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The brain that changes itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science. byDoidge Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science [ebook] by Norman Doidge (epub/mobi). EPUB: Norman Doidge. "The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.":usaascvb.info
Given this, hope of future improvement is very significant and, we suggest, may be part of why Doidge has been so popular. Pickersgill: Right, in what sense? First, they can be regarded as a form of expectation management, wherein those living with long-term conditions reflexively guard themselves against optimism enjoined by therapeutic promising in order to protect themselves from possible disappointment on chronic illness and trajectories of expectations, see Bury, Second, and perhaps more pertinently, they can be understood in terms of the knowledge non-scientists may possess about the institutions of science, including the fallibility of research and the hyping of claims, particularly in popular fora cf.
Based on our data — as summarised in this sub-section and that which preceded it — we suggest that changes in the brain throughout the life-course were part of the experiential knowledge some of our participants had about their own bodies cf. Busby et al. Cerebral changes, in both the long and short term, were understood to be generated by some other aspects of the body i. In the next section, we continue this discussion of the changing brain through primarily data from our focus groups with different professionals.
The changing brain in professional practice The interest of brain science to professionals The interest in, and explanatory and legitimatory function of, scientific ideas around the changing brain that was evident within the narratives of some patients was also apparent in the focus groups with professionals. F1, foster care professionals group Another discussed lectures and workshops she had been to in this area, framing these as events that had furthered her interest in the brain and, indeed, stimulated her to accept our invitation to join a focus group.
For example, F1 foster care professionals group found the courses she attended valuable in that the neuroscientific content kind of explained it [her professional experiences] a bit better. F2, foster care professionals group Counsellors too noted the potential utility of neuroscience in enhancing their practice through its empirical claims regarding the negative changes to the brain that might result from traumatic experiences.
As one participant described: [T]he main thing for me really, in the work that I do, is the stuff around trauma and how you know the pathways get broken and […] how you can kind of re-forge those links and re-process trauma and get it put into the right part of the brain. F3, counsellors group Research on the changing brain was also judged to be important in that it buttressed the epistemological claims of these professionals against those who might question their expertise. Attachment theory, which has origins in psychoanalysis and developmental psychology, is a key example of this: The way that [the foster care organisation] […] is beginning to organise its post-approval training very much ties up the ideas of trauma and loss, processing and attachment ideas, so our carers are introduced in pre-approval training to, to the idea that brain development will be affected by, by trauma and loss.
M1, foster care professionals group Yet, from the focus group discussion, it was not apparent that practice per se had shifted in response to neuroscience, even if the concepts understood to structure and justify it had done. I just did what I do. Rather than having debates about neuroscience. M1 foster care professionals group The data presented in this sub-section underscores how scientific discourses concerning the changing brain become hybridised and embedded within some kinds of professional learning to help justify current theory and practice; it also suggests that neurobiological research is perhaps and only to some slight extent redirecting the concerns of foster care workers at least, in the eyes of these participants.
Dumit, Such images are encountered through meetings, training and the popular media. Neuroscientific ideas about for instance the plasticity of the brain cannot be presumed to translate unproblematically into professional praxis: they must be actively and selectively put to work, and may be reshaped in the process.
Professional scepticism As we have seen, ideas about brain changes were important to some of the professionals who participated in this research. Yet, scepticism with regards to knowledge claims was also in evidence. This dialectic between engagement and scepticism was most apparent within discussion about education, and hence especially clear in the focus group conducted with teachers thus, that dataset is a particular focus of this sub-section. For the teachers, the idea that the brain could change through the life-course was a serious business that they were exposed to through educational guidance and recommendations.
Yet, the principles of Brain Gym were not regarded as translating well into classroom practice. This is suggestive of both the compelling nature of ideas connected with the brain, and the degree to which these are not unique but instead merely one of many cultural enchantments that can be experimented with by social actors and then set aside. Even when teachers feel directed to undertake activities such as Brain Gym in the classroom, doubts about the facility of these to enhance learning through changing and developing neural pathways endured.
The reaction she reports overlaps closely with the content and nature of the discussion that occurred with the focus group with teachers described above. Such comments do not necessarily reflect professional resistance to neuro science per se, although they do highlight a lack of time and interest in ideas of brain training, linked to scepticism about its utility cf.
Conclusion The emergence of neuroplasticity discourse has been compelling to many who work within biomedicine Rees, ; Rubin, At the same time, these ideas have found traction within a range of popular media Pitts-Taylor, ; Thornton, New scientific discourses of brain plasticity provided one framework for articulating lived experience, but other biomedical vocabularies e.
The promissory aspect to scientific findings around plasticity and similar claims regarding the changeable nature of the brain within popular neuroscience as discussed in the introduction is reflected in and perhaps in part produced by professional activities e. In the process, older ideas about the psychology of learning and behavioural development appear to be reframed, at least partially, within a neurobiological idiom.
This at once legitimises existing practice, whilst also potentially redirecting it e. Within the data presented we also see traces of scepticism regarding the promise of plasticity. Here and more generally, for patients this may manifest as a careful managing of expectations: hopes formed in order to assert control and certainty over the biographical disruption of serious neurological disorders Browner and Preloran, and carefully weighed up against the need for prudence in order to protect against the subjective distress of profound disappointment should expected therapeutic advances fail to materialise.
Likewise, for professionals especially, teachers , experience of everyday work and familiarity with its rhythms, challenges and restrictions may create scepticism and even distrust cf. Pickersgill, In this respect, whilst the concept of brain plasticity has been understood as a tool of governance cf. The data on which our analysis draws is deliberately diverse in order to explore some of the heterogeneity of contemporary engagements with ideas about the brain. Further, as noted in our methodology section, it samples populations who were expected to have some pre-existing interest in neuroscience — and a different sampling strategy might have yielded different results.
Yet, based on our data, we can nevertheless make conceptual reflections that can be explored in future work, using a range of case studies. In particular, we suggest that scientific knowledge on its own is insufficient to transform conceptualisations of selfhood or remake professional practice.
Of course, scientific constructs, such as ideas about the brain, do filter into and shape contemporary culture and potentially provide new ways of explaining experience that might ultimately become taken-for-granted means of comprehending the world and subjective experience.
However, for this to occur, we submit that any changes must necessarily emerge from a reciprocal interaction between the lived experience of embodied individuals, existing cultural frames, and prominent scientific discourses.
Such processes are complex, and likely do not proceed with the immediacy implied by some of the more hyperbolic claims regarding the intrinsic import of neuro science for how we understand our selves. Acknowledgments We are very grateful to all our focus group participants for generously giving of their time, and to Epilepsy Scotland, Headway, and the Scottish Dementia Working Group for their help with recruitment.
He is interested in the social and ethical issues associated with emerging medical technologies, the commercialisation of biotechnology and the implications of contemporary neuroscience. His previous research has examined the development of gene therapy, pharmacogenetics, and regenerative medicine.
He has previously organised a UK ESRC seminar series on neuroscience and society, and is currently researching cognitive enhancement. Her research in the sociology of health and illness spans the social aspects of genetics, stem cell research, and neuroscience, as well as families, health and illness across the life-course.
References Allen G. History of the Human Sciences — London: Routledge. Transcultural Psychiatry 50 2 : — London: Penguin. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Bingley: Emerald, pp. Journal of Neuroscience — Critical Public Health — Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Public Understanding of Science 7: 41— Social Studies of Science — Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. New York: Fordham University Press. Bodybuilding, drugs and risk. A review of the evidence. Public Understanding of Science — Nature — The Sociological Review — Annual Review of Neuroscience — Not in United States?
Choose your country's store to see books available for download. What is neuroplasticity?
Is it possible to change your brain? An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain.
Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed.
Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
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