Academic journal article et Cetera

Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

Academic journal article et Cetera

Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

Article excerpt

Steven Johnson. Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life. New York: Scribner, 2004.

Steven Johnson believes that learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In this book, he sets out to prove this by becoming his own test subject - this includes participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, and scanning his brain with a $2 million MRI machine. Johnson also explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events, the neurochemistry that links love and sex, the similarities between endogenous and exogenous drugs, why music evokes powerful emotional responses, and where our most important ideas come from.

Johnson suggests updating Freud's taxonomy of id, ego, and superego (roughly parallel to the unconscious, conscious, and preconscious) with a neuroanatomical equivalent - Paul Maclean's model of the "triune brain." This model consists of: a) the brainstem - controlling metabolic functions like heart rate and breathing; b) the limbic system - the seat of emotion and memory, comprising chiefly the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the hypothalamus; and c) the neocortex - the most distinctly human component of the brain's architecture that allows us to engage in abstract thought and communicate in complex sentences. …

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