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Manual The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes in a Complex World

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That would be things like increasing mental reserve and cardiovascular exercise? EG: Absolutely.

And the rationale behind these cognitive training techniques is precisely as I said: in order to be effective, the menu of cognitive exercise has to be diverse. One needs a diverse menu of novel cognitive activities.

No single parlor activity like Sudoku or crossword puzzles or anything of that nature meets the requirement of diversity. What these cognitive exercises try to accomplish is a whole fleet of activities, each targeting a particular aspect of cognition, that in combination will cover the whole waterfront. The discovery of the microscope changed our ability to ascertain this micro-world, and the discovery of the telescope changed the face of astronomy. We now have neuroimaging tools which enable us to examine the processes in the brain more directly than was possible before.

In that sense, our field has acquired tools comparable to those which have propelled others to maturity in the centuries past.


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I believe that the development of such tools appropriate to brain research will be the next essential step in neuroscience becoming a truly mature science. BW: Do you think that in years, people will look upon our time — in the way we care for our brains, the way we treat mental illness, and psychopharmacology — in the same way we now look at medicine before the microscope: cringing at leeches and bloodletting and that sort of thing?

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The essence of progress is making things better, and the flipside of that is that when one looks back at the way things were in the past, they often look silly. BW: Do you believe in a previously untapped human potential that will be developed the more we understand our brains? EG: As a general proposition, yes. EG: It will. We are at the threshold of this new trend claiming its place in mainstream culture on par with physical fitness. EG: Well, what else do you expect me to say, given that I am already in that age bracket?

Am I expected to concede it is all a loss?


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Of course not. I say that in jest, but in reality the mental advantage of aging is in the accumulation of what I call patterns. Earlier today, a former student of mine called from Detroit. I gave him an instantaneous response because it immediately resonated with my experience. His case was not exactly like any case I had encountered, but sufficiently close to a number of cases to sufficiently adhere to a general template. So with age, some of us — not all of us — accumulate a vast library of such templates, which enable us to crack various seemingly thorny mental challenges without much mental effort.

Now, I said that some of us develop this mental repertoire. They are a product of mental labors.

Prefrontal Cortex

What do you think the limits of neuroplasticity are? EG: Well, nobody knows how to quantify it. But you broach an important point. Everything is finite, limited, and up to a point. When people say we can do various things to improve our health, physical well-being and mental well-being, it is always to a point. Beyond a certain point, we are dead. Whatever claims we make, we should always be aware of the finite nature of everything.

There are biological finalities that cannot be overturned.

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Skickas inom vardagar. Laddas ned direkt. Elkhonon Goldberg's groundbreaking The Executive Brain was a classic of scientific writing, revealing how the frontal lobes command the most human parts of the mind. Now he offers a completely new book, providing fresh, iconoclastic ideas about the relationship between the brain and the mind. In The New Executive Brain, Goldberg paints a sweeping panorama of cutting-edge thinking in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology, one that ranges far beyond the frontal lobes. Drawing on the latest discoveries, and developing complex scientific ideas and relating them to real life through many fascinating case studies and anecdotes, the author explores how the brain engages in complex decision-making; how it deals with novelty and ambiguity; and how it addresses moral choices.

PDF The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes in a Complex World

At every step, Goldberg challenges entrenched assumptions. For example, we know that the left hemisphere of the brain is the seat of languagebut Goldberg argues that language may not be the central adaptation of the left hemisphere. Apes lack language, yet many also show evidence of asymmetric hemispheric development.


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  • Goldberg also finds that a complex interaction between the frontal lobes and the amygdalebetween a recently evolved and a much older part of the braincontrols emotion, as conscious thoughts meet automatic impulses. The author illustrates this observation with a personal example: the difficulty he experienced when trying to pick up a baby alligator he knew to be harmless, as his amygdala battled his effort to extend his hand.

    In the years since the original Executive Brain, Goldberg has remained at the front of his field, constantly challenging orthodoxy.

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    In this revised and expanded edition, he affirms his place as one of our most creative and insightful scientists, offering lucid writing and bold, paradigm-shifting ideas. Passar bra ihop. Creativity Elkhonon Goldberg. The Wisdom Paradox Elkhonon Goldberg.