The Private Life of the Brain

By Susan Greenfield


How do our unique personalities emerge from our anatomically identical physical brains? What gives rise to our emotions? Why do some drugs make us ecstatic while others make us miserable?

For centuries, the most elusive and tantalizing questions about how the human mind works were left to the esoteric realm of philosophers. But in the last decade, there has finally been an explosion of interest from those who study the physical brain.

In this groundbreaking scientific exploration, internationally acclaimed neuroscientist and author Susan Greenfield demystifies the private life of the brain. Embarking on an excursion deep inside the human brain, Greenfield takes us beyond the intricate tangle of cells, electrical impulses, and molecules to examine the physical basis of our emotions and search for the answer to one of the most enduring mysteries in modern science: How is a unique, subjective experience generated in each one of us?

Informed by years of cutting-edge research, as well as compelling personal anecdotes that we can all relate to, Greenfield reveals that emotions, triggered by individual life experiences, are the very foundation upon which our brains build our unique minds. Offering us a brain scientist’s perspective on the intricate dance of emotions and cognitive abilities, Greenfield asserts that this extraordinary sense of the self is inextricably bound to the often mercurial world of emotions.

Rich in insights from such diverse realms as neuroscience, pharmacology, psychology, philosophy, and everyday life, The Private Life of the Brain traces the life of our mind and reveals how our childhood experiences; intense emotions like fear, depression, and euphoria; and the drugs that induce these extreme feelings dramatically affect who we are. She argues that emotions exist at the core of our selves to a greater or lesser degree, depending on how much we are using or losing our mind at any given moment.

Timely and provocative, The Private Life of the Brain is a tour de force that provides an eye-opening look through the authoritative lens of neuroscience. Captivating for novices and experts alike, this intriguing book presents an enlightening journey into the human brain for anyone who has ever pondered the mystery of who we are and how the brain works.

===== From the back cover:

What is happening in the brain when we drink too much alcohol, get high on Ecstasy or experience road rage?

Emotion, says internationally acclaimed neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, is the building block of consciousness. As our minds develop we create a personalized inner world based on our experiences. But during periods of intense emotion, such as anger, fear or euphoria, we can literally lose our mind, returning to the mental state we experienced as infants. challenging many preconceived notions, Susan Greenfield’s ground-breaking book seeks to answer one of science’s most enduring mysteries: how our unique sense of self is created.

===== Contents =====

1. The Idea
2. The Story So Far
3. The Child
4. The Junkie
5. The Nightmare
6. The Depressive
7. The Human Condition
8. The Answer?
Appendix: The Reality of a Neural Correlate of Consciousness

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