Heather Berlin: Learning from Disorders of the Self

By Tommy Chung

Millions of people are affected by psychiatric illness, yet despite its prevalence, many people are uninformed and misinformed about these illnesses and their impact. Dr. Heather Berlin, a cognitive neuroscientist and a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, believes the more we know about psychiatric illness, the more empathetic we’ll be towards one another.

“By understanding how disordered minds construct a sense of self, we can gain insight into the selves that each of us create through our choices and interactions with the world,” she said.

When people have psychiatric illnesses, they try to find who they are but the illness hinders their progress. Dr. Berlin has been exploring the neural basis of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric illnesses to find treatments for these disorders. She will give a talk at TEDxNavesink about Learning from Disorders of the Self on May 20 at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.

Dr. Berlin is a science communicator who has been on several television shows, given public lectures and is currently doing on an off-Broadway show with her husband, Baba Brinkman, that talks about the neuroscience of creativity. She has also co-hosted the PBS show Science Goes to the Movies.

Here’s a talk Dr. Berlin gave on cognitive science of the unconscious mind. Make sure you get your tickets for TEDxNavesink to hear Dr. Berlin and others share ideas with spreading.