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The Private Life of the Brain

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  194 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
What is happening in the brain when we drink too much alcohol, get high on ecstasy or experience road rage? Emotion, says internationally acclaimed neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, is the building block of consciousness. As our minds develop we create a personalized inner world based on our experiences. But during periods of intense emotion, such as anger, fear or euphoria ...more
Published February 28th 2002 by Penguin (first published May 29th 2000)
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May 11, 2014 Rory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This writer believes themselves to be more interesting than they actually are. Every other sentence is a jam packed michael bay movie. Having trouble moving forward as the book never seems to start but is endlessly spinning its wheels to impresses you.

Randomly chosen passage:

"Drugs. Whisper the word and immediately you are in smoky opium dens, or face-to-face with the brutalized alcoholic, or peering over the shoulder of the adolescent glue sniffer, or cross-legged on the student floor, beatifi
Frank Jude
Oct 17, 2009 Frank Jude rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the science of consciousness.
Nueroscientist Greenfield offers up a hypothesis waiting for more advanced technology to test it. The good news is that it IS falsifiable, so it's scientifically coherent. Central to her thinking is that the brain creates consciousness and the unique sense of a self from the mechanics of neuronal functioning that correlate with emotions. Thus, Greenfield says, emotions are the most basic form of consciousness and determine, ultimately, the depth and or breath (or lack of such) of consciousness. ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Darron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I agree that it's a tough read at times, but overall found it to be a very interesting and thought provoking book. Has certainly equipped me with a better understanding of the workings of the brain and it's myriad of chemical, electrical and cellular processes/interactions. Susan's model of consciousness and emotions is heavily based on research and comes across as being at the forefront of books covering neuroscience. Whether this is your field of interest or not it's certainly worth reading
Daniel Wood
Sep 09, 2010 Daniel Wood rated it really liked it
Shelves: neurology
"What is happening in the brain when we drink too much alcohol, get high on Ecstasy or experience road rage?"

These and other questions neuroscientist Susan Greenfield attempts to answer whilst proposing a hypothesis on how emotion, conciousness and mind are formed within the brain.

A fairly heavy read that had me rereading several parts to properly understand the reasoning, this is nonetheless a very enjoyable book. The chapters on The Child and The Junkie I found particularly interesting.

A criti
Jun 04, 2010 Lise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, brain-psych
I enjoyed the book a lot, but found it a bit difficult to slog through, probably because I don't have any background in neurology at all. The endnotes are very clear and helpful, though, and she lays out her model very clearly.

I'm still a bit confused on the working definition of consciousness, though. If it's purely 'self awareness' then why are dreams considered non conscious? I was also bothered that the quantum association was added, since it seems to be predicated on a pretty wacky strong-
Jun 25, 2015 Kdrathbone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Baroness Susan Greenfield may be one of my favorite new psychology icons.
Nov 28, 2014 Sonal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed every bit, very enlightening, pleased to know why somethings happen
Jun 13, 2014 MiChAeLPaUl marked it as fini  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, fiction
The inner workings of the brain ignite as the gates of consciousness open up for the mind.
Luca Campobasso
Feb 06, 2016 Luca Campobasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though it was a rather difficult read, because of the author's digression habits, the content was pretty enjoyable and I got many more insights in emotions' inner working. Who is searching for a read dense of information but not too heavy, it is suggested. Also for whom doesn't know anything about this field, because of the lack of too-technical language.
Jul 10, 2007 Pirronne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not as readable as "a user's guide to the brain," but very interesting. it takes a while to get used to her sophisticated lines of logic, but it's totally worth looking at. just read the user's guide first, i'd say.
Dec 12, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for one of my classes in college. I really enjoyed reading it. I am glad that there are more than one kind of intelligence, and I don't have to be book smart to be considered intelligent.
Dec 07, 2014 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's been a few years since I read this book. I can't remember the content just my irritation that a scientist should not have collected her ideas better and written less sloppily.
Dan Martin
Jan 31, 2016 Dan Martin rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Far too technical for a so-called popular science book. A real struggle. Yawn.
Tim Dempsey
Not the most accessible read but interesting. Certainly not a page turner!
Nov 08, 2013 Gael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy to grasp. Very interesting.
Feb 07, 2013 Alterstuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and concise.
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Greenfield is Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford. On 1 February 2006, she was installed as Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Until 8 January 2010, she was director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
More about Susan Greenfield...

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