Antonio Damasio's research in neuroscience has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. His work has had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language, consciousness.

Why you should listen

Antonio Damasio is a leader in understanding the biological origin of consciousness. He also argues that emotions, far from being barriers to it, are a crucial component of decision-making. He is founder and director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, which draws on partners across academic disciplines to use the explosion of new neuroscience results to tackle issues from mental health to societal and global change.

Damasio is the author of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, which was adapted into a musical composition performed by Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History.

What others say

“A mind is so closely shaped by the body and destined to serve it that only one mind could possibly arise in it. No body, never mind.” — Antonio Damasio in "The Feeling of What Happens"

Antonio Damasio’s TED talk

Quotes from Antonio Damasio

How can you have this reference point, this stability, that is required to maintain the continuity of selves day after day?
Antonio Damasio
TED2011 • 1M views Dec 2011
Informative, Fascinating
Scott Fitzgerald said famously that ‘he who invented consciousness would have a lot to be blamed for.’ But he also forgot that without consciousness, he would have no access to true happiness or even the possibility of transcendence.
Antonio Damasio
TED2011 • 1M views Dec 2011
Informative, Fascinating