A popular best-selling author on self-help books and television, Jeffrey Schwartz is equally at home discussing the science of cognitive behavioral therapy with fans of the television show 60 Minutes and NPR, or writing about personalities such as Muhammad Ali’s Ali”S”The Greatest. Now Schwartz and Begley, with brilliant contributions from renowned scientists, have joined forces to demystify the brain, defeat superstition, and help us recognize where self-hypnosis can damage our brain, as well as how belief forms, how learning can recalibrate the faulty brain circuits that cause depression, how new learning can change the brain’s architecture, and how the brain is being used to cure heroin addiction. At the core of Afl-The Neuroscience of Change is the concept that the brain is plastic, able to change its thoughts and behaviors. Schwartz and Begley illustrate how the brain’s state of arousal, its ability to learn, and even the thoughts it has are shaped by the environment. By changing human experience, psychologist Aaron Beck, Schwartz argues, changed the way we think. Learning, for example, affected the brain as we developed the ability to learn. Memory formation also can affect brain structure through reward circuits. These emotional reactions affect the brain in a way that promotes learning and experience. Schwartz’s book shows how thinking and learning work, how they initiate and guide behavior, and why the brain’s overall state of arousal influences the way we experience events and relations. The authors use examples from clinical and psychological research to illustrate these ideas and highlight areas of controversy.
Throughout the book, Schwartz and Begley explore the extensive research on cognitive and emotional development as well as the dozens of studies on the plasticity of the human brain. They show that thinking skills developed early in life continue to influence the brain throughout life, and that these skills can be used to recognize and overcome temptations to be sick. They also debunk the common myths about the brain; in one example, Schwartz explains how the brain’s capacity to change encourages us to discuss any number of problems from hair loss to depression with a family member while others watch television. Schwartz and Begley show how the brain is adapted to develop new networks during the process of learning. And they explain how a change in emotional state not only transforms the brain, but alters our interactions with our environment. Infusion of serotonin, they argue, greats positive associations in the brain. d2c66b5586