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We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiography of the Brain, from the Womb to… (2010)

por Dick Swaab

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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4771638,346 (3.86)5
"The culmination of renowned neuroscientist D.F. Swaab's life's work, We Are Our Brains unlocks the mysteries of the most complex organism in the human body, providing a fascinating overview of the brain's role in nearly every aspect of human existence. In short, engaging chapters, Swaab explains what is going on in our brains at every stage of life, including how a fetus's brain develops and the role that pregnancy plays in solidifying certain aspects of our identity; the radical neurological changes that occur during adolescence; what happens when we fall in love; and the neurological basis for a host of different disorders and personality traits"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
The first 1/4 of the book covered sexuality, variations on sexuality, and sexual disorders.

The next 1/4 of the book (or more) covered other disorders related to brain function. One of the strangest is where a person does not want a part of their body (such as a hand or arm), and wants it amputated.

The book gradually moved into more general issues with occasional relapses into describing disorders. The latter parts of the book were perhaps less interesting than the first half because it was less densely packed. It very clearly describes the negative impact on brain size of various drugs, specifically tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana, both prenatal and as a teenager. It encourages caution in medicating pregnant women.

Dementia was addressed along with willful termination of life before it becomes advanced. (Voluntarily ending one’s life is legal in the Netherlands.)

It is very Netherlands specific because the author lives and works there. Fortunately, the translation did not seem to affect the readability.

The author is very heavily into the belief that our preferences are largely determined by what happens before and immediately after we come out of the birth canal. He discusses the social issues associated with us having only the illusion of free will. Along with that, the origin of morality, and of the value or harm of trying to change others (such as sexual orientation.) Also: What is the value/effectiveness/effect of trying to change those who exhibit socially undesirable behavior.

Especially the first half of the book is full of authoritative factoids. However, I was disappointed that in a work of this kind, there are few references, no footnotes, no endnotes, no bibliography, and nothing at the back of the book suggesting sources for further study. Since the book has a heavy dose of the author’s own research, perhaps that is understandable to some extent. Also, it would be difficult to document such a huge number of assertions. There were occasionally places where another work was cited, sometime a book with a dissenting viewpoint. Still, I was disappointed that the cited works were not listed at the end where they can be easily found at a later time.

The book was interesting. I almost felt like reading some of the works of one of his opponents, [a:Mario Beauregard|339140|Mario Beauregard|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1312314359p2/339140.jpg]. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
A vivid account of what makes us human.

Based groundbreaking new research, We Are Our Brains is a sweeping biography of the human brain, from infancy to adulthood to old age. Renowned neuroscientist D. F. Swaab takes us on a guided tour of the intricate inner workings that determine our potential, our limitations, and our desires, with each chapter serving as an eye-opening window on a different stage of brain development: the gender differences that develop in the embryonic brain, what goes on in the heads of adolescents, how parenthood permanently changes the brain.

Moving beyond pure biological understanding, Swaab presents a controversial and multilayered ethical argument surrounding the brain. Far from possessing true free will, Swaab argues, we have very little control over our everyday decisions, or who we will become, because our brains predetermine everything about us, long before we are born, from our moral character to our religious leanings to whom we fall in love with. And he challenges many of our prevailing assumptions about what makes us human, decoding the intricate “moral networks” that allow us to experience emotion, revealing maternal instinct to be the result of hormonal changes in the pregnant brain, and exploring the way that religious “imprinting” shapes the brain during childhood. Rife with memorable case studies, We Are Our Brains is already a bestselling international phenomenon. It aims to demystify the chemical and genetic workings of our most mysterious organ, in the process helping us to see who we are through an entirely new lens.

Did you know?

• The father’s brain is affected in pregnancy as well as the mother’s.
• The withdrawal symptoms we experience at the end of a love affair mirror chemical addiction.
• Growing up bilingual reduces the likelihood of Alzheimer’s.
• Parental religion is imprinted on our brains during early development, much as our native language is.

Praise for We Are Our Brains

“Swaab’s ‘neurobiography’ is witty, opinionated, passionate, and, above all, cerebral.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A fascinating survey . . . Swaab employs both personal and scientific observation in near-equal measure.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A cogent, provocative account of how twenty-first-century ‘neuroculture’ has the potential to effect profound medical and social change.”—Kirkus Reviews
Source: Publisher
  Shiseida.Aponte | Jun 1, 2020 |
Not my favourite interpretation of sex and gender determinism. Difficult to tell without more info whether all his claims are accurate, specifically which parts of brain structure are fixed and which change over time. ( )
  kk1 | Oct 24, 2017 |
Technical book explaining how our brains and genetics affect our behavior.

Interesting points about how development as a fetus influence someone's sexual orientation and behavior.

Should re-read at some point. ( )
  shakazul | Jul 3, 2017 |
Despite being a translation from the Dutch original, this was a lively and informative read. The book is a collection of extended essays based on the author's Dutch-language newspaper columns. For the book, the material has been arranged roughly chronologically, so as the subtitle implies, we start with the development of the foetal brain and work towards dementia and death. Each of the chapters could probably be read on its own, so reading it sequentially I did notice some repetition. The best bits describe his own research. Very strong message about how our character, sex preferences, social abilities etc, are formed by the way that our brains are wired up during gestation; I was disappointed that there was not more about how learning and experience affect our brains in later life. ( )
1 vote Thruston | Jun 21, 2015 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (4 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Swaab, Dickautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hedley-Prole, JaneTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kunen, MaartjeIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Maartje KunenDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Many of the views which have been advanced are highly speculative, and some no doubt will prove erroneous; but I have in every case given the reasons which have led me to one view rather than to another.... False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.
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Voor alle wetenschappers die mijn brein zo intensief gestimuleerd hebben, en voor Patty, Myrthe, Roderick en Dorien, die mijn verrijkte omgeving thuis vormen.
To all the scientists who stimulated my brain so intensely, and to Patty, Myrthe, Roderick, and Dorien, who formed my enriched environment at home.
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Questions about the Brain to a Supposed Expert
Perhaps the two greatest scientific questions of this century are "How did the universe come into being?" and "How does the brain work?"
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"The culmination of renowned neuroscientist D.F. Swaab's life's work, We Are Our Brains unlocks the mysteries of the most complex organism in the human body, providing a fascinating overview of the brain's role in nearly every aspect of human existence. In short, engaging chapters, Swaab explains what is going on in our brains at every stage of life, including how a fetus's brain develops and the role that pregnancy plays in solidifying certain aspects of our identity; the radical neurological changes that occur during adolescence; what happens when we fall in love; and the neurological basis for a host of different disorders and personality traits"--

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