Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Malleable Brain

"...Central to answering these questions are two fairly recent insights of brain research. One concerns the parts of the brain that produce a sense of well-being: our brains have a special circuitry for joy, pleasure, and euphoria - we have a happiness system. Just as we come into the world with a capacity for speech, we are also programmed for positive feelings. This discovery will shape our understanding of mankind as powerfully as Freud's theories of the deep unconscious did in the last century.

The other, still more surprising discovery is that the adult brain continues to change. Until a few years ago scientists believed that the brain, like bones, was fully grown by no later than the end of puberty. But exactly the opposite is true: the circuits in our brain are altered whenever we learn something, and new connections are forged in our network of nerve cells. Using the right microscopes, we can even see these transformations within the skull. After you have read this book, your brain will look different than it did when you started."

Page xv, Introduction, 'The Science of Happiness, How Our Brains Make Us Happy - and What We Can Do to Get Happier', by Stefan Klein, PhD

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