Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.




The lecturer in my Post-Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Differences course recommended this book to us in one of the lectures. It seemed really interesting so I promptly snapped a picture of it with my iPhone and posted it up on Facebook, asking if any of my friends had it. Turns out one of my colleague did.

She kindly loaned it to me and I finished the book within 3 weeks as I have been tremendously busy.

It's a most fascinating read. From Chapter 1, the author explains how the brain is plastic and is able to adapt and change to accommodate various situations and circumstances. In Chapter 2, a lady who is born "retarded" but gifted with a photographic memory managed to make it to university and then after she developed cognitive exercises to improve her abstract thinking skills, the other parts of her brain demonstrated significant improvement as well. Now at 50, she is the successful founder of the Arrowsmith School in Toronto and is a person who is "sharp and funny" according to the author.

Amazing.

In Chapter 4, the author delves into "what neuroplasticity teaches us about sexual attraction and love" which is very interesting. This is followed by an incredible Chapter 5 that shows us how "stroke victims lean to move and speak again". Have you ever heard of anything like this?

Absolutely mind-blowing.

The rest of the book expounds on the concept of neuroplasticity and emphasizes the fact that "neurons that fire together wire together", meaning that the more one does something, the more ingrained the habit will become. On a side note, the Bible has taught this concept a long time back, telling us that we need to transform ourselves by the renewing of our minds.

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE, yes you, because when you are able to understand and tap on the concept of neuroplasticity, the potential is boundless! After reading this book, I decided that if I had a choice, I would do a PhD in neuroscience. But first, I'll do my Masters in NUS, that is, if I can get in, but this is a story for another day.

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