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Susan Greenfield

The private life of the brain

There has been much argument concerning the nature of consciousness and the mind. In 'The private life of the brain' Susan Greenfield avoids getting bogged down in such philosophising (in fact she is dismissive of non-physical ideas of the mind) and bases her ideas on what can actually be observed. She puts forward the idea of the 'neural correlate of consciousness', saying that different numbers of neurons being involved results in different states of consciousness. If you've ever wondered about the workings of your mind then you'll find that this hypothesis can explain a lot. The book requires no prior knowledge of the subject and is well worth reading.

Greenfield's ideas started with the question of why we take things so seriously when it would seem more fun just to 'live for the moment'. Her answer is that to live our lives to the full we need to do both. Thus as children we have fewer neurons operating together, and so we have a more spontaneous outlook on life, but as we grow older we try to make more sense of the world, which requires more neurons and a more serious viewpoint. Greenfield also examines abnormal states of mind - the use of drugs may reduce the size of the neural correlate, while if too many neurons become correlated then we enter a state of depression.

Product Description
"Drawing on many different sources–the effects of neurological disorders and injuries, the actions of drugs, the character of thought in dreams, in schizophrenia, in reverie, and in childhood–Susan Greenfield has given us a synthesis which is challenging, original, readable, and personal."–Oliver Sacks

How does the human brain produce your private world?

In this groundbreaking exploration, neuroscientist and author Susan Greenfield demystifies the private life of the brain. She examines the physical basis of our emotions and searches for the answer to one of the most enduring mysteries in modern science: How does the brain create a unique, subjective experience for each one of us?

Utilizing cutting-edge research and compelling personal anecdotes, Greenfield reveals that emotions, triggered by individual life experiences, are the very foundation upon which our brains build our unique minds. In this absorbing, lyrical exploration, Dr. Greenfield presents a provocative new theory that provides an illuminating glimpse into the human brain and reveals the astonishing essence of who we are.

"This is one of those rare books that can make a reader happy to have been led to think."–Booklist