Tom alerts us (thanks!) of a fun book review in the New York Times today, by Abigail Zuger, titled The Brain: Malleable, Capable, Vulnerable, on the book The Brain That Changes Itself (Viking, $24.95) by psychiatrist Norman Doidge. Some quotes:
- “In bookstores, the science aisle generally lies well away from the self-help section, with hard reality on one set of shelves and wishful thinking on the other. But Norman Doidge’s fascinating synopsis of the current revolution in neuroscience straddles this gap: the age-old distinction between the brain and the mind is crumbling fast as the power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility.”
- “So it is forgivable that Dr. Doidge, a Canadian psychiatrist and award-winning science writer, recounts the accomplishments of the “neuroplasticians,” as he calls the neuroscientists involved in these new studies, with breathless reverence. Their work is indeed mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff, with implications, as Dr. Doidge notes, not only for individual patients with neurologic disease but for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history.”
- “Research into the malleability of the normal brain has been no less amazing. Subjects who learn to play a sequence of notes on the piano develop characteristic changes in the brain’s electric activity; when other subjects sit in front of a piano and just think about playing the same notes, the same changes occur. It is the virtual made real, a solid quantification of the power of thought.”
- “The new science of the brain may still be in its infancy, but already, as Dr. Doidge makes quite clear, the scientific minds are leaping ahead.”
Here you have some of our interviews with a few “scientific minds” that have, for years, been “leaping ahead” beyond “positive thinking” into “positive training”:
- Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Brain Fitness Programs and Cognitive Training. Dr. Goldberg is a neuropsychologist and clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. He was a student and close associate of the great neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, and has written The Executive Brain and The Wisdom Paradox.
- On Cognitive Simulations for Basketball Game-Intelligence: Interview with Prof. Daniel Gopher. Dr. Gopher is Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Human Factors Engineering at Technion, Israel’s Institute of Science, and scientific advisor for IntelliGym.
- Memory training and attention deficits: interview with Professor Bradley Gibson, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Notre Dame, and Director of the Perception and Attention Lab there
- On Working Memory Training and RoboMemo: Interview with Dr. Torkel Klingberg, professor at Karolinska Institute, and director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, part of the Stockholm Brain Institute. He is also the scientific advisor for Cogmed Working Memory Training program (RoboMemo).
- An ape can do this. Can we not? with Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University, and author of The Art of Changing the Brain.
And a couple of related blog posts: