Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on Johnson's Mind Wide Open

Thoughts on
Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, by Steven Johnson

Enjoyed this book. Found it contained lots of useful "baby neuroscience" facts. Some of the ones that "stick" from it include the following:

* The Parts of the Brain

Nice discussion in terms of "Battling modules", similar in a sense to Freud's battling desires. Quoting from Wikipedia, "MacLean originally formulated his model in the 1960s and propounded it at length in his 1990 book The Triune Brain in Evolution. The triune brain consists of the reptilian complex, the paleomammalian complex (limbic system), and the neomammalian complex (neocortex), viewed as structures sequentially added to the forebrain in the course of evolution."

More on this. 

* Factoids on Brain Chemicals

Adrenaline -- causes coldness in extremities from blood withdrawal.
(Lying actually causes sweating which detected by electric lie detectors.)

Oxytocin -- the bonding hormone : "tend and befriend"

Cortisol -- the frayed edge

Serotonin -- rejection insensitivity
(Gives rise to more "risky" behavior and stimulated by prozac)

Endorphins (like morphine) & enkephalins ("head chems") -- natural highs.
(These are natural chemicals that bind same receptor as opium and were found after this receptor.)

Dopamine -- exploration & addiction.

* Links & Tags

[[* mindopen0mg *]] (email, delicious, blogger)

Delicious cluster:

Amazon review: