The publication of this book is an event in the making. All over the world scientists, psychologists, and philosophers are waiting to read Antonio Damasio's new theory of the nature of consciousness and the construction of the self. A renowned and revered scientist and clinician, Damasio has spent decades following amnesiacs down hospital corridors, waiting for comatose patients to awaken, and devising ingenious research using PET scans to piece together the great puzzle of consciousness. In his bestselling Descartes' Error, Damasio revealed the critical importance of emotion in the making of reason. Building on this foundation, he now shows how consciousness is created. Consciousness is the feeling of what happens-our mind noticing the body's reaction to the world and responding to that experience. Without our bodies there can be no consciousness, which is at heart a mechanism for survival that engages body, emotion, and mind in the glorious spiral of human life. A hymn to the possibilities of human existence, a magnificent work of ingenious science, a gorgeously written book, The Feeling of What Happens is already being hailed as a classic.
Damásio studied medicine at the University of Lisbon Medical School in Portugal, where he also did his medical residency rotation and completed his doctorate. Later, he moved to the United States as a research fellow at the Aphasia Research Center in Boston. His work there on behavioral neurology was done under the supervision of Norman Geschwind.
As a researcher, Dr. Damásio's main interest is the neurobiology of the mind, especially neural systems which subserve memory, language, emotion, and decision-making. His research has helped to elucidate the neural basis for the emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. Damásio has formulated the somatic markers hypothesis.
As a clinician, he and his collaborators study and treat the disorders of behavior and cognition, and movement disorders.
Damásio's books deal with the relationship between emotions and feelings, and what are their bases in the brain. His 1994 book, Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and is translated in over 30 languages. His second book, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, was named as one of the ten best books of 2001 by New York Times Book Review, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and has thirty foreign editions. Damásio's most recent book, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, was published in 2003. In it, Damásio explores philosophy and its relations to neurobiology, suggesting that it might provide guidelines for human ethics.
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, and the European Academy of Arts and Sciences. Damásio has received many awards including the Prince of Asturias Award in Science and Technology, Kappers Neuroscience Medal, the Beaumont Medal from the American Medical Association and the Reenpaa Prize in Neuroscience. He is also in the editorial board of many important journals in the field.
His current work involves the social emotions, decision neuroscience and creativity.
Prof. Damásio is married to Dr. Hanna Damásio, his colleague and co-author of several works.