Help Me Name My Major
March 13, 2008 11:53 AM Subscribe
Name-my-major, Hivemind. So I go to an unusual school in that we don't have clear-cut majors, and we basically pick an area of "focus". I'm actually currently (unofficially) studying my own brain, because it's strangely hampered in certain capacities (like the process of reading music, despite being very musical and understanding cognitively exactly what's going on), or performing basic math (despite endless repetition). It's also weirdly bolstered in other regards: I have an unbelievable propensity for forming the visual "distortions" one might associate with hallucinogens.
posted by dmaterialized to science & nature (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I was also recently diagnosed as having an "inattentive" ADD (as opposed to hyperactivity) but I actually think I've got a different and less generalized issue-- certain cognitive activities simply shut my brain off completely, as if I'm asleep; I'll have very little memory of things that happen during this time (Ritalin does help, but it really doesn't feel like "the right thing"). Visual stimuli, on the other hand, is unbelievably compelling.
But, long story short, this stuff FASCINATES me. That's an understatement-- I really want to understand how this all works, and how it works in other people. I'm interested in the ways in which perception and consciousness interact (why I see things my way and you see things your way, and how they relate). Neuroscience fascinates me (especially the effects of drugs and the ways the brain responds to stimuli), but so do deeper levels of psychology (things like memory distortion, feedback loops, and psychosis).There just needs to be some kind of focal point-- this isn't purely neuroscience, because the psychological dimension is very significant. But what is it?
For an idea of where I'm headed: my favorite books recently are Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Musicophilia, Timothy Leary's "The Psychedelic Experience", and Rita Carson's awesome "Exploring Consciousness". What kind of connection can you make of that? What is this specific field called? Does it even exist? I just need a reference point, somewhere I can branch from. I'm going to be doing a final project in this area next term, but without knowing what kind of research I should be looking at, it's hard to know what to do.
I've been doing this on my own for a while (I tell people I'm studying "consciousness and human perception"), and amassed some kickass links and great books, but I just hope someone out there has a sense of how to focus it a bit more. Any ideas-- on terminology, on projects, on work that would explore this?