Read Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are by Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald Online


Neuroscientists once believed your brain was essentially "locked down" by adulthood. No new cells. No major changes. If you grew up depressed, angry, sad, aggressive, or nasty, you'd be that way for life. And, as you grew older, there'd be nowhere to go but down, as disease, age, or injury wiped out precious, irreplaceable brain cells. But over the past five, ten, twenty yNeuroscientists once believed your brain was essentially "locked down" by adulthood. No new cells. No major changes. If you grew up depressed, angry, sad, aggressive, or nasty, you'd be that way for life. And, as you grew older, there'd be nowhere to go but down, as disease, age, or injury wiped out precious, irreplaceable brain cells. But over the past five, ten, twenty years, all that's changed. Using fMRI and PET scanning technology, neuroscientists can now look deep inside the human brain and they've discovered that it's amazingly flexible, resilient, and plastic. Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are shows you what they've discovered and what it means to all of us. Through author Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald's masterfully written narrative and use stunning imagery, you'll watch human brains healing, growing, and adapting to challenges. You'll gain powerful new insights into the interplay between environment and genetics, begin understanding how people can influence their own intellectual abilities and emotional makeup, and understand the latest stunning discoveries about coma and "locked-in" syndrome. You'll learn about the tantalizing discoveries that may lead to cures for traumatic brain injury, stroke, emotional disorders, PTSD, drug addiction, chronic pain, maybe even Alzheimer's. Boleyn-Fitzgerald shows how these discoveries are transforming our very understanding of the "self," from an essentially static entity to one that can learn and change throughout life and even master the art of happiness....

Title : Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780137155163
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 177 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are Reviews

  • David
    2019-11-05 08:45

    This is a great book about what science of the brain is revealing. The first chapter was chilling, explaining how it is possible for a person to have absolutely no control over their physical body, to appear in a vegetative state, but to be completely cognizant of what is going on. Imagine hearing the doctor tell your family you will not recover and not being able to communicate at all. The very suggestion that such people may be able to communicate someday, via computers wired into the brain, is fascinating.I enjoyed that this book was written to people like me, that is average people with very little knowledge of the subject who want to learn more. In other words, if you want to learn about brain science, this book could be a good place to stop.I was also moved to read this book after reading Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. Where Harris interprets the science with a clear agenda, giving us a book more philosophical than scientific, Boleyn-Fitzgerald manages to educate us on the science without letting her own philosophy or religion play too large a role. That said, she does bring up a few challenging questions. For example, if mind-body dualism is true, as Christian theology has traditionally taught, than how come when certain injuries to the brain happen they affect the intellect? Specifically she talks of people whose right and left brains are severed, giving them two very different personalities. What does this mean for the idea of a soul? Perhaps for this reason, as the book progresses she increasingly refers to Buddhism. She clearly sees some parts of brain science affirming Buddhist teaching on meditation. Agree or disagree, I thought she brought up these issues in a fair and objective manner.Overall, a good book to check out to learn about neuroscience.

  • Adam Smith
    2019-11-19 11:41

    The brain is the central driving force behind the human race. It is what gave us the ability to move beyond our primal needs and take the world for our own. And yet, we barely understand what makes it tick, but slowly we are working to change that.This book is a series of case studies and theories present in the field of modern neurology. It can be a bit dense at times, but it is still interesting to learn about the varied theories and understandings relating to the brain. There are many fascinating things and there are many terrifying things, but above all there are still many wonderful mysteries remaining around the human brain.Good for those with an interest in the field. A bit tricky to follow at times and probably a bit boring, but worth reading if you're willing to stick with it.

  • Charlotte
    2019-11-08 05:04

    I found this book very interesting and thought-provoking. I wondered when my mother was in a coma prior to her death whether or not she knew I was there and if she could hear what I was saying. After reading this book, I now believe that she was aware of much of what was going on around her even when she was in a coma.The neuro-imaging technology will probably be used to help us in ways we hadn't thought possible. The author points out that we must be careful, though, not to carry the possibilities too far and make serious ethical mistakes. Thank you, Beatles (yes, the singing group) for making the CT scanners possible through the donation from your recording company.

  • Lindsay
    2019-11-16 08:54

    I thought the name of this book was a little deceptive, as I got the impression it would be on brain imaging, which to some extent it was, but it was more looking at discoveries on how the mind works, and how anxiety and outlooks on life can potentially be treated or adjusted. I thought it was a very interesting and thought provoking book on what exactly is going on with all those firing neurons in our skulls.

  • Daniela Romo
    2019-11-22 12:51

    It is interesting to think of how brain imaging might play an increasing role in the courtroom, and when it does if it will be considered a violation of the 5th Amendment as self-incrimination. Another interesting item - over half of people over 85 are affected by Alzheimer's Disease? That's scary!

  • Olga
    2019-11-17 07:41

    Very accessible and exciting even for non-scientists. Optimistic in terms of updating research on depression, PTSD, addiction, coma... I am lazy, and would have never found it on my own, but - thanks B&N - one day it was free for NOOK, and that's how I got it. Reads almost like a thriller.

  • Thomas Holbrook
    2019-12-06 09:57

    Learning how the brain works is fascinating. The possibility that humans can study the organ that, as is presently understood, makes possible the “study” itself is enough to boggle the “mind,” which is supposedly held in the brain. To glimpse a picture of the process of “the mind” holds the promise of mystery and wonder – how can one “see” what is immaterial (thoughts)? Because of technologies like functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, scientists can now “glimpse” what the brain looks like when the “mind” is in action. This book is not very long in pages, but is dense in content. The science discussed, hypotheses posed and the stunning progress being made toward an understanding of how the brain actually works holds those interested in such material as spellbound as a well-crafted novel. Those not as interested in such disciplines will not find this tome as intriguing, but will find the information they reap from reading it worth the time investment. There are literally pictures of the brain, taken by fMRI and three -dimensional PET scans, in “motion” (taken as the subject is given various tasks) contained in this book. It is from these scans and images that the understanding of how the brain actually works is being deepened and theories around how to retrain the brain after it has been harmed by almost any injury. To date, the only injuries not shown to be responsive to the treatments thus far developed have been those suffered from oxygen deprivation. The progress brought by the treatments and knowledge gained have given hope to those once thought to be injured beyond repair. It has been shown, in these scans that some individuals who would have once been considered as being in a “sustained vegetative state” (well defined in medicine and clearly explained within the book) are actually aware of their surroundings and are now being treated toward recovery rather than “sustaining.” This, were it the only benefit from this research, would be worth all the effort. The book ends with suggestions of how the reader can use the information gleaned from the research. The majority of the book is written using a lot of medical nomenclature but the “how to” section ending the book is written in with a “non-professional” reader in mind. Much of what is suggested is found in other literature dealing with the same subject (My Stroke of Insight, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, The Brain That Changes Itself). Exercises such as: mindfulness, breathing, meditation, eating well, the benefits of exercise, challenging one’s self regularly, develop an attitude of thankfulness and meaningful, healthy relationships all have shown to add to mental clarity, protect against dementia (including Alzheimer’s Disease) and keep the us “young” regardless of age. All of these exercises can be done easily, with minimal effort and can offer tremendous profits to one’s well-being.

  • Andres
    2019-11-13 05:07

    This is a great book about how being able to see the brain in action helps us confirm, disprove, or even further confuse long held assumptions about what exactly happens inside our skull.In seven chapters this slim but informative book helps us understand how various ways of peering into the active brain (MRI, PET scans, etc) are beginning to change (or at least questions) our accepted definitions of brain death, addiction, pain, pleasure, emotions and even of good and evil.The most interesting thing I read about here concerned the actual physical change in the brain that comes about from meditation. Though it isn't talked about in the book, it occurred to me that some people may discredit the idea of "New-age-y" practices (even with neuroimaging proof) due purely to long held biases yet at the same time find credible the work done to help sufferers of PTSD when in fact the results are exactly the same---a physical change in the brain that improves mental health.Each chapter reads like an extended article about one topic, so the book overall feels slightly disjointed and at times anemic or padded out. I wouldn't have minded something more meaty and detailed but there is still plenty here that is fascinating to learn.

  • Barbara
    2019-11-06 07:59

    A fascinating look at recent insights from nueroscience that are relevant to our every day lives. Although occasionally a little uncritical, this is a well-written and properly referenced book, so although it is written for the interested layperson, a scientifically knowledgeable reader can always follow up the primary literature to learn more. It concludes with a pitch encouraging us to take up meditation, which does indeed have some support in the science presented. Although this covered a lot of familiar ground for me as a regular reader of New Scientist, this is a quick read that remained interesting throughout and I did learn a few things. Most interesting for me was that some of the "mental hygiene" practices that I have come to on my own, and find helpful, coincide with the Budduhist concept of mindfulness. This has two implications for me: 1) I should probably at some point take the time to learn more about Buddhist meditation practices; 2) I will find it easier to talk with others about the practices that I find helpful if I describe them in the terminology of "mindfulness".

  • Jimmy
    2019-11-28 06:05

    I was drawn to this book because of my interest in Functional MRI technology. This book devotes a significant amount of material outlining some of the cutting edge research being done with this amazing technology (I do feel that this technology will find its way into almost every aspect of our lives in the near future). Another interesting topic is neuroplasticity, or the constant remodeling process that our brains go through. As a PT I have known form many years that the brain is plastic, however, new research is revealing that the extent of remodeling is much more extensive than previously thought. In fact, my brain is physically changing right now as I type this review. :) Current research that shows that passive thinking (i.e. daydreaming) decreases neural connections, while performing active tasks and learning new things creates new synapses. Also, people who suffer from chronic pain actually demonstrate brain atrophy. Anyway, If these topics seem interesting than I would recommend the book to you.

  • Judy
    2019-11-11 04:51

    This book is a quick survey of new discoveries about how the brain works, based on newer imaging techniques like fMRI scans and PET scans. When I was in school the best information about what brain structures were involved with what activities and disorders was based on studies of patients with injuries to particular parts of the brain. The more recent techniques allow researchers to actually see what brain areas are involved and in some cases to infer what is going on there.The book was published in 2010 and of course based on research several years older, so it's not up to the minute. But it covers a wide range of topics in human mental life, such as emotion, addiction, chronic pain, meditation, dementia, empathy, and more. The new methods in many cases has completely changed ideas about what is happening in these processes. There is a detailed focus on what happens during meditation that I found quite interesting. It has an extensive bibliography and in many cases internet links for those who want more detail on the research.

  • David
    2019-11-25 09:58

    Amazon Kindle eBook version. Less than half way through this book you'll wish to see the diagrams in color. Kindle ebook makes those diagrams useless.Read the Introduction and you will get the essence of the new research and neuroscience techniques that can help us Boomers retrain the mind. The research starts with the victims of trauma. Can you imagine being fully aware of your doctor and family members deciding to pull the plug? You can't even blink your eyes in self-defense. Locked-in syndrome can be detected by MRI scans. Ask for it in your living will. You may still want to pull the plug, but give your brain a few hours or days of numerous scans and evaluations.

  • Spyros
    2019-11-06 11:38

    More journalistic than scientific -although this is an asset too- yet manages to quite lucidly explain, and expand upon, the topics the author cherry picks. Novices will learn about some of the frontier neuroscience, and readers of the field or professionals may savor a lot of passages too with details they might be unaware of. The pictures are great and very worth studying although they are hardly enough in this slim tone. So all in all a rather good book from an author I 'd very pleasantly read again.

  • Cathy
    2019-11-23 04:54

    Starts fascinating, with lots of information about brain plasticity and hair-raising accounts of "locked-in syndrome" (people who are paralyzed for exteneded periods of time, but fully conscious and aware of what is going on -- including doctors discussing whether to take them off life support). But halfway through it devolves into an odd sort of infomercial for Buddhist meditation. I have nothing against Buddhism or meditation, but that's not what I was looking for in a book nominally about neuroscience.

  • Michaeld
    2019-11-11 08:47

    This was a fairly light method of entering the brain and understanding the various functions within the brain. The techniques used to float through the text and help the reader understand the information was tremendous - in my opinion.Out of the many dense techniques for educating the public on the brain, this was a very fluid book with a lot of facts that are easily understood. It matched a lot of what I have learned through my education and it provided images to help define that information. Useful book for the student seeking useful information.

  • Joseph T Farkasdi
    2019-11-26 04:54

    I have been an observing student of the self-evidence of life ever since my experiences in the war torn desert of various places of this world. The effect this had on me, in both body and mind, has led me down the path of studiously observing my own mind in action. This book didn't present new self-evident truths for me. But, it did help me to see what is actually happening from a neuroscience perspective. Thus, only validating the self-evident natural law truths I've been discerning through the haze of social perspective beliefs.

  • Ashley Davis
    2019-12-06 09:03

    This book is pretty awesome. It covers a range of topics that stem from a progressive look at neurobiology and psychology entering different fields of society. Law and culture, religion, even the idea of self are questioned in these new findings that tie the brains chemical imbalances to the way we act on a daily basis. Just a few chemicals can separate us from Buddhist monks and serial killers, believers or non-believers (or both!). Highly recommend if you feel like a good read to stir up some philosophical questions.

  • Rachel McQuoid
    2019-11-12 04:55

    first time ive finished a book in a day in a LONG TIME!couldn't get enough of this, i find the brain fascinating anyway but this was well written, informative and at the same time quite comical. i really liked how the author added little anecdotes to help the reader understand in a different a more realistic only criticism would be that the chapter showing the actual brain images wasnt too clear on the kindle addition due to it being black and white but other than that i thoroughly enjoyed this.

  • Deanna Against Censorship
    2019-11-15 04:45

    The more we know about the mind, the more questions we have. Interesting, thought-provoking book. For anyone interested in the brain and its functions and effects. How we train the mind, whether intentionally or accidently is one focus of the book. There are others. Pain control. Pleasure awareness. So much covered in this little book. Worth reading. Will make you want to know more about the subject.

  • Kirk Mahoney
    2019-11-29 04:39

    As someone who worked in PET research for ten years, I was delighted to see the collection of brain scans in one of the chapters. However, I found much of the science to be dubious, and I recommend that readers also or instead read Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience. Between five stars for the scans and one star for the dubious science, I give it three stars. The author did a good job of portraying claims by others; just take those claims with a grain of salt.

  • Dee ReneeChesnut
    2019-11-06 04:48

    This book was free when I downloaded it to my Nook from I have a general interest in neuroscience. Fortunately, this author has fifteen years experience writing about scientific research and technology topics for the general public. She does an excellent job of explaining and moving the narrative along. I recommend it for readers who may have an interest in the subject.

  • Patti
    2019-12-04 11:00

    Fascinating book! All about the brain and what they have discovered so far. For instance a person who doctors consider "vegetative" maybe able to communicate after all. And the CT scanner was developed because of the record sales of the Beatles. Their record sales were so incredible it allowed their record company to fund the research for the person who developed the CT scanner

  • Beth
    2019-11-19 11:08

    Great in the beginning, good in the middle, fair at the end. Terrific bibliography, though--lots more to read! I've found myself telling a lot of people about some of the case studies in this book, and most people are pretty amazed. Even the ones who aren't nerds.

  • Dimitra
    2019-11-20 07:00

    Found it interesting ...presented in a way that layperson can understand...goes into Functional MRI and many facets of the mind/brain from trauma injuries, AD, meditation etc....a relatively short book....I read it on Kindle Fire... otherwise do not get full impact of color images of brain

  • Mary Gaynor
    2019-11-26 11:55

    I found this to be really fascinating! I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in how the mind works. What meditation does to your brain. The use of MRI machines to follow brain activity is really intriguing.

  • Bilal Quadri
    2019-11-05 05:58

    Finishes strongThe book starts a little slow but gains momentum along the way, finishing strong with a thought-provoking chapter on what brain-imaging has revealed about our sense of "self." If you're into neuroscience, this book won't disappoint.

  • Leanne
    2019-11-16 12:08

    I'm generally fascinated by books on how the brain works, but this one fell flat. The first chapter was okay, but after that, I just couldn't stay interested in it, and found myself looking longingly at other books I had waiting for me. So finally I abandoned it.

  • Jennifer
    2019-11-12 06:50

    Fantastic glimpse, makes me want to read every research posted in the book. It's a pretty easy read.

  • Linda Mccaghren
    2019-11-13 08:01

    This is a book that I won't read cover to cover in one sitting. I will be revisiting this book several times inbetween reading other novels. So far, though, I find the research fascinating.

  • Meg
    2019-11-28 07:38

    Reads like a newspaper article promoting meditation as the new cure-all