Healing Brain Seminar: July 1986


A Continuing Education Conference
Saturday, July 19, 1986

Co-sponsored by
The University of California Santa Barbara Extension
and The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge

The brain minds the body, and states of health and disease are profoundly influenced by states of mind.

This symposium will present some of the recent advances in the brain and behavioral sciences which shed new light on the vital role of the brain as a health maintenance organization. We have a brain which contains many “small minds.” Emotions have profound effects on our physiology and emotional changes, like those associated with lying which can sometimes be healthy and sometimes unhealthy. The brain even produces its own opiate-like chemicals with striking effects on pain perception, mood and thought.

These and other findings of major clinical importance will be explored at a one-day symposium by a distinguished faculty of researchers and clinicians. They will provide an up-to-date review of emerging trends in behavioral medicine.


• To understand how brain evolution resulted in the development of multiple centers of regulation, including those for maintenance of health
• To understand the physiological effects of various emotional states and the differences between the basic emotions
• To present the psychological and physiological processes involved in lying and the health consequences of lying
• To present the recent evidence on the role of endogenous opiates and other neurotransmitters in perception of pain, moods, and various mental disorders


Robert E. Ornstein, Ph.D.

We do not have a thoroughly modern mind although we live in a thoroughly modern world. We do not have a single brain; we have a multiple one. We have a complex and unorganized collection of special-purpose solutions to meet different circumstances. We have “small minds of the body” which control health. The brain contains several different and independent centers of action each of which has a “mind of its own.” There are significant problems for the maintenance of our health when our separated small minds disagree.

Emotions, Moods, Traits, and Emotional Disorders
Paul Ekman, Ph.D.

Current understanding of moods, emotional traits, and emotional disorders will be reviewed along with the latest techniques for generating and exploring the physiology of emotions. Anger, irritation, hostility, aggression, and violence are overlapping terms often used to describe the same actions. We should try to distinguish among them. Anger is not unhealthy, but hostility may be. Aggressive people may never be violent, and violence may not involve anger. Everyone becomes sad, while only people with serious psychiatric problems have a depression. What the emotions feel like, what they look like, what they sound like, and what causes people to feel them will be illustrated.

Lying About Feeling and Feelings About Lying
Paul Ekman, Ph.D.

Emotions play a crucial role in lying. It is not just that we often lie about how we feel, but even when our lie is not about feelings, our feelings about lying (fear and guilt) can betray our lie. Why do lies fail or why do they succeed? How can we spot clues to deceit and when won’t there be any clues? While lying is a commonplace activity, part of almost everyone’s life, there are some illnesses which involve extensive lying.

The Chemical Brain: The Biochemical Basis of Mental Health
Philip A. Berger, M.D.

The past decade has witnessed dramatic advances in the biological sciences which have contributed to the identification of some biochemical correlates of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and mania. These advances have stimulated the development of many new somatic therapies for mental illnesses and opened the door to a new experience of the chemical nature of the brain.

Endorphins: The Brain’s Natural Opiates and Mental Health
Philip A. Berger, M.D.

One of the most exciting discoveries in neurochemistry is that the human brain produces chemical compounds called endorphins which have pharmacological activity identical to morphine and other opiates. Endorphins may be involved in the perception of pain, positive reinforcement, schizophrenic hallucinations, and perhaps “runner’s high.” The current evidence on the role of endorphins in normal and abnormal moods and behaviors will be explored.

How The Brain Minds The Body
Robert E. Ornstein, Ph.D.

The principle function of the brain is not the creation of rational thought, language, or art, but rather the maintenance of the health of the organism. From food avoidance to weight maintenance, the brain has developed sophisticated, intrinsic healing systems to protect the integrity and stability of the individual and social body. The brain is first and foremost a healing brain.

Coordinator: DAVID S. SOBEL, M.D., is Medical Program Director for The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge and Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California.


PHILIP A. BERGER, M.D., is the Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine and Director of the Norris Mental Health Clinical Research Center. His major research interests include the neurobiology and neurochemistry of mental illness about which he has written numerous scientific papers. In addition, he is co-editor of several books on psychopharmacology, psychiatry, and behavioral neurochemistry.

PAUL EKMAN, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Human Interaction Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco. His major areas of research include nonverbal communication, facial expressions, and human emotions. He is author of numerous scientific papers and books including Telling Lies and Emotion and the Human Face.

ROBERT E. ORNSTEIN, Ph.D., is Visiting Professor of Human Biology at Stanford University and President of The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge. His research interests include the function of the two hemispheres of the brain, perception and communication in the human sciences. He is author of numerous books, including The Amazing Brain, The Psychology of Consciousness, Psychology: The Study of Human Experience, and The Mind Field.