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Pacifico Library
"The Synapse"

The Official Website of the
Carl. R. Pacifico Professorship of Neuropsychology

Soon after earning my B.S. degree in engineering at Drexel in 1943, I entered the U.S. Army Air Corp. During this period, I set up a five-year reading program to learn the fundamentals of every subject I considered to be worth knowing.

This program had the unexpected result of changing my direction in life. I was intrigued to find that most people uncritically accept whatever they are taught, whether it is correct or not. That led me to search for other errors inherent in the human thinking process. It was soon obvious that most errors occur because a person’s information is incomplete or incorrect. Eventually I identified eight types of basic errors. Even more interesting, I was able to trace the source of these errors to stages in the evolution of our thinking mechanism. The human brain evolved to serve the needs of a succession of primitive creatures in a much simpler environment. As a result, it has some significant shortcomings in serving humans in our much more complex environment. I then tried to learn the mechanism for the way we think and have made some useful progress in this project. During these five decades, my other life was progressing reasonably well. I became the general manager of a small specialty chemical company. Then I joined with some colleagues to buy, manage, and sell a larger company. After that I joined another group to start a company from scratch. During this later period I consulted in general management for senior executives. This helped confirm my observation that most problems originate not in the circumstances, but in erroneous thinking.

I decided to sponsor a fellowship at Drexel to do research in my areas of interest. The principal benefit of this program was to bring me into contact with Dr. Eric Zillmer. A few years later, he suggested that we set up a professorship with the objective of facilitating research and study by others in the work I had started.

Fortunately, after years of struggle, the company I had co-founded was doing well enough so that I could use some of my stock to sponsor this professorship. The objective of the professorship is to bring our work to the attention of others, with the hope that they will find it of sufficient interest to continue this fascinating project.

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