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Self-Anthropomorphizing Neurons

One possible critique of the Neural Tribe perspective is that it… anthropomorphizes the lowly neurons.

Hell yeah! The Neural Tribe perspective is a purposeful attempt to humanize that which makes us human. The NT perspective sets out to anthropomorphize anthropos-the-essence, not anthropos-the-form, our neural presence, not the body-forms that we inhabit.

The NT perspective sees an anthropos (“man” in the connotation of “human”) in each and every neuron, whether this neuron is to be found in a human body-form or in a medusa or in a stink bug.

Bottom line: neural is personified human and human is personified neural.

What other part of our body should we identify with instead? With our bones? Of course, not: our skeleton is just a clothing hanger for the flesh that hangs on it. Should we identify with our own muscles or organs or tendons? Of course, not: all these parts – some now, and with time, all of them – can be swapped around/transplanted and/or prosthetically/artificially substituted. As such, these parts of our selves are too superfluous to the neural essence of what we are to count. So, when you strip away all of these inconsequential layers of the bodily onion, all that’s left is a colony of lowly neurons. So, what else is there to anthropomorphize?!

We are – paradoxically and recursively – self-anthropomorphizing neurons.

Related: A Conscious Neuron


Self-Anthropomorphizing Neurons

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).



APA Reference
Somov, P. (2019). Self-Anthropomorphizing Neurons. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 13, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
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