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BRAIN WARS by Mario Beauregard


The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof that Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives


Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-207156-9
Publisher: HarperOne

A neuropsychologist argues that the time has come for “an expanded model of reality” that takes into account the separation of mind and consciousness from the brain.

Beauregard (The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul, 2008, etc.), an associate researcher at the University of Montreal, cites examples to set the stage for his conviction that “mind and consciousness are not produced by the brain.” He gives examples of the placebo effect and the use of neurofeedback to train the mind to control brain functions, and he rejects efforts to map areas of the brain to mental functions by the use of electrical stimulation and other methods—he deems these to be reductionist. To support his contention of the primacy of mind over matter, Beauregard describes the apparent effectiveness of black magic on victims who believe in the power of spells. More controversial are his contentions about extrasensory perception. He reports examples of out-of-body and near-death experiences, which he interprets as proof of the existence of the soul and its life after death. He also discusses clairvoyance and precognition; he writes, “no current theories in physics, psychology, or neuroscience can explain them convincingly.” In the author’s view, a scientific paradigm shift is on the horizon, and he states what he claims to be definitive proof that under certain conditions “telepathy does occur.” He cites an experiment in which participants in different rooms were shown the same four pictures. One made a selection and the other guessed which one was selected. In one third of the instances, the second participant chose the correct picture, beating the “odds against chance beyond a million billion to one.” He does not entertain the possibility that the experimental design was flawed.

Proponents of the author's new-age beliefs will be intrigued; others will be more skeptical.