Monday, December 08, 2008

What a brave man

Gregory Berns, director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University is cleverly and courageously doing his job (i.e. taking on research projects) in the face of an uncertain (no - bad) economy. We stupid rats in boxes get nervous when our savings disappear, and don't have the capacity to add the current buzzprefix "neuro" to our job titles. If I got paid to annoy people stuck in MRI scanners, I'd be daring, too.

I DON'T care what your business is, but if you think it will eventually come back to what it was — your brain is in the grips of the fear-based endowment effect. What I am doing is looking for new opportunities. This means applying neuroscience discovery to realms where it hasn't been used before.

I have teamed up with anthropologists to apply brain imaging to understand the biological roots of political conflict. I am starting another project to use brain imaging to predict which teenagers are likely to make fatally bad judgments and, hopefully, train them to make better decisions.

This strategy keeps the exploratory system of my brain active. And right now there are incredible opportunities to do something differently. Yes, they're risky, and some will fail. But while others wait for the storm to pass, I'm busy expanding into new areas. If I wait for money to start flowing again, the opportunities will have passed.

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