Book Report – The Neuroscience of everyday life.
Title: The Neuroscience of everyday life.
Author: Professor Sam Wang
Why I chose to read this book:
This book looks at Neuroscience from the everyday perspective as how the brain functions rather than as a disease. Neuroscience look at the brain function in our everyday life.
What I learned from this book:
Neuroscience address the mind as a Brian, a biological organ. Brain mediate our daily lives from breathing, sleeping, making decisions, loving and learning. Neuroscience is starting to provide explanation for every aspect of behavior. Neuroscience is often taught in terms of disease, this is an excessively limited view. The brain is like a computer but everyday experience reveal way the brain operates in a most uncomputerlike fashion, i.e…. visual illusions, emotional decision making, irrational approach to problem solving and the unreliability of human memory. These phenomena reflect the evolutionary history of the brains, which has been optimized by natural selection to help you live to fight another day and to reproduce.
The brain changes throughout life. Many changes are preprogrammed in early development. Interplay of genes, environment and experience continues throughout life, active use of skills plays a major role in maintaining and enhancing function. As a biological organ, the brains is vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and it is kept healthy by physical exercise, which help the brain retain function and can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A second type of change in the brains depends on experience: memory. The brain’s many forms of memory uses different regions of the brains. The capacity to remember facts relies on the medial temporal lobes system for memory, which also handles spatial navigation: many memory tricks rely on commonality. Memory is fluid, information that seems to be permanently stored undergoes constant changes as memories are reprocessed and consolidated, so that a decade old memory may be vivid yet lack detail or context.
Our brain reacts to many extreme experience with the stress response, which temporary conserves resources. But persistent stress can have an unhealthy effect on growth and birth of neurons. Modern life includes work, a source of chronic stress, but also play, which triggers short term response, such as secretion of Adrenalin, but without creating a long term stress burden.
The Brian typically represent the body in a seamless fashion, but exceptional events can occur. Pain can even be felt in an extremity after it has been amputated, a symptom that is caused by lingering representations in the brain. Under extreme conditions, people often report incredible events, such as out of body or near death experiences. Paranormal events may be caused by seizures or insult to the Temporal – Parietal junction, a site where body image is represented.
Human have found ways to alter the brain’s function chemically. Mind altering drugs like Nicotine, Morphine, Prozac, Marijuana and Caffeine. Both legal and illegal drugs work by enhancing or interfering with the function of protein molecules that process neurotransmitter signals. Receptors for a particular neurotransmitter can often be found all over the brain, leading to side effects, sometimes catastrophic ones, such as addiction.
Brain variations established our individual characteristic. Human variation is personality and cognitive capacity is built on genetic foundations; therefore we share my such traits with our parents. Differences in cognitive ability are also seen across generations, a period during which the environments influence on development changes tremendously.
Human are social animals and are able to imagine the mental states of others. This capacity provides a key component for many group dynamics including religious belief. One component of this ” theory of mind” capacity may reside in the Insula, which is active in processing both one’s own emotional state and that of others.
Some areas of mental functions are only beginning to be probed. Our ability to adapt to changing circumstances, major life events, including blindness and losing a limb, do not affect long term happiness. Yet other life events have a lasting effect on happiness, such as gaining a life partner or losing one. An exciting frontier in the understanding of both happiness and mood, which are profoundly affected by regions in the brain core.
How will this book contribute to my success upon my release:
The knowledge gained from this book will help me understand and also deal with others better. I will be able to apply the knowledge to my volunteer teaching and mentoring services.