Synopses & Reviews
Ranging widely through philosophy, literature, and the history of science, LeDoux examines how we have conceptualized the relationship between brain and self through the centuries. His own contribution, based on two decades of research, begins with the startlingly simple premise that the self-the essence of who a person is-intricately reflects patterns of interconnectivity between neurons in the brain. Synapses, the spaces between neurons, are not only the channels through which we think, act, imagine, feel, and remember, but also the means by which we encode our most fundamental traits, preferences, and beliefs, allowing us to function as a single, integrated individual-a synaptic self.
As LeDoux brilliantly argues, a synaptic self does not exclude other ways of understanding existence-spiritual, aesthetic, moral-but rather it enriches and broadens these avenues by providing a neurological/psychological construct grounded in the latest research in biology. Rather than join the age-old debate on whether nature or nurture is more determinative, LeDoux posits that both genes and experience contribute to synaptic connectivity. Mind expanding in every sense of the word, Synaptic Self represents an important breakthrough in one of the last frontiers of medical research.
"A clear, up-to-date, and impressively fair-minded account of what neuroscience has established about human nature."and#160;
-Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind and Intelligence Reframedand#160;
"In this pathbreaking synthesis, Joseph LeDoux draws on dazzling insights from the cutting edge of neuroscience to generate a new conception of an enduring mystery: the nature of the self. Enlightening and engrossing, LeDoux's bold formulation will change the way you think about who you are"and#160;
- Daniel L. Schacter, Chairman of Psychology at Harvard Universityand#160;
"Synaptic Self is a wonderful tour of the brain circuitry behind some of the critical aspects of the mind. LeDoux is an expert tour guide and it is well worth listening. His perspective takes you deep into the cellular basis of what it is to be a thinking being".and#160;
- Antonio R. Damasio, Neuroscientist, author of The Feeling of What Happensand#160;
Joseph LeDoux's The Emotional Brain caused a sensation in 1996 for its revelations about the biological basis of our emotions and memories. Now LeDoux follows up that path-breaking volume with a new book that tells a larger and more profoundly important story: how our brains, and particularly their synapses, create our personalities.
A comprehensive and accessible exploration of anxiety, from a leading neuroscientist and the author of Synaptic Self
Collectively, anxiety disorders are our most prevalent psychiatric problem, affecting about forty million adults in the United States. In Anxious, Joseph LeDoux, whose NYU lab has been at the forefront of research efforts to understand and treat fear and anxiety, explains the range of these disorders, their origins, and discoveries that can restore sufferers to normalcy.
LeDouxand#8217;s groundbreaking premise is that weand#8217;ve been thinking about fear and anxiety in the wrong way. These are not innate states waiting to be unleashed from the brain, but experiences that we assemble cognitively. Treatment of these problems must address both their conscious manifestations and underlying non-conscious processes. While knowledge about how the brain works will help us discover new drugs, LeDoux argues that the greatest breakthroughs may come from using brain research to help reshape psychotherapy.
A major work on our most pressing mental health issue, Anxious explains the science behind fear and anxiety disorders.
About the Author
JOSEPH LEDOUX is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University, where he is a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology. He directs the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University and at the Nathan Kline Institute, and is the author of Synaptic Self and The Emotional Brain. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.