What is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge’s inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they’ve transformed—people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
Our mental lives are profoundly relational. The interactions we have with one another shape our mental world. Yet as any neuroscientist will tell you, the mind is shaped by the firing patterns in the brain. And so how can we reconcile this tension—that the mind is both embodied and relational? Interpersonal Neurobiology is a way of thinking across this apparent conceptual divide.
This Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology is designed to aid in your personal and professional application of the interpersonal neurobiology approach to developing a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and empathic relationships. It is also designed to assist you in seeing the intricate foundations of interpersonal neurobiology as you read other books in the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology.
Praise for Daniel J. Siegel's books:
“Siegel is a must-read author for anyone interested in the science of the mind.” —Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
“[S]tands out for its skillful weaving together of the interpersonal, the inner world, the latest science, and practical applications.” —Jack Kornfield, PhD, founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Center, and author of A Path With Heart
“Siegel has both a meticulous understanding of the roles of different parts of the brain and an intimate relationship with mindfulness . . . [A]n exciting glimpse of an uncharted territory of neuroscience.” —Scientific American Mind
“Dr. Daniel Siegel is one of the most thoughtful, eloquent, scientifically solid and reputable exponents of mind/body/brain integration in the world today.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, Full Catastrophe Living, and Coming to Our Senses
These questions should be central to the study of mind and development, but most researchers neglect relationships and focus instead on analyses of individuals, as if people were basically alone, experiencing occasional fleeting moments with other people. Research based on this individualist assumption has dominated the behavioral and clinical sciences, but there are other voices, and they are growing. In this book, many of the scholars who are moving relationships and attachments back to the center of human development outline their central concepts, findings, and perspectives.
People are fundamentally social, and relationships are part of the fabric of being human, forming an essential foundation that molds each person's mind and action. A mind does not reside in one person but in relationships and communities, composed of many people's interconnected minds, which mutually support and define each other. From the start and throughout life, each person develops strengths and vulnerabilities in important relationships in communities and cultures. Those relationships are so central to each person's activity and experience that without them, no scientific explanation can even begin to analyze mind and action. There is no mind without other people. There is no psychological vulnerability that does not involve others.
The contributors to this book aim to establish a firm foundation for the role of relationships in human activity and health and to promote strong research by bringing together in one place most of the best research and theory on development and relationships. Their goal is to stimulate a more radical inclusion of relationships in mind, an ecological focus on the ways that relationships constitute action, feeling, and thought.
Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she's likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that children are naturally—and uniquely—cooperative. Put through similar experiments, for example, apes demonstrate the ability to work together and share, but choose not to. As children grow, their almost reflexive desire to help—without expectation of reward—becomes shaped by culture. They become more aware of being a member of a group. Groups convey mutual expectations, and thus may either encourage or discourage altruism and collaboration. Either way, cooperation emerges as a distinctly human combination of innate and learned behavior. In Why We Cooperate, Tomasello's studies of young children and great apes help identify the underlying psychological processes that very likely supported humans' earliest forms of complex collaboration and, ultimately, our unique forms of cultural organization, from the evolution of tolerance and trust to the creation of such group-level structures as cultural norms and institutions. Scholars Carol Dweck, Joan Silk, Brian Skyrms, and Elizabeth Spelke respond to Tomasello's findings and explore the implications.