File Size: 2184 KB
Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (April 14, 2011)
Publication Date: April 14, 2011
Pleasure (and its close relatives including reward, satisfaction, and addiction) and pain govern a lot of human behavior. Amazingly, credited to brain science research we now know nearly all of the elements of the brain involved in the "pleasure and reward" circuitry. This knowledge represents a huge advance in human knowledge and eventually will hold the key to helping humankind greatly with the struggles that represent the chapters of the book - drug use, eating behavior, sexual behavior (and misbehavior), gambling, and other pleasure-oriented behaviors. However, as you knows from reading this exciting book, we are still close to the beginning of our arc of understanding of our own complex minds. For pleasure does not exist in isolation in a persons brain; rather pleasure interacts intimately with other brain processes. Pleasure circuits interact with memory circuits (how else will our brains keep a psychological record of our pleasurable pastimes? ). Pleasure circuitry interacts with learning circuitry (how else will we understand how to reproduce pleasurable activities? ). Pleasure circuitry interacts with circuitry for experiencing other emotions, and with sensory input and motor output circuitry, and with more abstract centers in the cortex that govern functions such as "salience", foresight, judgment, and planning.
All of this produces a fascinating read on the pleasure centres of the human brain that answers many interesting questions about everything from sex dependancy to slot machine machines, from obesity to exercise addiction, but also - like any good scientific writing - boosts more questions than it answers, including that everlasting conundrum (as I watch my bright and skilled 9 year-old ignoring the woman favorite breakfast while pressing away furiously on the woman electronic gaming device): how much do we really, truly vary from that common lab rat mashing away at the lever providing squirts of cocaine immediately into his "medial forebrain bundle"?, The book was entertaining when I read 3 years ago but looking back and learning some new things, We feel differently about it now. It is a bit reductionist and i believe he boils down the human experience to chemicals (which We thought was very disappointing at the time) however the complexity of pleasure was the redeeming factor. But a counter argument (but which during the time I did not have fully sorted, just an uncomfortable objection in the back of my head) is that the whole is not always the sum of the their parts. Read Neil de Grasse’s on Being Round and you’ll see exactly the flaws in this books type of mindframe. Not that I don’t like learning other mindframes, but am glad We learned more and maybe We will lean towards this framework in the future if presented with more evidence, hopefully not. Wish he had included the criticism of his point of view in the book, would become more whole if done just like Wikipedia does in its definitions., With just enough scientific theory to add credibility, and a good helping of wit, this book offers a simple and useful peek into emerging neuroscience. Particularly for those of us who have got careers or life encounters that may have over revealed us to humankind's baser behaviors, this discussion provides a confirmation of what we should already suspected: the evolving man's brain has quite a distance to go before we are fully seperated from the other primates that share our planet!
Even though author is careful to avoid the sweeping generalizations and unsubstantiated theories that are usually part of mass market scientific literature, this individual makes a strong case for fully considering the nature part of addictive, even self destructive, human behaviors. In his concluding "the future of pleasure", he even allows a bit of expect how many of these behaviors(and the misery they can bring)might some day be modified by science. All in all, an important book that is as informative as it is entertaining., Not exactly light reading, author uses lab rodents as examples to spell out clinical concepts related to brain & nervous systems innerworkings, so technical terminology is standard lingo throughout the book. Which makes this book very educational, but also challenging to follow. I've mentioned this because of the briefs printed on the back again cover, " a very entertaining look at why we enjoy... ". May possibly be entertaining for viewers with masters or PHD. on the subject., Thi book is easy to read and understand. It offers You an indeep understanding how our mind works in conditions of our brain reward system.
I have loved it all along the reading covering several critical aspects of our complex and still somewhat misterious pleasure engine., There is a lot of information in this book regarding the mind and human nature/desires. I did find it a bit of any heady read. Something you need to be in the mood for when deciding to extrapolate information from it., Quite didactic in presentation of neuro-anatomy and physiology. Fairly informative, nonetheless but requires concentration to get through the book., This can be a fascinating book, thick though it may be. While probably not a textbook, per se, it does delve deeply into the structures and chemicals in the brain that create the encounters of pleasure and pleasure, and thus, enhance habits - good or bad. It is a great adjunct to other books on habit, self-discipline, neuroscience and neuroplasticity.
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