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Mind Sculpture: Unlocking Your Brain's Untapped Potential

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an engaging hybrid of scientific inquiry and personal discovery, Robertson, who teaches psychology at Trinity College in Dublin and has worked as science correspondent for the London Times, examines the functioning of the human brain. Presenting his ideas with energy, humor and clarity, Robertson's argument that "life sculpts your brain" runs counter to a fairly recent trend in brain research that assumes most, if not all, human behavior is already "hard-wired" through evolution and genetics. Instead, Robertson claims there are many ways we can all "sculpt" our own realities by knowing how to exercise our brains in certain ways, thus affecting the "patterns of connections between neurons." For example, education actually builds stronger connections between brain cells, according to Robertson, as neurons fire within the "trembling web" (the 100 billion brain cells that "make up 'you'"). Retirement and lassitude, on the other hand, can diminish the number and strength of these connections. To support his central point that "cells that fire together, wire together," Robertson draws mostly upon clinical case studies. In several chapters, he portrays an intriguing cross-section of the population who have experienced abnormal relations between brain and body (e.g., phantom limbs) or who have severe memory blockages. In other chapters, Robertson discusses the effects of trauma, fear and hatred on the brain's neural connections. His theory about the power we all possess to shape our own life experiences has far-reaching implications for all aspects of society, including the treatment of illness, education, the workplace and human relationships. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Robertson (psychology, Trinity Coll., Dublin) has served as a science correspondent for several London newspapers, is a frequent contributor to science and medical journals, and has authored several books on neurorehabilitation. Here, he describes the brain's "trembling web," in which synapses can form stronger connections as a result of repeated and coordinated firing of neurons. Experience, he argues, can literally change brain structure. His two key principles are aptly phrased, "cells that fire together, wire together" and "when cells fire apart, wires depart." Learning, therefore, sculpts the brain and affects the complexity and number of dendrites on the neurons. Robertson explains how mental imagery can modify the brain, how paying attention to experience is critical for sculpting to occur, and how physical and mental activity can temper the effects of age on the brain. He also makes a strong case for the role of environment in the development of emotional and intellectual intelligence. Robertson uses analogies liberally and skillfully to illustrate these processes. This very readable title will engage and inform all general readers and is highly recommended for public libraries and undergraduate collections.DLaurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Fromm International Publishing Corporation (September 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0880642769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880642767
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,509,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book about the latest research on brain structure, and perhaps the best thing about the newest information is how hopeful it is. Robertson shows that your brain is what you make of it, day by day. We can make new patterns and neural pathways in our brain all the way through old age, simply by putting new demands on it. This book is must reading for anyone who was depressed by the idea that their brain stopped growing and started dying at age 15. If you keep on using your brain, it will keep on growing.
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Format: Hardcover
This first-rate study of the workings of the brain is required reading for anyone interested in how advertisers influence consumers, how mental exercise can improve both mental and physical performance or how parents can stimulate mental activity in their young children. That probably doesn't leave out many curious readers. Starting with a basic explanation of how the brain initially forms, Ian H. Robertson logically proceeds into his explanation of mind sculpting, which is nothing less than the process through which the mind is continuously evolving. His treatment of the staggeringly complex topic is surprisingly accessible, enabling you to make the intuitive leaps from biological detail to the practical manifestations of these phenomena without handholding. In short, we [...] recommend that you read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent summary of recent, direct explorations of how the brain works, such how it learns, and the implications of such knowledge to individuals, schools, governments, societies, and human evolution. The examples are fascinating. The writing, by a person of deep knowledge of his subject, is efficient, humble, and, at times, humerous, The author has successfully made some important, liberating, and inspiring information accessible to general readership.
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Format: Hardcover
According to the cover blurb this book reflects the very latest brain research. In fact it is almost completely based on what is known as "Hebbian Learning", or as this author puts it (over and over and OVER again) "cells that fire together, wire together."

Is this new? Not unless you count research circa 1949 as new.

Despite the author's impressive CV, this book has a single message - brain cells don't regenerate, but the more you use your brain the more new connections it will develop.

Question is, how to you string this message out to over 250 pages? With lots of waffle and SERIOUS repetition. That's how.

Not even a total newcomer to the subject will be able to extract much from this simplistic, even patronising text.

Conclusion: Like the headline says, a pointless waste of innocent trees.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Author is a well respected researcher. This book brings together research insights and practical illustrations which are understandable to the layperson. A great read!
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