How our brains build our biographies

Big Think shares some interesting and useful thoughts from behavioral neurobiologist Antonio Damasio on how our brains build stories — particularly the stories of our own lives. He suggests that the on-going linear narrative, where our brains connect sequences of events, can be altered and even overwritten by particularly significant experiences. Says he:

There are things in our lives that take up an enormous importance and that become very dominant effects in our biography. And that comes out of a variety of reasons, but fundamentally comes out of how that particular experience connects with your effective systems of response. So if something produces an undue amount of pleasure or undue amount of displeasure, it’s going to be judged differently and it’s going to be introduced in your narrative with a different size, with a different development.

For many of us working in the arts, there are one or many such significant experiences related to artistic expression or experience — experiences that redefine our autobiography and rewire our brain to tell our story differently. And it’s rather inspiring to think that the stories we share on our stages, in our galleries, in our communities, might be changing the life stories of the people who experience them.