A weblog to encourage the discussion of psychiatry and history
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind
Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind by Nikolas Rose and Joelle M.Abi-Rachedlooks at the development of the neurosciences historically. They stress that a number
of technological and conceptual developments in recent years have
changed not simply what we know about the brain, but the 'style' with
which we think about the brain and its relationship to our personhood.
New technologies of visualization [pet scan, fmri] which offer the idea that
the nervous system is plastic, and that is capable of change and growth have
led to technologies for changing brains. They have also led to a
self-help industry focused on brains, 'neurobics.' They suggest that
while much has changed, not much has changed.Essentially they argue
that the psy disciplines have been re-outfitted as 'neuro' without much
being added to our understanding of what matters in human life. While
they do take science seriously they offer a wise warning against hype.
I found their review of developments in the neurosciences helpful for someone like myself, who hasn't been following things too closely. Sharing their views about what we've gotten from the 'psy' industry I was sympathetic to their skepticism about the burgeoning 'neuro' field.