Social Neuroscience

Its funny how life turns out. I’ve lived in Manchester now just over half my life. I fell in love with Manchester the first day that I visited it. I remember the buildings being grimy and sooty but people were really friendly and chatted to me on the bus. I was coming to visit because I had secured a University place at Manchester to study genetics and I was going to meet the tutor.

Actually about a week previously I’d had a revelation in a biology lesson where our teacher showed us a video about the brain – it was described as a ‘black box’ – because it was an organ that at that time people knew very little about – I remember looking at him and thinking – ‘why haven’t you told us this before!’. That was it for me – i put my interest in viruses and finding a cure for AIDs and cancer (this is why i wanted to study genetics) on a back burner and decided that I was going to see if I could switch the place i had secured on the Genetics course at Manchester to study Neuroscience. The genetics tutor was really kind and understanding, and i guess because of my passion for Neuroscience, he was not going to stand in the way or convince me to stick with genetics.

Two neuroscience degrees and nearly 15 years doing many things other than neuroscience, working instead as a medical writer, science communicator, screenwriter, filmmaker, management consultant in culture change and more,  i have been bitten by the neuroscience bug again. There are several areas that i want to understand more about in no particular order…

  1. The role of cerebral spinal fluid in shaping brain development
  2. Pain and social exclusion
  3. The brain and resilience
  4. Brain and gender
  5. Links and connections between the above
  6. Implications for policy making

I’ve come across an interdisciplinary research area called Social Neuroscience which includes the study of ‘the associations and influences between sociological and biological levels of organisation’. Handily this morning i have come across several resources to progress me on my quest for knowledge…

  • Social Neuroscience Hand book: A huge book just published summarising research findings and theories in this area.
  • Online video lectures from the last Social Neuroscience Society conference
  • Online Brain mapping resource

Like that first trip to Manchester and switching from Genetics to Neuroscience, I am not quite sure where this adventure will lead but i look forward to the journey and posting some stuff, maybe starting a new Social Neuroscience blog as i go along… in the meantime check out ‘pinky & ze brain‘.


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