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The self and the brain

How does your brain become who you are? The self is shaped by genetic, psychological and cultural factors. But it is synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain, where our selves are stored. Synapses integrate us in space and time

By Joseph Ledoux   August 2002

Who are you? The answer, of course, lies in your brain. But how your brain becomes and continues to be who you are, is still poorly understood. Neuroscientists have been quite successful in figuring out how pieces of the brain puzzle work (perception, movement, learning, emotion) but have not made much progress in putting the pieces together to build the kind of global picture of brain function that would be necessary to understand how one’s personal identity, one’s self, is represented in neural tissue.

The self has been of more interest to philosophers and psychologists than brain researchers. From Descartes…

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