In recent years, the advent of MRI technology seems to have unlocked the secrets of the human mind, revealing the sources of our deepest desires, intentions, and fears. As renowned psychiatrist and scholar Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld demonstrate in Brainwashed, however, the explanatory power of brain scans in particular and neuroscience more generally has been vastly overestimated. Although acknowledging its tremendous potential, the authors argue that the overzealous application of the burgeoning field of brain science has put innocent people in jail, prevented addicts from healing themselves, and undermined notions of free will and responsibility.
A provocative challenge to the use and abuse of a seductive science, Brainwashed offers an essential corrective to determinist explanations of human behavior.
©2013 Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
of this book is important, that is, that the deterministic functionalist view of brain science robs humanity of free will and eschews responsibility for deeds both good and bad (ironically harkening back to the determinism of the radical behaviorism that brain science was supposedly replacing with a more enlightened and human view)--and that there are some charlatans out there that oversimplify real brain science and con others: for instance, the "trust in a bottle" oxytosin spray that you spritz on yourself and then supposedly get along with the whole world. (One sees the neighborhood Quagmire taking a bath in the stuff and then making his way down to the local pick-up joint.) The problem with the book is that it is too dismissive and ironically sometimes mocks the work of scientists who are working against the deterministic model. Better books to read on this subject are Richard Davidson's The Emotional Life Of The Brain, John Arden's Rewire Your Brain and Jeffery Schwarz's The Mind And The Brain. It is true that we don't want to reduce human beings and our wonderfully inexplicable minds to a bucket of chemicals, but we don't want to be too dismissive of science in the process, as it was our marvelous minds that came up with science to begin with, in order to understand and better manage life's complexities for better survival and enjoyable and productive living.
Letting the rest of the world go by
The authors would have told a much more interesting story if they would have considered all perspectives instead of just their narrow biases. They argued that neuroscience has some bad science and charlatans and makes wrong conclusions. I get that, all things with humans have flaws, but there is another side to the equation, neuroscience research is a real science and really incredible things are currently being done in the field. Look, read a book before the year 2000 on consciousness and all you'll get is some incoherent philosophical speculations on it's real nature, but read a recent book on consciousness that includes neuroscience you'll get a useful understanding.
They're right, a fMRI makes a lousy lie detector for all the reasons they say. They could have just quoted George Costanza from Seinfield who said, "It's not a lie, if you don't think it's a lie", and that would have been sufficient, but they went on as it was a big thing that fMRIs are a lousy lie detector.
The authors would have made a much better book if they would have provided the other perspective. Sure, we're responsible for what we do, but there is a genetic component. The authors seemed to completely ignore the factor that genetics play.
Audible has way better books on the topics covered in this book. I've listened and rated them. I would recommend one of those instead of this book.
The nicest thing I can say about this book is the narrator did a fantastic job and she was the only reason I finished listening to the whole book. If I had been reading the book, I would never have finished it all, because the authors biases would have been too much to suffer through.
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