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Photo of Barry Beyerstein BARRY BEYERSTEIN

Barry Beyerstein is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and chair of the British Columbia Skeptics Society. He earned a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley, where his research focused on the development of the visual areas of the brain. Subsequently, he became interested in psychopharmacology -- the study of how drugs affect the brain, and hence consciousness and behavior.

It was Professor Beyerstein's fascination with the brain that first led him to doubt graphology. "I just couldn't see any plausible way that the brain mechanisms involved in personality, motivation, etc., could be reliably and predictably linked to the muscle programs in the brain that govern the minute movements that produce writing features," he explains.

In recent years, Professor Beyerstein's research interests have broadened and he is now also investigating how a host of other influences can affect brain states to produce awesome "transcendent" feelings that some people interpret as supernatural interludes. He describes this research as "Mixing my scientific interests with my skeptical ones."

See Barry Beyerstein's answers to Ask the Scientists questions.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
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