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The Brain that Changes Itself Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from The Brain that Changes Itself
  1. #1
    “We must be learning if we are to feel fully alive, and when life, or love, becomes too predictable and it seems like there is little left to learn, we become restless - a protest, perhaps, of the plastic brain when it can no longer perform its essential task.”
  2. #2
    “One of these scientists even showed that thinking, learning, and acting can turn our genes on or off.”
  3. #3
    “The brain is a far more open system than we ever imagined, and nature has gone very far to help us perceive and take in the world around us. It has given us a brain that survives in a changing world by changing itself.”
  4. #4
    “No other instinct can so satisfy without accomplishing its biological purpose, and no other instinct is so disconnected from its purpose.”
  5. #5
    “Analysis helps patients put their unconscious procedural memories and actions into words and into context, so they can better understand them. In the process they plastically retranscribe these procedural memories, so that they become conscious explicit memories, sometimes for the first time, and patients no longer need to “relive” or “reenact” them, especially if they were traumatic.”
  6. #6
    “Language development, for instance, has a critical period that begins in infancy and ends between eight years and puberty. After this critical period closes, a person’s ability to learn a second language without an accent is limited. In fact, second languages learned after the critical period are not processed in the same part of the brain as is the native tongue.”
  7. #7
    “For children to know and regulate their emotions, and be socially connected, they need to experience this kind of interaction many hundreds of times in the critical period and then to have it reinforced later in life.”
  8. #8
    “As we age and plasticity declines, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to change in response to the world, even if we want to. We find familiar types of stimulation pleasurable; we seek out like-minded individuals to associate with, and research shows we tend to ignore or forget, or attempt to discredit, information that does not match our beliefs, or perception of the world, because it is very distressing and difficult to think and perceive in unfamiliar ways.”
  9. #9
    “We see with our brains, not with our eyes,”
  10. #10
    “One could add that totalitarian regimes seem to have an intuitive awareness that it becomes hard for people to change after a certain age, which is why so much effort is made to indoctrinate the young from an early age.”

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  1. #11
    “We often praise “the ability to multitask.” While you can learn when you divide your attention, divided attention doesn’t lead to abiding change in your brain maps.”
  2. #12
    “Ironically, some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are products of our plasticity.”
  3. #13
    “...an effective psychotherapist or psychoanalyst is a “microsurgeon of the mind” who helps patients make needed alterations in neuronal networks.”
  4. #14
    “One reason we can change our brains simply by imagining is that, from a neuroscientific point of view, imagining an act and doing it are not as different as they sound. When people close their eyes and visualize a simple object, such as the letter a, the primary visual cortex lights up, just as it would if the subjects were actually looking at the letter a. Brain scans show that in action and imagination many of the same parts of the brain are activated. That is why visualizing can improve performance.”
  5. #15
    “He also discovered that when he touched certain parts of the brain, he triggered long-lost childhood memories or dreamlike scenes—which implied that higher mental activities were also mapped in the brain.”
  6. #16
    “All of us have worries. We worry because we are intelligent beings. Intelligence predicts, that is its essence; the same intelligence that allows us to plan, hope, imagine, and hypothesize also allows us to worry and anticipate negative outcomes.”
  7. #17
    “He is social, but not in large groups. ‘I don’t go readily to cocktail parties, where people just come together and talk. I don’t tend to like that kind of thing. I’d rather sit down with somebody and find a mutual topic of interest, and explore it in depth with that person, or maybe two or three people. Not a conversation that says how do you feel.‘”
  8. #18
    “REM sleep has also been shown to be particularly important for enhancing our ability to retain emotional memories and for allowing the hippocampus to turn short-term memories of the day before into long-term ones (i.e., it helps make memories more permanent, leading to structural change in the brain).”
  9. #19
    “Pain is an opinion on the organism’s state of health rather than a mere reflexive response to injury.”
  10. #20
    “If you want to lift a hundred pounds, you don’t expect to succeed the first time. You start with a lighter weight and work up little by little. You actually fail to lift a hundred pounds, every day, until the day you succeed. But it is in the days when you are exerting yourself that the growth is occurring.”
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