Deric Bownds

Deric's MindBlog reports on new ideas and work on mind, brain, and behavior, as well as random curious stuff. 

Mind Lectures & Writings
Deric Bownds, Madison, WI

-“Upstairs/Downstairs in our Brain – What’s running our show? - , working draft of a talk for the Sept. 9, 2014, session of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chaos Seminar Series.

-“Are you holding your breath?” - Structures of arousal and calm - , a talk given at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chaos Seminar Series, May 8, 2012.

-Making Minds - Evolving and Constructing the "I", a talk given in the Evolution Seminar Series at the Univ. of Wisconsin on April 28, 2011.

-Who wants to know? - The Nature of our Subjective "I", a lecture given at a Cognitive Neuroscience meeting in Istanbul in May, 2010.

Background lectures and writing:

- "The I Illusion" lecture/essay - (Podcast version here), contains a number of simple demonstrations of how our minds work. Two further essays are offered in both web and podcast format: The Beast Within (Web; Podcast) and MindStuff: A guide for the curious user (Web, Podcast). If you want to glance at only a few paragraphs, try Mindstuff - Bonbons for the curious user. There are several other brief essays you might find interesting.

In the early 1990's I developed an interdisciplinary course at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, titled The Biology of Mind. Lecture notes from that course were transformed into a book aimed both at my course students and also the educated general public.

Biology of Mind
This gives you a full web version of that book, with complete references not included in the hard copy version, which can be obtained from either Amazon or John Wiley & Sons. You can download the book, with illustrations, for your ebook reader from To contact me, please email


I have been playing the piano since I was 6 years old and doing house concerts and public performances over the past 45 years.

About Me
The first 35 years of my professional life was devoted to studying vision. I prepared this graphic social and scientific history of the Bownds Laboratory for a laboratory reunion over the last weekend of May 2012, on the occasion of my 70th birthday. Pictures of the reunion can be found here and of a Social/Musical held at my Twin Valley home here. I gave a talk on May 14, 2013 to the McPherson Eye Research Institute seminar at the University of Wisconsin, describing the contributions of my laboratory (from 1968 to 1998) to understanding how light changes into a nerve signal in our eyes. (The talk is posted here.)

This personal biography was written in the summer of 2012.

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