Deric Bownds


The following essays or lectures have been composed since the publication of The Biology of Mind book in 1999 and my retirement from the University of Wisconsin (and being Zoology Dept. Chair) in 2001. "The I Illusion" and "The Beast Within" have been two of the most popular ones.

  • New Perspectives on how our Minds Work, Lecture text for Oct. 2022 talk to Univ. of Texas OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) UT-Forum group.
  • A New Vision of how our Minds Work, a PDF of a talk given in Nov. 2021 to a senior discussion group.
  • Urgent Care for our Brains, a PDF of a talk given in May 2020 to a senior discussion group at the start of the COVID pandemic.
  • Upstairs/Downstairs in our brain - Who (or what) is running our show?, Lecture notes for Jan 2019 talk to Univ. of Texas OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) NOVA group.
  • How much can we change our aging?, Lecture to senior group, Jan. 2018
  • “Upstairs/Downstairs in our Brain – What’s running our show? - This talk describes structure-activity-behavior correlations in the upstairs/downstairs and attentional/default mode systems that are a spontaneous part of our normal behavioral repertoire, and the cognitive therapy or mediation systems whose training, development, and expression can alter them. (Lecture for the Sept. 9, 2014, session of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chaos Seminar Series.)
  • Making our Brains Younger, A 15 min. talk for seniors, Feb. 2014.
  • Are you holding your breath? - Structures of arousal and calm. - This talk discusses some of the brain structures that regulate whether we are chilled out or losing it, and describes bottom-up and top-down regulators - under some voluntary control - that can alter the this balance. (Lecture given to Univ. Wisc. Chaos Seminar Series, May 8, 2012.) Note: This talk uses the Prezi presentation software, which can take awhile to start up. Please be patient.
  • Making Minds - Evolving and Constructing the "I". - This talk reviews brain evolution and development, modeling the subjective "I", and theories of embodied cognition.(Univ. Wisc. Evolution Seminar Series, April 28, 2011.)
  • -Who wants to know? - The Nature of our Subjective "I", a lecture given at a Cognitive Neuroscience meeting in Istanbul in May, 2010. I was asked to give this talk on the nature of our subjective "I" together with a 30 minute piano performance. The last portion of the talk discusses evolution of the musical brain.
  • - Mirroring Minds - Processes of our social brain that link us to other humans, the possible neuronal basis of "intersubjectivity". (Lectures notes for a talk given to the chaos and complexity seminar group in the in the Physics Dept. Univ. Wisc. Madison, on Oct. 21, 2006.
  • "The I Illusion" (Web; Podcast), 2002, Background lecture on the experiments that make it clear that our sense of having an "I" is an illusion, but it is not a trivial one. The lecture contains a number of simple demonstrations of how our minds work.
  • The Beast Within (Web; Podcast), 2003, We appear to be able to know the animal within us in a way that is closed to other animals lacking an “I”.
  • MindStuff: A guide for the curious user (Web, Podcast), 2005, A brief essay on how things fit together.
  • Mindstuff: BonBons - 2002, Short paragraphs on various topics.
  • Thinking about Thinking - Biology of Mind course Lecture
  • Evolving Mind - Biology of Mind course Lecture
  • Origins and Structures of the Human Mind - Biology of Mind Public Lecture
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