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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


From Mental Health to Behavioral Health…and back?


Know Thy­self: Well-Being and Sub­jec­tive Expe­ri­ence (Cere­brum):

Ancient Greek philoso­phers were fond of the apho­rism, “know thy­self,” inscribed above the entrance of one of the Tem­ples of Apol­lo at Del­phi. One expres­sion of this tra­di­tion, vari­ably attrib­uted to Socrates and Pla­to, is that “the unex­am­ined life is not worth liv­ing.” Anoth­er, attrib­uted to Aris­to­tle, is “to know thy­self is the begin­ning of wis­dom.” And, accord­ing to Socrates, the path to such self-knowl­edge is through inner reflec­tion, or what we now call intro­spec­tion.

Thou­sands of years lat­er, pro­fes­sions arose to help peo­ple know them­selves bet­ter…(how­ev­er) Behav­ioral, cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral, and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal approach­es have all tra­di­tion­al­ly assumed that suc­cess­ful treat­ment must go beyond, or beneath, sub­jec­tive experience—that the way to improve men­tal health is to change prob­lem­at­ic behav­ior or the infor­ma­tion-pro­cess­ing func­tions and/or brain phys­i­ol­o­gy under­ly­ing it. Reflect­ing this view, insur­ance com­pa­nies today are more like­ly to refer to “behav­ioral health” than “men­tal health.” But per­haps this assump­tion, which equates the behav­ioral with the men­tal, needs to be reconsidered…the idea that the sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ence of fear is a hard-wired state inher­it­ed from ani­mals is not uni­ver­sal­ly accept­ed by psy­chol­o­gists or neu­ro­sci­en­tists. How, then, might fear come about if not via an ancient sub­cor­ti­cal cir­cuit? It seems worth con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that it aris­es the same way as oth­er kinds of con­scious expe­ri­ences…

The sci­ence of sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ence has come a long way in recent years. While it is still about turn­ing the mind in on itself, a rig­or­ous body of sci­en­tif­ic research on con­scious­ness is emerg­ing. Applied to clin­i­cal prob­lems, mod­ern under­stand­ing of con­scious­ness could pave the way for more pre­cise and valid assess­ments of human emo­tions and pro­vide clin­i­cians with new and improved strate­gies for treat­ing emo­tion­al suf­fer­ing.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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