This book review was written by Eugene Kernes
“Every single life experience changes your brain. Some of the changes are inconsequential and others are incremental. But on rare occasions, for better or for worse, a single event can change the way we work, forever.” – Chantel Prat, Introductions, Page 30
“Whether your brain relies on the forest or the trees to figure out what’s going on, the part I find most remarkable about this is that we don’t walk around feeling confused all the time, despite the fact that we’re constantly faced with incomplete or ambiguous information. The reason for this is that your brain simply fills in the blanks, using different types of information and computations to figure out what’s happening. And as you’ll learn throughout this book, this creates ample opportunity for different ways of interpreting the same input. Using its different mechanisms for understand the world, your brain builds a more concrete and complete story than it actually has the data to support. And I’m not talking only about how your brain interprets the stories it reads. I’m talking about the stories it creates as it produces your experience of reality.” – Chantel Prat, Chapter 1: Lopsided, Page 66
“One problem with this brain design is that it creates a lot of noise. And the more chemical messages there are floating around in the background, the more difficult it is for any listening neuron to detect a whispered signal from its neighbor. Additionally, in a perfect world, each neuron’s chemical message should correspond to some time-locked event in either your outer or inner world. But if that message isn’t received immediately, it can continue to echo around in your brain. And as the time increases between when a message is sent and when it’s received, so does the chance that the message is no longer relevant. As you might imagine, this creates a completely different type of noise.” – Chantel Prat, Chapter 2: Mixology, Page 76
Is This An Overview?
Thinking and behavioral responses are shaped by a mixture of biology and experience, a mixture of nature and nurture. Influenced by how the brain works, the design of the brain. Each brain can better handle problems that its more suited for. Each brain is different, which means that each brain processes information differently. Leading to different understandings. Different ways that information is interpreted within the broader context. Different interpretations of the same information, creates difficulty in trying to understand other people. Not only do different people respond differently to the same external stimuli, but the same individual can respond differently to the same external stimuli. It takes a lot of effort to understand other individuals.
How Does The Brain Influence Thinking?
The brain was evolutionary designed to adapt. To learn and adapt to the changing environment. The brain reconfigures its operations to do different tasks. The brain constantly fills in incomplete and ambiguous information. Different brains, interpret information differently. Creating different experiences of reality. The individual is an active creator of reality.
The brain causes thinking, feeling, and behavior. Those response were not determined at birth, and are capable of change. Responses that are a combination of biology and experiences. Every experience changes the brain. Sometimes the changes are inconsequential or incremental. Sometimes a single event changes a person’s life forever.
There are many neurotransmitters that drive thinking, feeling, and behaving. The various chemical messages can create a lot of noise. Each can influence the individual, but their influence depends on the environment, and how other communication systems are working in the brain.
Different parts of the brain work together to understand information. Brain parts specialize and adept, allowing better performance.
What Is Normal?
As every brain is different, it is very difficult to identify what is considered normal or typical. One criteria of what is typical, can be described as the frequency a brain feature occurs. Another criteria is functionality, defined by how the design feature works for a person in an environment. What matters is what can be done with the brain.
No individual fits into an average representative. Failure to understand difference leads to incomplete data and incorrect conclusions about brain design.
The book does not provide definite answers. Rather, the book raises more questions about the ideas. There are various critiques of how phycological experiments were done before, and how they changed and improved. Providing various limitations about what is known about the brain. The purpose of the book is to provide a background to understanding the brain, to provide basic information needed for the reader to understand their own brain.