Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are” as Want to Read:
Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  866 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Neuroscientists once believed your brain was essentially "locked down" by adulthood. No new cells. No major changes. If you grew up depressed, angry, sad, aggressive, or nasty, you'd be that way for life. And, as you grew older, there'd be nowhere to go but down, as disease, age, or injury wiped out precious, irreplaceable brain cells. But over the past five, ten, twenty y ...more
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by FT Press (first published December 14th 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pictures of the Mind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pictures of the Mind

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  866 ratings  ·  57 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a great book about what science of the brain is revealing. The first chapter was chilling, explaining how it is possible for a person to have absolutely no control over their physical body, to appear in a vegetative state, but to be completely cognizant of what is going on. Imagine hearing the doctor tell your family you will not recover and not being able to communicate at all. The very suggestion that such people may be able to communicate someday, via computers wired into the brain, i ...more
Adam Smith
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
The brain is the central driving force behind the human race. It is what gave us the ability to move beyond our primal needs and take the world for our own. And yet, we barely understand what makes it tick, but slowly we are working to change that.

This book is a series of case studies and theories present in the field of modern neurology. It can be a bit dense at times, but it is still interesting to learn about the varied theories and understandings relating to the brain. There are many fascina
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book very interesting and thought-provoking. I wondered when my mother was in a coma prior to her death whether or not she knew I was there and if she could hear what I was saying. After reading this book, I now believe that she was aware of much of what was going on around her even when she was in a coma.

The neuro-imaging technology will probably be used to help us in ways we hadn't thought possible. The author points out that we must be careful, though, not to carry the possibi
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought the name of this book was a little deceptive, as I got the impression it would be on brain imaging, which to some extent it was, but it was more looking at discoveries on how the mind works, and how anxiety and outlooks on life can potentially be treated or adjusted. I thought it was a very interesting and thought provoking book on what exactly is going on with all those firing neurons in our skulls.
Daniela Romo
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
It is interesting to think of how brain imaging might play an increasing role in the courtroom, and when it does if it will be considered a violation of the 5th Amendment as self-incrimination. Another interesting item - over half of people over 85 are affected by Alzheimer's Disease? That's scary! ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very accessible and exciting even for non-scientists. Optimistic in terms of updating research on depression, PTSD, addiction, coma... I am lazy, and would have never found it on my own, but - thanks B&N - one day it was free for NOOK, and that's how I got it. Reads almost like a thriller.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neuroimaging science circa 2010.

I enjoyed reading the studies in this book and their future implications. The least interesting for me was the final third of the book, which was more philosophical and theological than the onset of the book. A great starting point to learn about Neuroimaging in easy to understand terms.
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the subject matter.
Thomas Holbrook
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Learning how the brain works is fascinating. The possibility that humans can study the organ that, as is presently understood, makes possible the “study” itself is enough to boggle the “mind,” which is supposedly held in the brain. To glimpse a picture of the process of “the mind” holds the promise of mystery and wonder – how can one “see” what is immaterial (thoughts)? Because of technologies like functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, scient ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a great book about how being able to see the brain in action helps us confirm, disprove, or even further confuse long held assumptions about what exactly happens inside our skull.

In seven chapters this slim but informative book helps us understand how various ways of peering into the active brain (MRI, PET scans, etc) are beginning to change (or at least questions) our accepted definitions of brain death, addiction, pain, pleasure, emotions and even of good and evil.

The most interesting
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women
A fascinating look at recent insights from nueroscience that are relevant to our every day lives. Although occasionally a little uncritical, this is a well-written and properly referenced book, so although it is written for the interested layperson, a scientifically knowledgeable reader can always follow up the primary literature to learn more. It concludes with a pitch encouraging us to take up meditation, which does indeed have some support in the science presented.

Although this covered a lot
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book because of my interest in Functional MRI technology. This book devotes a significant amount of material outlining some of the cutting edge research being done with this amazing technology (I do feel that this technology will find its way into almost every aspect of our lives in the near future). Another interesting topic is neuroplasticity, or the constant remodeling process that our brains go through. As a PT I have known form many years that the brain is plastic, howev ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in the mind or in meditation
Shelves: nonfiction, science, nook
This book is a quick survey of new discoveries about how the brain works, based on newer imaging techniques like fMRI scans and PET scans. When I was in school the best information about what brain structures were involved with what activities and disorders was based on studies of patients with injuries to particular parts of the brain. The more recent techniques allow researchers to actually see what brain areas are involved and in some cases to infer what is going on there.

The book was publish
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sufferers of altzheimers and their families
Amazon Kindle eBook version. Less than half way through this book you'll wish to see the diagrams in color. Kindle ebook makes those diagrams useless.

Read the Introduction and you will get the essence of the new research and neuroscience techniques that can help us Boomers retrain the mind. The research starts with the victims of trauma. Can you imagine being fully aware of your doctor and family members deciding to pull the plug? You can't even blink your eyes in self-defense. Locked-in syndrom
Dec 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, nonfiction
Starts fascinating, with lots of information about brain plasticity and hair-raising accounts of "locked-in syndrome" (people who are paralyzed for exteneded periods of time, but fully conscious and aware of what is going on -- including doctors discussing whether to take them off life support). But halfway through it devolves into an odd sort of infomercial for Buddhist meditation. I have nothing against Buddhism or meditation, but that's not what I was looking for in a book nominally about neu ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a fairly light method of entering the brain and understanding the various functions within the brain. The techniques used to float through the text and help the reader understand the information was tremendous - in my opinion.
Out of the many dense techniques for educating the public on the brain, this was a very fluid book with a lot of facts that are easily understood. It matched a lot of what I have learned through my education and it provided images to help define that information. U
Rachel 💚
first time ive finished a book in a day in a LONG TIME!

couldn't get enough of this, i find the brain fascinating anyway but this was well written, informative and at the same time quite comical. i really liked how the author added little anecdotes to help the reader understand in a different a more realistic context.

my only criticism would be that the chapter showing the actual brain images wasnt too clear on the kindle addition due to it being black and white but other than that i thoroughly en
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
More journalistic than scientific -although this is an asset too- yet manages to quite lucidly explain, and expand upon, the topics the author cherry picks. Novices will learn about some of the frontier neuroscience, and readers of the field or professionals may savor a lot of passages too with details they might be unaware of. The pictures are great and very worth studying although they are hardly enough in this slim tone. So all in all a rather good book from an author I 'd very pleasantly rea ...more
Ashley Davis
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is pretty awesome. It covers a range of topics that stem from a progressive look at neurobiology and psychology entering different fields of society. Law and culture, religion, even the idea of self are questioned in these new findings that tie the brains chemical imbalances to the way we act on a daily basis. Just a few chemicals can separate us from Buddhist monks and serial killers, believers or non-believers (or both!). Highly recommend if you feel like a good read to stir up some ...more
Joseph T Farkasdi
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone challenged by brain limitations and challenges!
I have been an observing student of the self-evidence of life ever since my experiences in the war torn desert of various places of this world. The effect this had on me, in both body and mind, has led me down the path of studiously observing my own mind in action. This book didn't present new self-evident truths for me. But, it did help me to see what is actually happening from a neuroscience perspective. Thus, only validating the self-evident natural law truths I've been discerning through the ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The more we know about the mind, the more questions we have. Interesting, thought-provoking book. For anyone interested in the brain and its functions and effects. How we train the mind, whether intentionally or accidently is one focus of the book. There are others. Pain control. Pleasure awareness. So much covered in this little book. Worth reading. Will make you want to know more about the subject.
Dee Renee  Chesnut
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2013
This book was free when I downloaded it to my Nook from

I have a general interest in neuroscience. Fortunately, this author has fifteen years experience writing about scientific research and technology topics for the general public. She does an excellent job of explaining and moving the narrative along.

I recommend it for readers who may have an interest in the subject.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Fascinating book! All about the brain and what they have discovered so far. For instance a person who doctors consider "vegetative" maybe able to communicate after all.

And the CT scanner was developed because of the record sales of the Beatles. Their record sales were so incredible it allowed their record company to fund the research for the person who developed the CT scanner
Found it interesting ...presented in a way that layperson can understand...goes into Functional MRI and many facets of the mind/brain from trauma injuries, AD, meditation etc....a relatively short book....I read it on Kindle Fire... otherwise do not get full impact of color images of brain
Mary Gaynor
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be really fascinating! I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in how the mind works. What meditation does to your brain. The use of MRI machines to follow brain activity is really intriguing.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm generally fascinated by books on how the brain works, but this one fell flat. The first chapter was okay, but after that, I just couldn't stay interested in it, and found myself looking longingly at other books I had waiting for me. So finally I abandoned it. ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Great in the beginning, good in the middle, fair at the end. Terrific bibliography, though--lots more to read! I've found myself telling a lot of people about some of the case studies in this book, and most people are pretty amazed. Even the ones who aren't nerds. ...more
Bilal Quadri
Finishes strong

The book starts a little slow but gains momentum along the way, finishing strong with a thought-provoking chapter on what brain-imaging has revealed about our sense of "self." If you're into neuroscience, this book won't disappoint.
A slim survey of recent discoveries that influence our view of human nature. It's a welcome addition to literature for a general audience on the subject. ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
skimmed thru it, very short book, i wasn't interested in reading such a brief look at what must be a very complex subject. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today
  • The Truth About Managing People...And Nothing But the Truth
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
  • Naked
  • How to Argue: Powerfully, Persuasively, Positively
  • Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
  • Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want
  • Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years, #2)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes
  • Midnight Harvest (Seasons of Blood, #1)
  • Mastering the Kindle Fire
  • 7 Myths about Singleness
  • A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
  • 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age: New Financial Threats You Need to Know and How to Avoid Them
  • A Refutation of the Charges Made against the Confederate States of America of Having Authorized the Use of Explosive and Poisoned Musket and Rifle Balls during the Late Civil War of 1861-65
  • A Better Story: God, Sex and Human Flourishing
  • Addicted to the Monkey Mind: Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life
  • Carl von Clausewitz's On War (Infinite Success)
See similar books…
See top shelves…

News & Interviews

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
122 likes · 17 comments
“Emotions are not actually facts,” Davidson explains, and by simply being aware of their changing nature, we can de-identify with them, “making it easier to let them go.” 0 likes
More quotes…