246. Dr. Michael Graziano Likens Near Death Experience Research to Astrology


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Interview with neuroscientist and author, Dr. Michael Graziano examines how mainstream science views near-death experience research.

m-graz-bookJoin Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Princeton neuroscientist Dr. Michel Graziano. During the interview Graziano likens near-death experience research to Astrology:

Alex Tsakiris: Name one who has published anything in the near-death experience literature, or the out-of-body experience literature – I have interviewed a bunch of them. None of them have any knowledge…

Dr. Michael Graziano: The problem is that literature.  I’m sure if you go to people or you go to astrologers you would get a unanimous account of how astrology is valid. I think maybe a little bit of this is going on here with respect to NDEs.

Alex Tsakiris: Michael, you’re saying Bruce Grayson at the University of Virginia who is studying astrology, Dr. Jan Holden at University of North Texas… even when I interviewed Dr. Stuart Hameroff at University of Arizona – he is well-versed in the near-death experience literature. It’s published in peer-reviewed journals. It’s not astrology. I Google your name for near-death experience and there is nothing. And now I mention it to you and you bring up this astrology thing. I mean, that’s insulting on your part to not know of this research.


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Alex Tsakiris: Today we

Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr. Michael Graziano to Skeptiko. Dr. Graziano is a neuroscientist at Princeton University with a long list of academic publications and many important scientific journals. He has also published popular books on the brain like God, Soul, Mind, Brain, and his latest, which we’ll talk about – Consciousness and the Social Brain. He is also somewhat of a renaissance man, having published several noteworthy novels and some rather amazing chamber music that you can check out on his website as well. Dr. Graziano, it’s a great pleasure to have you on Skeptiko. Thank you for joining me.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Alex Tsakiris: So Dr. Graziano, you have a new book that came out last year titled Consciousness and the Social Brain. Quite provocative, a new theory on consciousness. Tell us a little bit about the book and this new theory of yours.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Sure, well the book really lays out theory and it’s an entirely rationalist theory. It’s a scientific theory of consciousness. And in this way it diverges from a lot of other theories of consciousness that are out there. I would say that almost all past theories, even the ones that scientists are putting forward, that neuroscientists are putting forward, somewhere along the line deal in magic. A lot of those people wouldn’t like to admit to that, I’m sure, but in the end the question that’s asked is typically how does a brain produce non-physical magic, an inner magical experience? And that’s a very difficult question to answer. And what we’re doing is really addressing the question in an entirely different way. We think, or we know, from neuroscience that the brain is really an information processing device. And when an information processing device introspects, that is to say when it accesses internal data, and on that basis concludes and reports that is has a magical property inside of it, really the first question you would ask as a scientist is probably not how did it produce actual magic? How did it produce that self-description? And what’s the use? Is there some adaptive advantage to describing itself that way? Or what are the circuits that compute that information? How did evolve? How did that kind of self-description evolve over evolutionary time? So these are the kinds of questions that we’re trying to get at. They are very much in the domain of information processing. They are objectively studiable and we think we have made quite a lot of interesting progress in that direction.

Alex Tsakiris: Tell us and summarize for us some of the progress you think you’ve made and why this theory offers a new and better vantage point to ask some of these questions?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, one of the things that I think people run into in science or in any attempt to understand ourselves or even the world around us – the brain constructs models of things. It’s one of the things brains do, they construct information descriptions or models of things. And in fact, we understand the world around us an in us solely through those models. We don’t really have direct access to the world around us. And the brain’s models are notoriously inaccurate, and there are many, many examples of that. Probably the most famous example is the color white. We see white light as pure brightness without any color because the visual system in the brain constructs that kind of a simplified model. And we know that’s physically wrong – white light is a mixture of all colors. We don’t see it that way because our internal model describes it in a quick and dirty, simplified way as pure brightness with no color. Now, that’s just one example, but pretty much every model of the world, external or internal, that the brain constructs is sketchy, cartoonish, a little bit faulty. And that means our intuitions are kind of at the mercy of those models. So when we start introspecting and asking ourselves how do I explain my internal experiences? That gets very tricky introspectively because we’re relying on these informational models that are likely to be incorrect.

So what we’re trying to do is take a much more objective or outside view of the process. So what we think is going on, in a nutshell, I talked about one of the things brains do – they make models of things. Another talent brains have, you might say, is paying attention to things. And by attention, I mean something very specific. It’s a difficult word because it has so many different meanings, colloquial meanings and so on. But I mean something very specific. From a neuroscientist point of view, attention is – there are so many signals coming in at the same time and the brain can’t process them all. And it selects some for deeper processing. So now we have these two kinds of processes going on in the brain. One, the brain constructs models of things that are useful to keep track of. And number two, the brain focuses its resources on some signals. And you might ask what happens inevitably when the brain combines those two talents. What happens if the brain builds one of these simplified models to describe its own process of paying attention to things? And we think this is what awareness is, to be aware of something. First, the brain pays attention to it and second the brain builds its own kind of sketchy, you could say almost cartoonish model of what it means for it to pay attention to that thing. And then that brain is in a position and it has the information to say, to report – I am aware of that thing. So in a nutshell that’s the theory. I have often said it is a very easy theory to explain. It is much harder to explain why it’s a good theory because there is such a range of material out there in the literature that links up to it.

Alex Tsakiris: Sure, sure, kind of like poker. Easy to learn but hard to master. So I want to jump back for a minute though to this idea of the assumption of magic, which understandably riles up a lot of people. And I think the pushback that a lot of people would give and probably have given, Michael, is aren’t you just kind of jumping past the really hard stuff? I mean, here’s the deal – there is this thing called consciousness, so you can say you’re assuming it’s magic or you’re assuming it’s not, but we still have to deal with it. So aren’t we just jumping past the existence of consciousness? And if you want to go scientific I would say great, no magic – let’s start with the first step. Okay, Dr. Graziano, tell us what’s necessary and sufficient to create consciousness. That would be like a first logic, rationalist kind of thing. What’s necessary and sufficient to create human consciousness?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well one way to put it, and I have often used this example as it kind of nicely encapsulates our approach. And it is certainly totally different from the perspective that you outlined that I think a lot of people take. So here is an example – I had a friend who was a psychologist and he told me about a patient of his. And this patient had a delusion, he thought he had a squirrel in his head. And that’s a little odd, but people have odd delusions and it’s not that unusual. Anyway, he was certain of it and you could not convince him of it otherwise. He was fixed on this delusion and he knew it to be true. Now, you could tell him that’s illogical and he would say yeah, that’s okay, but there are things in the universe that transcend logic. You could not argue him out of it. So there were kind of two directions you could take in trying to explain this phenomenon. And would be to ask okay, how does his brain produce a squirrel? How did the neurons secrete the squirrel? Now, that would be a very unproductive approach. And another approach would be to say how does his brain construct that self-description? And how does it arrive at such certainty that the description is correct? And how does the brain not know that it’s a self-description? Now, those things you can get at from an objective point of view. You can answer those questions.

And in effect, I think you could replace the word ‘squirrel’ with the word ‘awareness’ and I think that the whole thing is exactly encapsulated. I think almost all approaches to consciousness take the first direction, how does the brain produce a squirrel – it doesn’t.

Alex Tsakiris: I guess I would roll back to the first assumption, which is embedded in that, which is that a well-functioning brain creates consciousness. Or even before that, evolution creates brain, brain creates consciousness. And I would say let’s start there because you are assuming that. You are saying that is one thing that is necessary to create consciousness, a well-functioning brain.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I think you’re missing thought – evolution creates brain. I do not think brain creates consciousness. I think brains create information and the information informs us of something that is actually not physically correct. And as a result we arrive at this conclusion that we have consciousness and we’re captive to that. Brains only know the information available to them, so we’re captive to the information generated by our brains, generated within their models. We’re captive to that. So if a brain has a model that tells it, ‘You’re an elephant,’ or ‘You have a squirrel in your head,’ that brain is captive to that information. It can’t escape that. And likewise if brains have information in them that says, ‘You have this inner experience,’ then we’re captive to that information. I don’t think we need to explain how brains produce the inner experience. The thing to be explaining is how and for what adaptive advantage brains construct the information that they have an inner experience.

Alex Tsakiris: But don’t we kind of get into a matter of semantics there? I mean, you are assuming that a brain, a well-functioning brain, is necessary to produce everything else in that chain. You say the models that produce the information that produce the consciousness – you are starting with a well-functioning brain, so that is a necessary part of the equation for you, right?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Yes, but I would still – I do not buy the word ‘produce’ attached to the word ‘consciousness.’ I don’t think brains produce consciousness any more than that delusional man’s brain produced a squirrel.

Alex Tsakiris: Again, that’s kind of semantics, right? You are saying brains produce models, brains process information, and that creates this – again, that is kind of a semantic little game there that we are playing in terms of at the end we have this experience that we all call consciousness. So I am just going to go back to the first thing. Let me throw something out that kind of throws a wrench into this. Jeffrey Schwartz, MD, research psychiatrist at UCLA School of Medicine. A few years ago he writes a book titled You are Not Your Brain. Here’s his experiment – it’s amazingly straightforward but extremely important. He gets a group of these people, they have OCD, the classical have to knock three times before they enter the door, all that kind of stuff. So he is trying to help these people and he is trying to treat these people. So he says okay, take that awareness that we’re talking about and do this – focus it this way. He gives them some meditation techniques and he does an fMRI of their brain before and he does it after. And I have to say this research has been repeated in various ways for a number of years all over the place. But he’s the first guy to really hone in and say okay, look, after this attention thing, awareness thing, the brain is a different brain. Which, at the very least, throws a huge monkey wrench in your theory that now we have to ask what brain are we talking about? Are talking about the brain before the thought? Or after the thought? And then if we keep rolling that chicken and the egg thing back we say well, if thoughts shape the physical structure of the brain and the physical structure of the brain is the building block for this whole thing, however you want to call the consciousness thing, then we have a big chicken and the egg problem and we keep rolling it back and we say well, what came first? The thought or the brain?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Yeah, sorry, I don’t see how that throws monkey wrenches into the approach we’re taking but it’s a very interesting point. And certainly thinking changes the brain and the brain functioning changes the brain. That is certainly true and it’s well known. In fact, you can do something like practice up a skill and your brain maps change accordingly. You can have a thought and it changes the activity patterns and the connectivity in your brain. This is certainly true.

Alex Tsakiris: So what comes first? What comes first, the thought or the brain?

Dr. Michael Graziano: I am not 100% sure what you mean by that. I would say that –

Alex Tsakiris: A thought changes the brain, changes the physical structure of the brain. And if we keep rolling that back in the brains prior to ours, prior to ours, and prior to ours – there was a thought, and that changed the brain. How do we ever get back to the starting point of the brain before the thought?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Right, I think what you’re doing is making the assumption that the thought is a separate kind of metaphysical thing that when it happens it causes a change in the brain as opposed to there is a computer and it processes information and in the act of processing information it changes its own states.

Alex Tsakiris: Well again, that’s what the research from Dr. Schwartz indicates and that’s why he wrote the book You Are Not Your Brain.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Right, but that research didn’t show anything other than when the brain functions it changes, and we all knew that for the last 100 years. So I’m sure that’s an interesting study but I don’t see how it addresses the duality question.

Alex Tsakiris: Okay, well it does get to this attention issue but let’s kind of move on beyond that because one thing I wanted to mention is that in addition to your academic work at Princeton you also publish on popular sites, which I think is great. I mean, you an academician and you’re highly skilled in this research, but you write stuff that everyone can read. I read a post of yours on The Huffington Post titled ‘Consciousness and the Unashamed Rationalist.’ Go ahead, tell us what that means to be an unashamed rationalist.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I think that in this study of consciousness there is a certain squeamishness toward the most rationalist scientific approach. There is, I sense, a desire to maintain mystery – maybe partly because if the mystery is cleared up the field of consciousness studies goes away, and that is a whole line of work that many people rely on. Or maybe there are personal reasons or emotional reasons or religious reasons why people love this notion of an unexplainable mystery. And my approach to this entirely mechanistic, entirely rationalist, and the question I am asking in a sense is how far can we go in an entirely rationalist approach? How far can we get and be able to explain as much as possible? And I think that kind of is the  mission of science, not to explain everything because I don’t think that will ever happen, but to see how much can be explained and in particular, to see how much can be explained by entirely rational and mechanistic means and testable means, to give a shot at that. And that is kind of the mission of science, that’s how I approach this question of consciousness. So that’s kind of what I mean by the unashamed rationalist.

Alex Tsakiris: Good, and I’m glad you brought up the issue of spirituality and religion because you touch on it a couple of times and I’m not really exactly sure where you’re coming from. On page 58 of your book Consciousness and the Social Brain you write, ‘The question of where the soul is located becomes complicated with out-of-body experiences.’ I want to break that down in a couple of ways. First of all, tell us a little bit more about this soul thing and why you think these questions of religions and spirituality intersect with consciousness. One, do they at all? And why do they?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, one point I think that scientists do themselves and the rest of us a disservice when they shy away from religion. A lot of scientists just treat it as something kind of icky and don’t want to address it and decide if the word ‘religion’ is somewhere in there they will just leave it alone. The problem is that religion is a huge part of humanity, it is a huge part of who people are. It has a giant impact on us culturally. It’s a creative, driving force, an emotional and social driving force, and as an actual real-life phenomenon deserves scientific study. So that’s one point I would make.

Alex Tsakiris: But wait a minute, how does that intersect with consciousness? I am with you and we have done dozens of shows on Christianity and cultish thinking and how all that happens and all the rest of that, but I don’t see the intersection between religion and consciousness. And in fact I think it really muddies the water when we kind of bring in this phony science versus religion debate that doesn’t really add anything to the scientific questions.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, one of the key points in this theory that we’re building is that you can ask what do we use awareness for? And of course most of us think as awareness, consciousness, as a private phenomenon. But we use it socially. We attribute awareness to other people. It’s one of the ways we use this whole concept of awareness. So I talk to you over the phone and I get a strong sense that you’re a being with an awareness and a consciousness, and this is very critical for any kind of social interaction. In fact, without it we wouldn’t be a successful species because we rely on this intense social ability, the ability to intuit what’s going on in someone else’s mind on the basis of very fleeting cues, almost instantaneously. And what I think is happening is that it’s this same ability, this same ability not only to attribute awareness to ourselves and to the people around us, but think of all the other ways we attribute awareness – to our pets, of course, or children attribute awareness to their stuffed animals. We get mad at the coffee machine when it doesn’t work. And in animistic societies they attribute awareness and consciousness to trees and rivers and I would say that it’s exactly the same process that leads people to attribute awareness to empty spaces and around them and to the events around them and from that flows some of the kind of core basics of religion, these beliefs in spirits that are separate from bodies, that explain, for example, the behavior of the world, the storms or the rains or everything in the universe that is otherwise inexplicable that is attributed to a deity.

So there is a thread running through religion that, at its root, has to do with our extraordinary social capability of building models of minds and attributing them to the things and the spaces around us. And that’s the link.

Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, I don’t know Michael, that’s tenuous. I mean, you run into the same problem that we criticize Christian apologists for. I mean, you’re beginning with the end and working backwards and saying okay, I know all about this experience that people are having so let me go ahead and explain it from my rationalist perspective. I think it just complicates things and creates this big mess. I would go back to this quote of yours that I read, I mean, let’s focus in on the data a little bit. Because you said the question of where the soul was located becomes complicated with out-of-body experiences. A-ha, now here’s an experience we can really hone in on, we can really look at the data and see how it fits these different theories. And then you go on to say that these out-of-body experiences are an illusion and you make this passing reference to Olaf Blanke’s research where he stimulated this part of people’s brain and they had some aspects of an out-of-body experience, which I have to tell you I have talked to a lot of very credible, well-published, academic researchers who have researched OBEs and have researched near-death experience science. And none of them think very highly of Blanke’s research in terms of coming anywhere close to really replicating these kind of experiences. But moreover, the big thing about it is I want to hear what you mean when you say it’s complicated with out-of-body experience. Because I think heck yes, it’s complicated. It’s complicated because here we have these people who in the case of near-death experience let’s look at, they have a non-functioning brain. Which we both agree was kind of the starting point for this whole chain of events that lead to consciousness. I won’t say create consciousness, because I know you don’t like that, but lead to the creating of models and processing information. Here we have these people, they no longer have a functioning brain and yet they do have this experience of processing information. I interviewed Dr. Jeff Long, I don’t know if you know this guy, but comprehensive study. Do you know him?

Dr. Michael Graziano: No, sorry.

Alex Tsakiris: A comprehensive survey of 2,000 of these people who have had these near-death experiences with detailed records of their recollections during their out-of-body experience, and they are accurate. Interviewed Dr. Penny Sartori and also Jan Holden at University of North Texas, and both did similar research independently where they took these people who had a cardiac arrest and had an out-of-body experience and they go to them. Again, it’s pretty simple to say, ‘What do you remember about your resuscitation?’ Again, we have the non-functioning brain and we have the people who have the out-of-body experience that have much more statistically significant accurate details of their resuscitation than the other group that didn’t. So we have all this evidence that keeps pointing to yeah, it’s really complicated with out-of-body experiences because unlike that little experiment that Blanke did that’s kind of hokey, stimulating the brain, we have a lot of evidence that these people with these non-functioning brains are still having these rather dramatic experiences.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Right, well I mean I guess I could say equally I have talked to an awful lot of experts in neuroscience who are quite impressed with the Blanke experiment and do consider it to be a classic out-of-body experience.

Alex Tsakiris: Name one who has published anything in the near-death experience literature, the out-of-body experience literature – I have interviewed a bunch of them. I have interviewed tons, you could look on the website. None of them have any knowledge – I tell you this, can do a Google search –

Dr. Michael Graziano: The problem is that literature – yeah, I’m sure if you go to people or you go to astrologers you would get a unanimous account of how astrology is valid. I think maybe a little bit of this is going on here with respect to NDEs.

Alex Tsakiris: Michael, you’re saying Bruce Grayson at the University of Virginia who is studying astrology, Jan Holden at University of North Texas, and even when I interview Stuart Hameroff at University of Arizona – he is well-versed in the near-death experience literature. It’s published in peer-reviewed journals. It’s not astrology, he’s well-versed in it. He feels the need to address it. I Google your name and near-death experience and there is nothing. And now I mention it to you and you bring up this astrology thing. I mean, that’s insulting on your part to not know of this research.

Dr. Michael Graziano: That could be, I’m aware. There’s an NDE world out there. I would say that it’s very, very difficult and I’m very skeptical of the claim that the brain is actually non-functioning. It’s almost impossible to demonstrate that there’s no functioning, no activity in a brain. It’s almost impossible. I just don’t believe that there are the scanning methods available to arrive at that kind of conclusion. Of these brains are functioning. If these people are having experiences their brains are, in some manner, functioning.

Alex Tsakiris: Michael, you’re a neuroscientist. I think you would be more well-versed. Anyone, this is basic – I spoke with one of the world’s leading experts on EEG and I have also spoken with other ones and they will tell you point blank anyone who has had a cardiac arrest within 15 seconds has, we can assume through all the human studies we have done and all the animal studies we have done, that they have a flat-line, non-functioning brain. So people point sometimes to some deep brain activity that might be going on and a study comes out on rats with this deep brain activity. But none of that matches all the other research we have of what a brain looks like when it’s normally functioning and producing this experience that we all talk about. So what you just said, it just doesn’t match with the data to just assume that oh, I know that people have a cardiac arrest and normally we don’t think of their brain as functioning but you’re skeptical so you have to assume in these situations that the burden is on you to say why we should go against everything we already know.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Yeah, I think the burden is on the NDE people to show us that there are really NDEs and I think pretty much most of my neuroscience colleagues would conclude that no, there are these experiences that are related to brain function. There is no mind or experience independent of the functioning of the brain.

Alex Tsakiris: But again, you don’t – go ahead, I’m sorry.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I was going to say one of the cornerstone observations from which all neuroscience emerged is that damage the brain and you damage bits and pieces of the mind and that observation, you know, from Hippocrates on is, like I said, a cornerstone. It really shows the deep relationship between the functioning of the brain and what we call the mind.

Alex Tsakiris: Right, but if I can persist just a little bit because you keep saying there is this army of neuroscientists who all agree with you that this near-death experience science isn’t important because they are making some fatal flaw, and I challenge you to tell me one who has any kind of familiarity with that research who has published anything about that research. You obviously haven’t so I don’t think – I think you’re admitting that you’re not familiar with the research. So who is one of your colleagues who we could talk to who really has challenged that research in a more direct way? And I would just cite like Dr. Pim van Lommel, somebody we have talked to, who publishes this long ten-year study – a cardiologist, a 20-year cardiologist in the Netherlands. Publishes in The Lancet, right? One of the top medical journals in the country. Tell me who has a substantive counterargument to the claims that he makes in that paper, right? That’s an academic paper that we should take seriously. You’re not aware of it, you should be aware of it, but you’re not. Tell me one of your colleagues who you are talking about who is aware of it and who has published something about it.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I don’t know any serious or reputable scientists who have bothered to do experiments to refute psychic phenomena –

Alex Tsakiris: We’re talking about The Lancet.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Seeing into the future.

Alex Tsakiris: We’re talking about The Lancet. We’re talking about someone who is a cardiologist for 20 years and you’re countering with psychic phenomena?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Yes, exactly. That’s what it is. It’s a psychic phenomenon.

Alex Tsakiris: But you’ve never examined any of the literature. You’ve never read any of the literature.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I have read a certain amount of it.

Alex Tsakiris: What? What have you read? Tell me one that you’ve read.

Dr. Michael Graziano: There is a large literature on astrology that I wouldn’t bother to read as an astronomer.

Alex Tsakiris: You can’t cite one piece of near-death experience – you cannot cite one piece of near-death experience science literature. I told you Bruce Grayson at the University of Arizona, I cited three or four people who are well-respected academics – Peter Fenwick, Sam Parnia at Cornell – and you want to talk about psychics. So tell me one that you’ve read, Michael, one that you’ve read?

Dr. Michael Graziano: See, what you’re doing is appealing to authority, I’m sorry. It doesn’t interest me.

Alex Tsakiris: Appealing to authority? I’m talking to a Princeton neuroscientist – you are the authority.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, in that case I say that I am very, very skeptical. I believe that there are such things are near-death experiences.

Alex Tsakiris: Why do you believe there are? Why do you believe that?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Oh, because people report them.

Alex Tsakiris: How do you know they report them? You haven’t read the literature.

Dr. Michael Graziano: I believe that they are caused by activity in the brain.

Alex Tsakiris: And you base that on what?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, I have –

Alex Tsakiris: You haven’t read any of the literature, Michael, which is fine. Look – I don’t want to pound on you anymore. Your research is really important. Tell us where you’re going with this important theory, this attention schema theory at Princeton. Where does this take you in the future?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well, we continue to put it to experimental test. Every good theory should be falsifiable. We think this one is as well and it is susceptible to experimental test. And what we have done, having laid out the theory, is begun to test it in specific ways with behavioral experiments on attention and awareness with imaging studies, putting people in scanners to look at brain areas and isolate the network or parts of the network that seem to be involved in these computations. And with disruption experiments, such as what’s called a transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s a method of temporarily disrupting neuronal activity in select spots and measuring the effects of that when we target it to specific cortical areas. So we have a very large, full plate you might say of experiments to do to address this theory – find out what its validity is or is not and that’s kind of the strength of science, to as I said, outline falsifiable theories and then put them to the test. That’s kind of where we are.

Alex Tsakiris: Right, and on your website at Princeton.edu, which anyone can find very easily by Googling your name – you have quite a nice – do you keep people regularly updated on things that are going on in your lab?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Well mostly I update the publication list and I had links to the publications, so anyone can look at what the latest publications are on this topic. One just came out in PNAS a month or two ago on this topic of consciousness.

Alex Tsakiris: Good, and as I mentioned you are very out there, public, and write a lot of things that anyone can pick up and read and again, this latest book of yours – Consciousness and the Social Brain – obviously is on Amazon and all those other places, people can find it. It’s really been great having you on. I know I had to push you a little bit on some of these hot-button issues that we like to talk about but I do appreciate your openness and willing to dialogue about this so best of luck with all your work and thanks again for joining me.

Dr. Michael Graziano: Thank you, I always enjoy a lively conversation and I think that was one.

Alex Tsakiris: We did offer up that, didn’t we?

Dr. Michael Graziano: Yes.