Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mind Wide Open

Yesterday, I finished listening to the audiobook of Mind Wide Open. It is a delightful ‘book’ that examines the recent developments in the world of psychology and neuroscience as it relates to the individual. This is an excellent work for those with little exposure to either and are (or should be) curious about developments that have occurred. (For those in psyc maybe get it for to lend to your friends.)

One of the main themes is that we vastly overrate our conscious control of most things we do. Couldn’t agree more. What follows are some random thoughts/tidbits, some quoted, some paraphrased:

Personality is the sum of your (brain) modules.

Your brain is like a complicated ecosystem. It’s a jungle in there.

Autisim is discussed and how the deficit can sort of be viewed as an inability in ‘mind reading.’ (The lack of social/emotional processing). I really liked that he said they almost have a ‘gut’ feeling for numbers (when counting tooth picks), but we have it for emotions.

He’s a big proponent of neurofeedback, which might help ADHD and ‘normal’ people focus attention better..

Mentions prairie voles and sexual attachment,

Laughter, comes from the brainstem, primal, life-sustaining.

Discusses drug users and how they work on similar brain regions/receptors that does ‘love.’ “The needle contains the very drug that makes a child’s love appealing.”

Psycho-active drugs activate the psyche.

You are nothing without drugs.

It’s not ‘The hormones talking’, but which hormones are talking.

Intelligence is sensing cause and predicting effect.

Wit of the staircase. French expression describing the failing of witty retort.

Cocaine makes you a new man, and that new man wants more cocaine. –G. Carlin

To understand another, try to realize that it feels ‘okay’ for them whatever they are doing. (aside from clinical disorders, and even then the threshold isn’t breached because behaviours continue).

I've used this before, but is such a good one:
The better we understand our nature, the better we can nurture.


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