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Neuroscience looks at courage


In the March edition of Scientific American, Gary Stix will explain

The Neuroscience of True GritWhen tragedy strikes, most of us ultimately rebound surprisingly well. Where does such resilience come from?

Scientific American New Issue Alert here.

Prediction: Reading this will tell us a laudable amount of neuroscience and a little about true grit. The latter is difficult to quantify because it is, if you like, a psychological wave function. What caused the Romanian rebellion against Ceaucescu to spread from street to street, after decades of the iron rod? What caused the Montgomery bus boycott, after decades of passive acceptance of segregation? What causes an abuse victim to finally have “had enough” and start fighting back?

Multiple causes, to be sure, and they can be grouped into many valid types, but there is no one, attributable cause. “I’ve/we’ve had enough of this” is in fact a focal point of many forces.

The neuroscience is sure to be absorbing and fun, but we will also be hearing from dim bulbs who think they have found a Final Cause. And can the True Grit gene be far behind? Or an “evolutionary psychology” explanation for true grit? I hear the book agents in the distance already …

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.


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