The truth is that the two hemispheres work together in everything you do. The brain contains a band of fibers called the corpus callosum that binds the two hemispheres together. It serves to connect distant neurons that fire together, adding dimension and depth to everything you do and think. The corpus callosum of a woman is denser than that of a man. The female brain is more symmetrical. The male brain has an asymmetrical torque, which means that the right frontal lobe is larger than the left frontal lobe, and the left occipital back of the head lobe is larger than the right occipital lobe.
For both sexes, the right hemisphere processes visual and spatial information, enabling you to grasp the big picture. The right hemisphere pays more attention to the context or the gist of a situation. The left hemisphere, in contrast, is more adept at details, categories, and linearly arranged information such as language. Once the knowledge becomes routine and overlearned, the left hemisphere comes more into play. This is another reason that language is processed by the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere makes better connections with the parts of the brain below the cortex, so it is more emotional by nature.
Words often carry more emotional meaning for women than they do for men. There are four lobes in each hemisphere: the frontal lobe, the parietal middle lobe, the temporal side lobe, and the occipital lobe. Each has specific talents. You remember the elegant shape of the chair through your right parietal lobe. You remember the words your friend used to describe his trip to Costa Rica through your left temporal lobe, and you process the tone of his voice through your right temporal lobe. You remember looking back at the chair as you were leaving the room and noticing its deep cinnamon color through your occipital lobe.
Women have a greater density of neurons in the temporal lobe, which specializes in language. This verbal advantage begins to appear during the first two years of life, when little girls develop the ability to talk about six months earlier than little boys do. When developing verbal strategies, women activate the left hippocampus a part of the brain related to memory more than men do. Men generally have greater visual and spatial skills, because they show greater activity in the right hippocampus than women do.
The most recent addition to our evolutionary development is the frontal lobe, which makes up about 20 percent of the human brain. In comparison, the frontal lobe of a cat occupies about 3. The frontal lobe is the last part of the brain to mature in humans; its development is not complete until sometime in the third decade of life. At the forefront of the frontal lobe, the prefrontal cortex PFC gives us many of our most complex cognitive, behavioral, and emotional capacities.
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The PFC enables you to develop and act on a moral system, because it allows you to set aside your needs and reflect on the needs of others. The PFC is part of a system that provides you with the capacity for empathy. If your PFC is damaged, you are likely to engage in antisocial and impulsive behaviors or not engage in any purposeful behavior at all. Dorsal means fin or top, and lateral means side. The other significant prefrontal area is called the orbital frontal cortex OFC , because it lies just behind the orbs of the eyes. The DLPFC is very involved in higher-order thinking, attention, and short-term memory which is also called working memory because it processes what you are working on at any one time.
The DLPFC is the last part of the brain to fully develop, and it is also the earliest to falter during the later years of life. The DLPFC is involved with complex problem solving, so it maintains rich connections with the hippocampus, which helps you to remember things for later. The OFC, in contrast, appears to have a closer relationship with the parts of the brain that process emotions, such as those generated by your amygdala. The OFC develops earlier in life and is closely associated with what is called the social brain. Gage retained his cognitive abilities but lost much of his ability to inhibit impulses.
He had previously been a supervisor who was widely respected, but now he became unstable in stark contrast to his previous emotional reserve , erratic, rude, and hard to get along with. Gage was eventually reduced to working in a circus freak show, and he died penniless in San Francisco twenty years after the injury. His skull is on display at Harvard Medical School. Highly influenced by bonding, the OFC thrives on close relationships. If those relationships are trusting and supportive, the OFC becomes more capable of regulating your emotions. Older adults remember faces as well as younger adults do.
Finally, there are differences between the left and the right pre-frontal cortex.
It helps you to make plans, stay on course toward your overall goal, and understand metaphor. Your left PFC, in contrast, helps you to focus on the details of individual events, like how many points were scored in the second half of a football game. Within all these lobes, hemispheres, and modules are a hundred billion neurons waiting to be used. Each neuron is capable of maintaining connections with about ten thousand other neurons.
These connections change as you learn things, such as a new tennis swing, a new language, or the layout of a new supermarket. Neurons function partly on chemistry and partly on the electrical firing of impulses in an on-and-off manner. Neurons communicate with one another by sending chemical messengers called neurotransmitters across a gap called a synapse. This is how one neuron gets another neuron to fire. More than sixty types of neurotransmitters exist in the brain. Some make you excited, and some calm you down.
There are many different shapes and sizes of synapses, and the shape and size of a synapse changes as you learn something new. Two neurotransmitters account for about 80 percent of the signaling in the brain: glutamate, which is excitatory and stirs activity, and gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA , which is inhibitory and quiets down activity.
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Glutamate is the workhorse in the brain. When it delivers a signal between two neurons that previously had no connection, it primes the pump for later activation. The more times this connection is activated, the stronger the wiring is between these neurons. GABA, in contrast, helps to calm you down when you need to be calm.
It is the target of drugs like Valium and Ativan, which used to be prescribed as a panacea for anxiety. Although glutamate and GABA are the principal neurotransmitters, there are scores of others that play important roles in the brain. They account for only a fraction of the activity between the neurons, but they have a powerful influence on those neurons.
They are widely researched, and many drugs have been designed to affect them. The three most researched neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and they are sometimes called neuromodulators because they alter the sensitivity of receptors, make a neuron more efficient, or instruct a neuron to make more glutamate. They can also help to lower the noise in the brain by working to override other signals that are coming into the synapse. Sometimes, however, they intensify those other signals. These three neurotransmitters can either act directly, like glutamate and GABA, or fine-tune the flow of information that is being processed in the synapses.
Serotonin has attracted much publicity because of the widespread use of drugs like Prozac.
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Serotonin plays a role in emotional tone and in many different emotional responses. Low serotonin levels are correlated with anxiety, depression, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD. Serotonin is like a traffic cop, because it helps to keep brain activity under control. Norepinephrine activates attention. It amplifies the signals that influence perception, arousal, and motivation. Like serotonin, norepinephrine has been associated with mood and depression. It has been targeted by antidepressants such as Ludiomil and Vesta. Dopamine sharpens and focuses attention.
It has also been associated with reward, movement, and learning, and it is one of the principal neurotransmitters that code pleasure. When registering pleasure, dopamine activates an area called the nucleus accumbens , sometimes referred to as the pleasure center. Activation of the nucleus accumbens has been associated with drug abuse, gambling, and other types of addictive behaviors. When this area is frequently activated, it becomes hard to stop doing the things that activate it. People usually children and adolescents who are given.
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Your brain is not hardwired, it's "softwired" by experience. This book shows you how you can rewire parts of the brain to feel more positive about your life, remain calm during stressful times, and improve your social relationships. Written by a leader in the field of Brain-Based Therapy, it teaches you how to activate the parts of your brain that have been underactivated and calm down those areas that have been hyperactivated so that you feel positive about your life and remain calm during stressful times.
You will also learn to improve your memory, boost your mood, have better relationships, and get a good night sleep. Arden is a leader in integrating the new developments in neuroscience with psychotherapy and Director of Training in Mental Health for Kaiser Permanente for the Northern California Region Explaining exciting new developments in neuroscience and their applications to daily living, Rewire Your Brain will guide you through the process of changing your brain so you can change your life and be free of self-imposed limitations.
Back cover copy If you want to change your life, you need to change your brain.
Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life
Arden paved the way for brain-based therapy and what the brain can do. It's refreshing, practical, and innovative. Ng, Ph. Rewire Your Brain guides you through this breakthrough process, revealing how to minimize your anxiety and enhance your brain's longevity in order to live a vibrant life free of self-imposed limitations. Written by Dr. John Arden, a leader in the field of brain-based therapy, this accessible guide addresses the recent advances in neuroscience and explains exactly how to apply them to specific areas of your daily life.
You'll discover how to: Develop mental connections that promote good habits and shut off those that support bad habits Quiet your brain, conquer fear, and approach life courageously Become calm, energized, and focused by making new connections between your neurons Improve and expand your relationships show more. Table of contents Preface. Review quote At last, a practical book that not only brings us up to date with the latest developments in neuroscience but also gives tools and techniques to help 'rewire the brain' and maximize the brain's potential.
A fascinating and inspirational book. It s refreshing, practical and innovative. Kit S. John Arden goes on an exciting quest for your mind. If you would like to learn more about Mindful Attitudes and Brain-based therapies, you definitely need to read this book. It is a valuable contribution indeed. Avigail Moor Ph. John Arden has a gift for making complicated and advanced scientific findings interesting and easy to understand.
I have not been reading much about brain structures, processes, and neurotransmitters since studying first year psychology almost 30 years ago, a time when the knowledge in this field was quite rudimentary. Rewire Your Brain presents old knowledge and concepts together with results of new research in at way that gives you an updated insight in how we are wired.
Even more important, it gives hope and practical advice for both therapists and their patients, but also for healthy individuals who want to improve their memory, mood, or bad habits! Arden tells us all about the brain in an accessible way, he even animates it in some way, in contrast to brain researchers who investigate the brain like an lifeless mechanism.