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Intervening in the Brain.


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  • Intervening in the Brain - Changing Psyche and Society | Reinhard Merkel | Springer.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Intervening in the Brain by Reinhard Merkel. Intervening in the Brain by Reinhard Merkel. The wealth of insights into the brain's functioning gained by neuroscience in recent years led to the development of new possibilities for intervening in the brain such as neurotransplantation, neural prostheses and brain stimulation techniques.


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Moreover, new and safer classes of psychopharmaceutical drugs lend themselves to neuroenhancement applications, i. This book offers extensive state-of-the-art accounts for these novel kinds of intervention, indicates future developments, and discusses the relevant philosophical, ethical and legal issues. Get A Copy. One important pillar of its work is to assess the consequences of advances in medical research and technology. In recent years, neuroscience has been a particularly prolific discipline stimulating many innovative treatment approaches in medicine.

However, when it comes to the brain, new techniques of intervention do not always meet with a positive public response, in spite of promising therapeutic b- efits. Likewise, on the level of the individual human being, the brain is considered the material substrate of those traits that in combination render each person unique. In view of this preeminent significance of the brain, it is understandable that, in general, interventions into the brain are considered a delicate issue and that new techniques of intervention are scrutinised with particular care.

However, in doing so it is important not to go to the opposite extreme and shy away from promising new therapeutic approaches for debilitating disorders of the brain. Humanistic psychology is primarily an orientation toward the whole of psychology rather than a distinct area or school. It stands for respect for the worth of persons, respect for differences of approach, open-mindedness as to acceptable methods, and interest in exploration of new aspects of human behavior.

As a "third force" in contemporary psychology, it is concerned with topics having little place in existing theories and systems: e. Swiss psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger and American psychologist George Kelly may also be said to belong to the existential school. Austrian existential psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl drew evidence of meaning's therapeutic power from reflections garnered from his own internment.

Personality psychology is concerned with enduring patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion—commonly referred to as personality—in individuals. Theories of personality vary across different psychological schools and orientations. They carry different assumptions about such issues as the role of the unconscious and the importance of childhood experience.

According to Freud, personality is based on the dynamic interactions of the id, ego, and super-ego. Although the number of proposed traits has varied widely, an early biologically-based model proposed by Hans Eysenck, the 3rd mostly highly cited psychologist of the 20th Century after Freud, and Piaget respectively , suggested that at least three major trait constructs are necessary to describe human personality structure: extraversion—introversion , neuroticism -stability, and psychoticism -normality.

Raymond Cattell , the 7th most highly cited psychologist of the 20th Century based on the scientific peer-reviewed journal literature [] empirically derived a theory of 16 personality factors at the primary-factor level, and up to 8 broader second-stratum factors at the Eysenckian level of analysis , rather than the "Big Five" dimensions. However, despite a plethora of research into the various versions of the "Big Five" personality dimensions, it appears necessary to move on from static conceptualizations of personality structure to a more dynamic orientation, whereby it is acknowledged that personality constructs are subject to learning and change across the lifespan.

The popular, although psychometrically inadequate Myers—Briggs Type Indicator [] sought to assess individuals' "personality types" according to the personality theories of Carl Jung. Behaviorist resistance to introspection led to the development of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory MMPI , in an attempt to ask empirical questions that focused less on the psychodynamics of the respondent. Study of the unconscious mind, a part of the psyche outside the awareness of the individual which nevertheless influenced thoughts and behavior was a hallmark of early psychology.

How Experience Changes Brain Plasticity

In one of the first psychology experiments conducted in the United States, C. Peirce and Joseph Jastrow found in that subjects could choose the minutely heavier of two weights even if consciously uncertain of the difference. His text The Psychopathology of Everyday Life catalogues hundreds of everyday events which Freud explains in terms of unconscious influence.

Pierre Janet advanced the idea of a subconscious mind, which could contain autonomous mental elements unavailable to the scrutiny of the subject. Behaviorism notwithstanding, the unconscious mind has maintained its importance in psychology. Cognitive psychologists have used a "filter" model of attention, according to which much information processing takes place below the threshold of consciousness, and only certain processes, limited by nature and by simultaneous quantity, make their way through the filter.

Copious research has shown that subconscious priming of certain ideas can covertly influence thoughts and behavior.


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For this reason, some psychologists prefer to distinguish between implicit and explicit memory. In another approach, one can also describe a subliminal stimulus as meeting an objective but not a subjective threshold. The automaticity model, which became widespread following exposition by John Bargh and others in the s, describes sophisticated processes for executing goals which can be selected and performed over an extended duration without conscious awareness.

John Bargh, Daniel Wegner , and Ellen Langer are some prominent contemporary psychologists who describe free will as an illusion. Psychologists such as William James initially used the term motivation to refer to intention, in a sense similar to the concept of will in European philosophy. With the steady rise of Darwinian and Freudian thinking, instinct also came to be seen as a primary source of motivation. Psychoanalysis, like biology, regarded these forces as physical demands made by the organism on the nervous system. However, they believed that these forces, especially the sexual instincts, could become entangled and transmuted within the psyche.

Classical psychoanalysis conceives of a struggle between the pleasure principle and the reality principle , roughly corresponding to id and ego.

Intervening in the Brain

Later, in Beyond the Pleasure Principle , Freud introduced the concept of the death drive , a compulsion towards aggression, destruction, and psychic repetition of traumatic events. Hunger, thirst, fear, sexual desire, and thermoregulation all seem to constitute fundamental motivations for animals. Motivation can be modulated or manipulated in many different ways. Researchers have found that eating , for example, depends not only on the organism's fundamental need for homeostasis —an important factor causing the experience of hunger—but also on circadian rhythms, food availability, food palatability, and cost.

They suggest that this principle can even apply to food, drink, sex, and sleep. Mainly focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age. This may focus on cognitive, affective, moral, social, or neural development. Researchers who study children use a number of unique research methods to make observations in natural settings or to engage them in experimental tasks.

Such tasks often resemble specially designed games and activities that are both enjoyable for the child and scientifically useful, and researchers have even devised clever methods to study the mental processes of infants. In addition to studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the life span, especially at other times of rapid change such as adolescence and old age. Developmental psychologists draw on the full range of psychological theories to inform their research. All researched psychological traits are influenced by both genes and environment, to varying degrees.

An example is the transmission of depression from a depressed mother to her offspring. Theory may hold that the offspring, by virtue of having a depressed mother in his or her the offspring's environment, is at risk for developing depression. However, risk for depression is also influenced to some extent by genes.

The mother may both carry genes that contribute to her depression but will also have passed those genes on to her offspring thus increasing the offspring's risk for depression. Genes and environment in this simple transmission model are completely confounded. Experimental and quasi-experimental behavioral genetic research uses genetic methodologies to disentangle this confound and understand the nature and origins of individual differences in behavior.

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More recently, the availability of microarray molecular genetic or genome sequencing technologies allows researchers to measure participant DNA variation directly, and test whether individual genetic variants within genes are associated with psychological traits and psychopathology through methods including genome-wide association studies.

One goal of such research is similar to that in positional cloning and its success in Huntington's : once a causal gene is discovered biological research can be conducted to understand how that gene influences the phenotype. One major result of genetic association studies is the general finding that psychological traits and psychopathology, as well as complex medical diseases, are highly polygenic , [] [] [] [] [] where a large number on the order of hundreds to thousands of genetic variants, each of small effect, contribute to individual differences in the behavioral trait or propensity to the disorder.

Active research continues to understand the genetic and environmental bases of behavior and their interaction. Psychology encompasses many subfields and includes different approaches to the study of mental processes and behavior:. Psychological testing has ancient origins, such as examinations for the Chinese civil service dating back to BC.

By , the Chinese system required a stratified series of tests, involving essay writing and knowledge of diverse topics. The system was ended in Physiognomy remained current through the Enlightenment, and added the doctrine of phrenology: a study of mind and intelligence based on simple assessment of neuroanatomy. When experimental psychology came to Britain, Francis Galton was a leading practitioner, and, with his procedures for measuring reaction time and sensation, is considered an inventor of modern mental testing also known as psychometrics.

Binet and Simon introduced the concept of mental age and referred to the lowest scorers on their test as idiots. Henry H.

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Goddard put the Binet-Simon scale to work and introduced classifications of mental level such as imbecile and feebleminded. In after Binet's death , Stanford professor Lewis M. Terman modified the Binet-Simon scale renamed the Stanford—Binet scale and introduced the intelligence quotient as a score report.

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How Experience Changes Brain Plasticity

Their dullness seems to be racial. The federally created National Intelligence Test was administered to 7 million children in the s, and in the College Entrance Examination Board created the Scholastic Aptitude Test to standardize college admissions.

Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain

Setting a precedent which has never been overturned, the U. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of this practice in the case Buck v. Today mental testing is a routine phenomenon for people of all ages in Western societies. The provision of psychological health services is generally called clinical psychology in the U.