Antonio Damasio

Founder and Director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute

International Authority on neurology

English · Portuguese

Antonio Damasio’s research has served to lay the foundations of a neurological theory of emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in decision-making and in social knowledge, focusing especially on diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. His work has had a great influence on the understanding of the neurological system, on which factors as important for the human being as memory and language depend.

Doctor of Medicine from the University of Lisbon, Damasio has created a laboratory for the investigation of perception at the University of Iowa, using both the method of injury and the functional image.

After a stay at the Aphasia Research Center in Boston, he returned to the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Lisbon and is currently a professor at the University of Southern California and director of the Institute for Neurological Study of Emotion, Decision-Making and Creativity. He was also a distinguished professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa, where he held the M.W.Allen chair, and a professor at the Salk Institute of La Jolla in California.

In addition to multiple research articles published in scientific journals, Damasio has written many acclaimed books such as “The Sensation of What Happens”, considered one of the ten best books of 2001 by The New York Times Book Review; “The error of Descartes” or “In search of Spinoza: neurology of emotion and feelings”, “And the brain created man”, among others.

One of the greatest experts in the relationships between human emotions, human reason and the biology that sustains both.

The search to understand conscience.

The brain: creativity, imagination and innovation.

Human Decisions.

Brain and Emotions.

Brain, culture and humanity.

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain

Since Descartes famously proclaimed, "I think, therefore I am," science has often overlooked emotions as the source of a person’s true being. Even modern neuroscience has tended, until recently, to concentrate on the cognitive aspects of brain function, disregarding emotions. This attitude began to change with the publication of Descartes’ Error in 1995. Antonio Damasio—"one of the world’s leading neurologists" (The New York Times)—challenged traditional ideas about the connection between emotions and rationality. In this wondrously engaging book, Damasio takes the reader on a journey of scientific discovery through a series of case studies, demonstrating what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking and to normal social behavior.

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

A leading neuroscientist explores with authority, with imagination, and with unparalleled mastery how the brain constructs the mind and how the brain makes that mind conscious.

Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years researching and and revealing how the brain works. Here, in his most ambitious and stunning work yet, he rejects the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, and presents compelling new scientific evidence that posits an evolutionary perspective. His view entails a radical change in the way the history of the conscious mind is viewed and told, suggesting that the brain’s development of a human self is a challenge to nature’s indifference. This development helps to open the way for the appearance of culture, perhaps one of our most defining characteristics as thinking and self-aware beings.

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe—these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self—rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

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