The Force is Strong With This One
When I was reading The Strange Order of Things at work a while back a colleague recommend the Brain Science Podcast with Ginger Campbell MD.
The host is/was a Emergency room doctor so she tends to be aware of some of the practical applications or limitations of the theories being discussed. The basis of most episodes is normally a book that the guest has published recently.
I have purchased some of those books but haven’t managed to read any of them yet as the amount of book recommendations that are coming out of this forum recently have been difficult to keep up with. The forum books tend to have a bigger impact on my knowledge base so it would be unwise to read any other books first.
The podcast has been running for about ten years
The two most recent Episodes 160 & 161 are overviews of the some of the current theories of consciousness. Strange order of things gets a brief overview in Ep 160.
"In his new book The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains respected neuroscientist Joseph Ledoux reaches two controversial conclusions. He say that emotion evolved after consciousness and that emotions are not the product of natural selection. We explore these ideas and much more in this month’s episode of Brain Science (BS 161). This is the second in our four part series about the neuroscience of consciousness.
We also discuss why the term “Limbic System” has become outdated and should be avoided.
Whether or not you agree with his conclusions, I know you will find Dr. Ledoux’s ideas to be extremely interesting and thought provoking."
I have not read the book but two Joseph makes a case that emotions existed before cognition and that emotions are not a result of natural selection.
He propose that behaviour should be considered unconscious unless proven otherwise, which isn’t a claim that humans and other animals aren’t have conscious experiences just that we struggle to find proof of that cognition.
Episode 105 - Brain Plasticity with Michel Merzenich
According to Dr. Merzenich, "No matter how much you've struggled, no matter where you've been in your life, you're in charge of your life going forward. And you have the capacity; you have the resources to change things for the better—always have that capacity. And that's what the book is trying to emphasize. “
Dr. Merzenich explains the idea that brain plasticity is something that needs or can be turned on and that if the brain is left alone ( not stimulated in the right way) then it will almost always decline in term of function.
He states that there is a early period of life when brain plasticity is unregulated due to babies being unable to ascertain what information is important to them. The diction he uses is that the brain is evolving the machinery that allows it to decided when change/ plasticity to the brain structure is allowed. As a general rule of thumb if the brain perceives the information it is receiving as meaningless than plasticity won’t happen but if the information is meaningful it will.
When an individual learns a new skill or improves a existing one there is a noticeable change in the brain structure.
He stress the importance of living a life with a certain intensity or passion and to continually challenge oneself mentally.