Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Beginning

The brain is ageless and ever changing. That which resides in front of our ears once served only the purpose of allowing us to scent the environment around us. Now that same region of the cortex refines our perceptions, applies the brake pedal to the hoary limbic center of flight and flight, sorts decision making, appreciates Mozart and Bach, allows us to depart from tribal wisdom, for better or worse, and creates new and unseen visions of possible futures. Wasting no space or structure, evolution simply revamps the brain in order to meet the challenge of changing circumstances.

In this fairly anonymous space I will, to the best of my ability, discuss the results of thirty years of research encompassing in excess of 5000 patients with respect to the relationship between the structure of the brain (genetic) and the foundations of personality, perception, cognition and ability.

First, and foremost, all of us would like to believe that we are in control of our lives, that is, most of the time we believe that we are right and everyone else is misguided - this is perfectly normal. Without this belief, survival would not be possible! Research suggests that we control only about 30%, at best, of our destiny in life - the balance is genetic pre-loaded.

As I would inquire of my graduate students - 'If you were mother nature and wished only to ensure the survival of the species, how much control would you give each and every individual over their genetic destiny?' The responses varied, but hovered around 50%. This is insufficient as it approximates the toss of a coin probability. My research suggests that genetic loading accounts for 70-80% of who we are, however, bear in mind that allows each of us 20-30% latitude in every thought, feeling and action we experience - not bad - considering the unlikely prospect that of the infinite number of molecules in the universe, some precious few have come together to create the extraordinary miracle that is life, that is us.

More to come: Attraction, relationships, parenting, offspring, vocations, evolution...

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