Notable Findings: Because human intelligence and consciousness are difficult to explain, since ancient times, people have relied on metaphors as ersatz explanations. Over the centuries, as technologies have changed, so have the metaphors. As early computers began to behave somewhat intelligently in the 1950s, the computer became the metaphor of choice, even though the brain works nothing like a computer. Unlike computers, brains do not process information or contain memories. According to Neural Transduction Theory (NTT), the human brain is a transducer, not a computer. NTT can be tested empirically, and it does not rely on metaphor.


Recent Publications

Epstein. R. (2021, August 25). Your brain is not a computer. It is a transducer. Discover (forwarding link:

Epstein, R. (2017, March 6). Consciousness decapitated. The Awl. 

Epstein, R. (2017, March 6). Consciousness decapitated: Responses to my imaginary critics. Medium  

Epstein, R. (2016, November/December). Neurohype: A review of Hilary and Steven Rose’s Can Neuroscience Change Our Minds? Scientific American Mind. 

Epstein, R. (2016, July/August). Are humans doomed? A review of George Zarkadakis’ In Our Own Image. Scientific American Mind, p. 68. 

Epstein, R. (2016, May 18). The empty brain.
Aeon. (forwarding link:


Epstein, R. (2015, November/December). Brain wars: A review of Malcolm Gay’s The Brain Electric: The Dramatic High-Tech Race to Merge Minds and Machines. Scientific American Mind, p. 70. 

Epstein, R. (2015, Summer). Everything you know about the teen brain is wrong. Brandeis Magazine. 

Epstein, R. (2015, January/February). Brain drain: Review of Daniel J. Levitin’s The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Scientific American Mind, p. 72. 


Epstein, R. (2014, May/June). We are Darwinian: A review of It’s a Jungle in There: How Competition and Cooperation in the Brain Shape the Mind by David A. Rosenbaum. Scientific American Mind, p. 73. 

Epstein, R. (2014, May/June). Our flawed sixth sense: A review of Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley. Scientific American Mind, p. 72. 


Epstein, R. (2014, March/April). Cognitive pseudoscience: A review of The Origin of Ideas by Mark Turner. Scientific American Mind, p. 68. 

Epstein, R. (2012, October). Brutal truths about the aging brain. Discover, pp. 48-50, 76. 

Epstein, R. (2012, March/April). Art, brain and mind united: A review of The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present, by Eric R. Kandel. Scientific American Mind, p. 68. 

Epstein, R. (2011, September/October). Never mind: A review of The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Consciousness, and Personality, edited by John Brockman. Scientific American Mind, p. 69. 

Epstein, R. (2010, March/April). Are you mentally healthy? Scientific American Mind, pp. 58-61. 

Epstein, R. (2009, November/December). Risk-taking teens have more mature brains. Scientific American Mind, p. 12. 

Epstein, R, & Ong, J. (2009, August). Are the brains of reckless teens more mature than those of their prudent peers? Scientific American (online). 

Epstein, R. (2009). Book review: The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing by Richard Kradin. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 23(3), 359-362. 

Epstein, R. (2009, September/October). Beyond the placebo effect: A review of Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility by Ellen Langer. Scientific American Mind, p. 72. 

Epstein, R. (2009, January/February). Brain science cautionaries [Reply to letters]. Skeptical Inquirer, p. 66.

Epstein, R. (2008). Why private events are associative: Automatic chaining and associationism. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 29, 267-280. 

Epstein, R. (2008, September/October). The truth about brain science. Skeptical Inquirer, pp. 32-33. 

Epstein, R. (2008, January). This is a voter’s brain on fear. [Letter to the Editor]. Newsweek, p. 27.

Epstein, R. (2007, April/May). The myth of the teen brain. Scientific American Mind, pp. 57-63. 

  • Reprinted in: Scientific American special issue on child development, June 2007
  • Reprinted in: The Home School Court Report, July/August 2007
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