Can you trust your own brain? A neuroscientist explains | Heather Berlin

From Big Think.

Nothing is real and everything is an illusion. Neuroscientist Heather Berlin explains why that’s not exactly a bad thing.

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Neuroscientist Heather Berlin likens each person’s perception to a unique box shaped by their own experiences. Perception, Berlin explains, arises from a blend of internal expectations and external sensory input, creating a subjective experience.

Berlin believes our mental state can also profoundly affect our perception; a pessimistic mindset might skew it negatively, for example. The brain filters information, relying on preexisting schemas that can lead to cognitive biases. She notes that these biases can be altered through changing inputs over time, which can expand our empathy.

Understanding perception’s illusory nature empowers us to shape our experiences and find joy despite life’s challenges.

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We created this video in partnership with Unlikely Collaborators.


About Heather Berlin:
Dr. Heather Berlin is a neuroscientist, clinical psychologist, and associate clinical professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. She explores the neural basis of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric and neurological disorders with the aim of developing novel treatments. She is also interested in the brain basis of consciousness, dynamic unconscious processes, and creativity. Clinically, she specializes in lifespan (child, adolescent, and adult) treatment of anxiety, mood, and impulsive and compulsive disorders (e.g., OCD), blending her neural perspective with cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and humanistic approaches.