JOSEPH LEDOUX SYNAPTIC SELF PDF

Shelves: permanent-collection , mental-health , neuroscience In simple terms, this book by neuroscientist LeDoux states that we are who we are because of how our brains are connected. I have to admit to skimming through some parts that were a little above my head, In simple terms, this book by neuroscientist LeDoux states that we are who we are because of how our brains are connected. I have to admit to skimming through some parts that were a little above my head, but much of it is perfectly understandable to laypeople, or people in the medical profession. LeDoux points to the research done so far on the brain, and adds to the historical knowledge his own research.

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Shelves: permanent-collection , mental-health , neuroscience In simple terms, this book by neuroscientist LeDoux states that we are who we are because of how our brains are connected. I have to admit to skimming through some parts that were a little above my head, In simple terms, this book by neuroscientist LeDoux states that we are who we are because of how our brains are connected.

I have to admit to skimming through some parts that were a little above my head, but much of it is perfectly understandable to laypeople, or people in the medical profession.

LeDoux points to the research done so far on the brain, and adds to the historical knowledge his own research. He works mainly on the workings of the brain in the presence of fear and states of anxiety, and his findings are based on this research.

I had a little trouble reading about the various ways that scientists discover things about the brain. Much of the research is done through animal studies, and often involves destroying parts of the brain to see what happens. Being a person who has dealt with anxiety and depression, as well as chronic low self-esteem, this book had much that interested me.

Now I know why. I also feel a sense of optimism, that I really can change my thinking patterns with some hard work. The brain learns things and it can be hard to unlearn those patterns. This is why I feel that meditation, yoga and overall stress reduction is going to be very important to my overall mental health.

Psychology and neuroscience are really trying to accomplish the same thing. The hippocampus is known to help with learning and memory processing. The cells in the dentate gyrus normally have high rates of neurogenesis, or growth of new cells which may be key in the forming of new memories or learning. In the presence of high cortisol, these cells do not regenerate. The brains of people with high cortisol have smaller than average hippocampus regions. With therapy or drugs, these regions typically grow again.

LeDoux points out that we learn explicitly and implicitly, that is consciously and unconsciously. While we may not be able to control the implicit learning, we certainly can have an effect by purposely thinking in certain ways, a la cognitive behavioral therapy. My next book is going to be a book on optimism by Michael J.

It is very technical, and although it has the appearance of being accessible to the layperson, it truly is not. I have a little background in brain physiology but still found myself having to reread paragraphs and passages to clarify what LeDoux was talking about. On the upside of things, the chapters on the emotional brain were a little easier to get through. Either I need more neuroscience classes or LeDoux needs to dumb it down to make it accessible to the non-scientists among us.

That everything is being dumbed down and simplified to reach a wider audience and keep things interesting. I say all that to preface the fact that this is NOT one of those books. Synaptic Self, while almost certianly a simplified version of what Ledoux understands about the field, is not for the lay reader. Ledoux talks about neurons, action potentials, neurotransmitters and neuromodulation, different areas and structures in the brain, synaptic plasticity, etc Connections between neurons, known as synapses, are the main channels of information flow and storage in the brain.

Most of what the brain does is accomplished by synaptic transmission between neurons, and by calling upon the information encoded by past transmission across synapses. The rest of the book proceeds to delve into the mechanics of this. But while there is some serious neuroscience content in here, Ledoux does a respectable job of zooming in and out and speaking at whatever level is appropriate to get his point across.

Ledoux integrates both psychology and philosophy into the conversation where applicable, and has a great natural ability to help the reader make sense of the more difficult issues. And that if we want to understand how the brain works and how we become who we are, we need to understand how these connections are formed, and how they can be changed.

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Book Summary: Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are by Joseph Ledoux

Print The Essence Brain development is an integrative process, where the neural circuits that preserve our capabilities to think, emote, motivate, influence, and interact with each other originate from neurotransmitter, made up of proteins, that are transcribed from genes; all which being modulated by environmental exposure. LeDoux explains how through these systems, learning and memory are modified to create all that we conceive to be our selves. The brain makes the self. The brain, Ledoux argues, is the hub for all conscious experiences, and to better understand unordinary states of that experience, such as those that arise from mental illness, we ought to consider the wealth of knowledge from the synapse. My notes are a reflection of the journal write up above. Written informally, the notes contain a mesh and mix of quotes and my own thoughts on the book. Sometimes, to my own fault, quotes are interlaced with my own words.

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SYNAPTIC SELF

I had just had dinner in the French Quarter after a long day of data digestion and schmoozing at the Society of Neuroscience Conference, an annual get-together of thirty thousand or so brain researchers from around the world. The sound of Dixieland tunes, the aroma of stale beer, and the sight of scantily clad women dancing on runways inside dark bars had me contemplating the years and life changes that had come and gone since I myself had weaved down Bourbon Street during my college days in Louisiana. It has, for good reason, focused on how specific processes, like perception, memory, or emotion, work in the brain, but much less on how our brains make us who we are. Maybe some or even many pieces of the puzzle have already been discovered, and just have to be assembled into a coherent whole. Actually, I believe this might be the case. A lot of information is available about how the brain works, and while it may not yet be sufficient to fully explain persons, it should certainly encourage us to begin thinking about the problem. Connections between neurons, known as synapses, are the main channels of information flow and storage in the brain.

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Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are

Confined though I am within my own solipsistic nutshell, I know I am more than the sum of a billion-odd parts, and suspect that the same might be true of my fellow humans as well. But between sensation and experience yawns a dreadful gap, long lamented by philosophers, and latterly by neuroscientists too. His book is a well-written and commendably comprehensive survey of many of the big ideas in modern neuroscience. It is manifestly not an answer to the question posed by its title. The operation of this interface in emotional and goal directed behaviours and the mechanisms by which it is changed by experience are the great themes of his book.

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