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The era of the New Brain is upon us. Once a mysterious, hidden organ locked within our skulls, modern brain science now provides us with insights about the brain that only a few decades ago would have been considered the stuff of science fiction. We can now study the brain in "real time," witnessing how it functions while taking a test, practicing a craft, experiencing an emotion, or making a decision. Brain tests can even indicate when we're telling the truth or when we're ...
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The era of the New Brain is upon us. Once a mysterious, hidden organ locked within our skulls, modern brain science now provides us with insights about the brain that only a few decades ago would have been considered the stuff of science fiction. We can now study the brain in "real time," witnessing how it functions while taking a test, practicing a craft, experiencing an emotion, or making a decision. Brain tests can even indicate when we're telling the truth or when we're lying.
Dr. Richard Restak reports from the frontiers of modern brain science and asks the relevant questions such as, is Attention Deficit Disorder the brain syndrome of the future? Is it a "normal" response to the modern world's demand to attend to several things at once? What happens in our brains when the image replaces language as the primary means of communication? How does exposure to violent imagery affect our brains? Are we capable of "genius" and training our brains to perform at a superior level?
The New Brain is the story of technology and biology converging to influence the evolution of the human brain. Dramatic advances are now possible, as well as the potential for misuse and abuse.
Dr. Restak, author of more than 15 books on the brain, leads you through the latest research and the expanding field of cognitive science, explains its implications, and even offers practical advice such as how to:
* Understand and mitigate the affects of media images and technology on our thoughts and emotions
* Estimate the effects of stress on our brain function and how to predict who is at greatest risk for harm
* Develop the habits that result in peak brain performance
No longer science fiction or fantasy, The New Brain recounts what our brains are capable of— today.
We have learned so much about the human brain during the past two decades that it's fair to speak of a revolutionary change in our understanding. The era of the Old Brain is giving way to that of the New Brain.
The Old Brain was remote and mysterious, deeply hidden within the skull and inaccessible except to specialists daring enough to pierce its three protective layers. Thanks to that inaccessibility and the risks involved in plumbing its depths, brain experts knew little about the functioning of the normal brain; they certainly searched in vain for answers to such fascinating questions as, "How is the brain related to our everyday thoughts, emotions, and behavior?"
The New Brain, in contrast, doesn't require dangerous intrusions but can now be depicted using sophisticated computer-driven imaging techniques with abbreviated names like CAT, PET, MRI, and MRA. These techniques reveal exquisitely subtle operational details and provide windows through which neuroscientists (brain scientists) can view different aspects of brain functioning without opening the skull or performing other risky procedures.
Thanks to the development of new imaging technologies, brain science is capable of providing us with insights into the human mind that only a few decades ago would have been considered the stuff of science fiction. We can now study the brain in "real time" when we're thinking, taking an intelligence test, practicing a craft, experiencing an emotion, or making a decision. Brain tests can even indicate when we're telling the truth, as well as provide a quick estimate of our intelligence and specific abilities.
Neuroscientists refer to this new field as cognitive science: the study of the brain mechanisms responsible for our thoughts, moods, decisions, and actions. Cognition has been defined as "the ability of the brain and nervous system to attend, identify, and act on complex stimuli." More informally, cognition refers to everything taking place in our brains that helps us to know the world. Included here are such mental activities as alertness, concentration, memory, reasoning, creativity, and emotional experience.
In the era of the New Brain, the emphasis is shifting from diseases and dysfunctions to an understanding of the brains of the average man and woman. An exciting consequence follows from this new emphasis on the normal brain: Research can provide us with useful guidelines about our everyday lives. For instance, recent findings (discussed in chapter 1) indicate that by following certain brain-based guidelines anyone can achieve expert performance in sports, athletics, or academic pursuits. Such findings, of course, run counter to the traditional theory that sports achievers and geniuses are born not made, that our genes and other factors outside of our control impose limits on our individual capabilities. Not so. Instead, it's now clear that by learning about and applying this new research, most of us can reasonably expect greatly enhanced personal levels of achievement.
As another example, we now have good reason to believe, based on brain research, that harmful effects on our brain can result from frequent exposure to graphic scenes of violence. Moreover, it doesn't seem to matter if the violence is fictionalized, "real life," or a combination of both (i.e., docudramas featuring depictions of violence based on actual events). Watching media violence changes our brain in harmful ways that we are only recently beginning to understand.
While this is not intended as a "self-help" book, I believe a lot of contemporary brain research has practical applications that can be put to use in our daily lives. Throughout the book I will discuss this research in sufficient detail that you will be in a position to decide for yourself what, if any, practical applications ensue in your own life. Included here are such fascinating areas of cognition as:
Twenty-first century discoveries about the brain will provide us with new insights into our behavior, thinking, and feelings. Thanks to technological advances, neuroscientists are already successfully correlating brain function with personality; synthesizing "designer drugs" for individualized treatments of patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric illnesses; and correlating defective genotypes with violent or antisocial behavior. Thanks to such advances and the promise of even greater ones in the near future, it seems fair to say that technology, rather than biology, will play the major role in the evolution of the human brain. Over the course of this book, my goal is to provide you with an overview of the kinds of changes that you can expect to come about in the era of the New Brain.
|Ch. 1||Brain Plasticity: Your Brain Changes Every Day||7|
|Ch. 2||Genius and Superior Performance: Are We All Capable?||14|
|Ch. 3||Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era||38|
|Ch. 4||More Images Than Ever: Is It Destabilizing Our Brains?||63|
|Ch. 5||The Happy Brain: The Joy and Music in You||90|
|Ch. 6||Modern Imaging Techniques: Windows on the Mind||104|
|Ch. 7||Cosmetic Psychopharmacology||121|
|Ch. 8||Healing the Diseased Brain: New Attempts at Brain Repair||148|
|Ch. 9||The New Brain||188|
Posted February 23, 2010
Posted May 26, 2004
In addition to being very 'readable', this book is very informative. You'll find yourself saying 'good point' or 'I've thought that myself'. This book also does a good job at explaining the structure of the brain that can be very complicated for someone like myself who isn't much of a science person. The New Brain is a great representation of how different disciplines and interests (such as, in this case, biology, learning, and sociology) are interconnected. Great read for anyone!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2004
Is it EVER too late to learn a new language? What are the tradeoffs of multi-tasking? Can you see with your tongue? If you are interested in the science of the brain or the limits of human potential, this book is for you. There are some examples in there about the effects of media on our brains, but this is primarily a treatment of the brain's amazing ability and some scientists that are exploring the limits.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2003
Neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Restak discusses the merging of biology with modern technology, enabling deeper understanding of the physiology of the brain. Items like MRIs and psychopharmacological drugs have provided a radical change in how individuals use their brain when compared to the late nineteenth century and earlier eras though repetition and skill remains a constant. He also describes the negative impacts of social 'medicalization' and the impact of too much electronic media stimulation.<P> Dr. Restak¿s energy for the positive effects of recent discoveries is quite good and very interesting as it written for wide conceptual comprehension. When THE NEW BRAIN: HOW THE MODERN AGE IS REWIRING YOUR MIND turns towards what Dr. Restak believes is the downside, he uses more anecdotal information than data. Still he makes a solid easy to read case that the twenty-first century new brain is dramatically different than that of our recent ancestors.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.