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THE PRIVATE LIFE OF THE BRAIN by Susan A. Greenfield

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF THE BRAIN

Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self

By Susan A. Greenfield

Pub Date: May 12th, 2000
ISBN: 0-471-18343-1
Publisher: Wiley

A neuroscientist’s musings on how physiology and experience interact and intertwine to define an individual.

Greenfield (The Human Brain, not reviewed) mounts a strong argument that to understand the human mind “we must investigate both the neuroscience—the physical workings of the brain—and the subjective phenomena of feelings.” She rejects the notion that specific regions of the brain are responsible for specific functions or feelings—rather, Greenfield argues, we should investigate how portions of the whole are always acting in concert. Greenfield takes readers carefully and clearly through her arguments: that emotions are the most basic form of consciousness; that individuals’ minds develop over a lifetime from personal experiences and learning. Furthermore, the more someone is acting from emotion, the less they are operating from experience and learning, and vice versa: “When people lose their minds, blow their minds, or are out of their minds with fear or ecstasy, they are no longer accessing that highly personalized set of values, history, and unique view of life.” Along the way, readers are instructed on the state of the art of scientific understanding of brain physiology and development and can gain an eye-opening view of the current hot spots in the never-ending nature vs. nurture debate.

Entertaining, enlightening, and convincing.