Academic journal article The Journal of Psychohistory

The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety Is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love

Academic journal article The Journal of Psychohistory

The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety Is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love

Article excerpt

Richard Restak, The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love. New York: Harmony Books, 2006.

Reviewed by Lloyd deMause

The revolution in neuroimaging techniques in the past two decades has produced such a new understanding of the effects of early experiences on the brain and the disorders from attachment deficiencies that are their result that psychologists-including psychotherapists and psychohistorians-simply cannot fully understand what the developmental causes of child abuse unless they keep up to date on what neuroscience has been discovering. If, for instance, you write about racism-from the Holocaust to Islamic terrorism-you cannot really understand what is happening unless you know early developmental problems affect the prefrontal cortex and later produce disabled medula (mirror neurons that enable one to empathize with others). Similarly, when you study group-fantasies of growing irrational fears of being attacked by other nations (who often have no designs at all on your nation), you really must understand how these fears (say, of Mother England about to pounce on you) were originally implanted in the amygdala, and unless you understand how kinds of experiences are making whole nations switch into these early amygdalan fear modules.

Restak provides an excellent summary of the basic advances in understanding neuropathology. …

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