Lieberman makes brain science approachable

I fear this could end up becoming a list of praises but I want to applaud Lieberman on his use of layman terms, how he breaks down experiments, and even how he explains sections of the brain. The last piece is lost on me as I gloss over the actual physical locations of the brain, however, if I wanted to remember them, his use of images would be very instrumental. I think my comments suggest that what makes Lieberman’s book praiseworthy is that while I’m sure he has developed  what Ambrose, et al calls “unconscious competence” (a step in which one exercises the skills and knowledge in her domain so automatically and instinctively that she is no longer consciously aware of what she knows or does), he manages to step back from the expert view and break everything down into understandable pieces for those of us who would otherwise not have a clue.

Lieberman doesn’t limit himself to scholarly work but adds well-placed anecdotes about his son, youth, and overall experiences. He also embraces quotations, and therefore themes, ideals, schools of thought, from a vast variety of voices. I think half of what I have highlighted has been quotations that I will copy, print, and hang in my office as insights and inspiration.

On a personal note (not that the above hasn’t been), I am happy to learn that my own self-diagnosed lazy brain is apparently in good company with human-kind. Reading about heuristics makes me want to learn more about the extent to which an average human will avoid exerting effort if there are mental shortcuts. I know that I will go pretty fair and have most of my life.

Lastly, and most importantly as far as my development in this course, Lieberman has provided me a basis from which to start with my paper. He discusses specific experiments in social neuroscience that look at the condition of humans and the way our self is developed and influenced by our world. I may be wrong to think of him this way but I honestly find him to be one of the most credible authors we have read. This is purely based upon the fact that he hasn’t said anything so far that makes me truly question him. I may find minor disagreements with his way of wording certain pieces but overall I find him reliable. His premises are believable and he provides understandable concrete evidence to support his claims. Obviously, I would need to fact-check and read what he has cited myself, which I will be doing for some portions of the book, but yeah, for now I like and trust him. In fact, I’ve already started recommending out the book.

My coworker sent me this TED on Emotional Hygiene the same day I started reading Social and I found it fairly relevant and oddly serendipitous

Ambrose SA, Bridges MW, DiPietro M, Lovett MC, Norman MK, Mayer RE . 2010 . How Learning Works: 7 Research-based Principles for Smart Teaching . San Francisco , CA .: Jossey-Bass

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2 Responses to Lieberman makes brain science approachable

  1. That’s the part that I expect to be using as well!

  2. David Liburd says:

    I too enjoyed the way Lieberman’s explanation and interpretation, his use of quotes and the quotes he used, were in compliance with his analogous views. I especially liked part 4 chapter 8, Harmonizing. Seeing as I’ve changed my paper topic, Social Media and Networking As An Institution, I will more than likely use this book as a reference. (Last weeks co-class was insightful and useful also). I enjoyed the “reflective appraisal generation” concept and the example he used with, young adolescents and adults, reporting on “direct appraisals” and “reflected appraisals”. Where medial prefrontal cortex results suggests that the adolescences seemed to have more lassez faire than the adults who seemed preoccupied with what others may think of them. This also, I think relates to that great TED video you shared. The mind is a terrible thing to waste…and left threadbare.

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