Neuroscience and History


There are numerous topics where knowledge of neuroscience can make a contribution to history. One important area is neuropathology, which may shed light on the actions of individuals in power. Do leaders show a tendency to have certain neurological traits? Are certain personality types more strongly selected by some cultures and social strata than others? Is our fascination with the trappings of power related to the absurdly non-adaptive peacock’s tail? Another instance where neuroscience illuminates history is provided by the brain’s demand for meaning: we often perceive “intentionality” in the world, even the inorganic world, where none exists.