You typically start by explaining your emotions, but soon you realise you’re not feeling anything at all. You’re just talking.