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The Role of Brain in Behavior

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In discussions of the roles of the brain, many people have came up with different theories on how the brain works. Authors by the name of Plato and David Eagle man discuss how our brain influences our actions and they way we think. Both authors presented idea ands and evidence that can be used to determine whaat is really happening in our brains. When it comes to the topic of the role of the brain, “The Brain on Trial”, by David Eagleman pointed out that humans do not have free will over what actions we do. According to Eagleman, “Charles Whitman took an elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin lugging with him a footlocker full of guns and ammunition. By the time the police shot him dead, Whitman had killed 13 people and wounded 32 more”. In other words, Eagleman believes that free will doesn’t exist and he continues to give a message that we can’t hold mentally ill people responsible for their actions if they dont have any control over it. Eagleman complicates the matter further when he writes, “Kenneth arose from the couch on which he had fallen asleep, but he did not awaken…climbed into his car and drove the 14 miles to his in-laws house. He broke in, stabbed his mother-in-law to death and assaulted his father-in-law, who survived.

On May 25, 1988, the jury concluded that his actions had been involuntary and declared him not guilty”. Incidents like this have proven that humans do not have free will over what they do and we cannot simply say that they are guilty of their own actions since it is mental disorder in which it caused improper thinking. Eagleman also introduce a new idea as to why our brain behaves it does during mental illness by saying that they are always “hidden drives” within us that once prompted, will reveal itself. In his essay, Eagleman mantains that “Alex’s sudden pedophilia illustrates that hidden drives and desires can lurk undetected behind the neural machinery of socialization. When the frontal lobes are compromised, people become disinhibited, and startling behaviors can emerge. With the loss of that brain tissue, patients lose the ability to control their hidden impulses. In making this comment, Eagleman urges us to look beyond what is wrong or right and think about how it must be for someone who has a mental illness that affects their brain which causes strange behavior.

However, the question now becomes: What do you tell the victims of these horrific cases? In the essay “ The Allegory Of The Cave”by Plato, it states “Picture further the light from a fire and the prisoners and above them a road along…. As exhibitors of puppet shows have partitions before the mean themselves”. Ultimately,Plato believes that when we are in a “cave” which in reality, all we can see is a puppet show because of how the light of the fire is dancing on the walls which can be a reason why we are stuck with a limited amount of knowledge since our minds is focusing on one thing and it is what we believe. This refernce is similiar to Eagleman’s idea of how we don’t know what is actually going on in the brain, therefore, we make assumptions based on what we think is wrong or right instead of getting to the root of the problem. We never seek knowledge to understand what went wrong in Kenneth’s brain to kill or Alex being a pedophile.

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