Saturday, July 8, 2023

Review of The Neuroscience of You: How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours by Chantel Prat

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Genre = Psychology
Book Club Event = Book List (12/16/2023)

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“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. 

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•What shapes thinking and behavior? 
•Nature or nurture?
•Why is each brain different?
•What is normal or typical? 
•How does information get interpreted?
•How do people react to the same external stimuli? 
•How has the brain evolved? 
•How to think about reality?
•How do experience influence the individual? 
•What are neurotransmitters? 
•Are you left brain or right brain? 
•Do taxi drivers have different brains?
•How informative are the twin studies? 
•How does lopsidedness effect the brain?
•What is the effect of dopamine?
•What is the effect of serotonin? 
•How to develop curiosity? 
•Is mind control real?
•How to focus? 
•How much energy does the brain use? 
•Do people behave the way they think they behave? 
•Can another individual be known?  

Book Details
Publisher:             Dutton [Penguin Random House LLC]
Edition ISBN:      9781524746612
Pages to read:       237
Publication:          2022
1st Edition:           2022
Format:                  eBook 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          5
Overall          5