Minding the Social Brain

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9780985132941: Minding the Social Brain

Minding the Social Brain—Virtual Foundation Stone; for the initiative to fund a decade-long BRAIN ACTIVITY MAP—BAM as in OBAMA.

A generation of social neuroscientists uses acronyms to identify the structural neural networks revealed in the NIH Human Connectome Project. They know that a medial brain hub of nodal networks, the Default Mode (DM), uses most of the brain’s activation energy. Responding to the unexpected, it adapts the brain’s predictive capacity by learning—modifying its own synaptic structure. During syndrome formation in brain damage, depression, traumatic anxiety, or psychosis, the DM maintains familiar mental fantasy and reverie—even when its core networks should be processing new data for adaptive problem-solving. Alzheimer’s disease decimates all the nodes of this hub.

Just as industry alongside government generated our genome code, researchers worldwide in the private sector and government are already exploring how a brain’s emergent property unifies its mind. Alert to perspectives that determine their future, workers in the social field have to develop their own emergent learning. Dr. Harris here provides a Rosetta Stone for exploring neural networks, mental hubs, mind/brain synthesis—and institutions that externalize these structures. Extending Freud’s discovery of a person’s dynamic unconscious, he depicts a dynamic social unconscious mediating social, economic, and political policy. From this perspective he presents contemporary and historical social syndromes. Collective PTSD, for instance, manifests in global criminal economies, widespread poverty, media escapism, and political denial.

International Psychoanalytic Books (IPBooks.net) and distributor Jason Aronson, Inc. are happy to present this compelling analysis of individual and collective syndromes that have their own emergent sources in both social process and brain process.

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About the Author:

Jay Evans Harris, MD, is a Midwesterner from St. Paul who has spent his professional life in New York City. His interest in psychiatry and the mind grew from trying to understand his mother’s epilepsy and his maternal grandmother’s psychotic depression. During the Depression and War years, his engineer father moved the family to Seattle, then back to the Twin Cities, and when Jay was in his teens to Baltimore, where he later attended Johns Hopkins and the U. of Maryland Medical School.

He moved to New York for proximity to the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. After internship at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and during his psychiatry residency at Jacobi hospital in the Bronx, he began psychoanalytic training, continuing throughout his postgraduate training at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. During his 50-year career in psychiatry he was a ward chief at Metropolitan Hospital, residency director in psychiatry at Cabrini Medical Center and at Stony Brook University Medical Center, and consulting psychiatrist at Riverside Church Pastoral Counseling Center, while maintaining an ongoing private practice and holding privileges and academic appointments at several prestigious medical centers in New York and on Long Island. He has worked with prisoners, SRO hotel populations, street people, university students, and celebrities.

A lifelong interest in psychoanalysis and neuroscience combined with a love of writing has resulted in his six books, covering a wide range of intellectual ground from clinical case histories to social neuroscience. His new book, Minding the Social Brain, brings brain science to bear on the workings of the mind and interdisciplinary social sciences.

Jay lives with his wife near Princeton, NJ, and continues a private practice in Manhattan. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. He likes to think of himself as a cross between a laid-back Jewish Minnesotan, and a New Yorker with street cred.

Review:

Both Freud and Kohut were strongly convinced that psychoanalysis had a great deal to offer for an understanding of the social structures we live in and the political forces that move our world. In undertaking a first attempt to understand social tendencies in a brain-mind format compatible with psychoanalysis, Dr. Harris has done groundbreaking work for a future psychoanalytic understanding of social syndromes. This is a book to be read and pondered by all those interested in neuropsychology, psychoanalysis and social justice. (Sheldon Bach, PhD, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis)

In this sophisticated and erudite volume, Jay Harris beautifully demonstrates the connections between neural structures and functions, on the one hand, and politics, history, religion and other social phenomena, on the other. He also shows how psychoanalytic or psychological concepts such as guilt, anxiety and conflict can emanate from and be mapped onto the workings and environment of the brain. Anyone looking for a serious high-end book in the rapidly evolving field of social neuroscience and its clinical applications will want to read this fascinating volume. (Stanley B. Messer, PhD, Rutgers University)

Every page is a treasure trove of novel and integrative ideas. Dr. Harris artfully draws from cutting edge neuroscience to contemporary culture; from classical psychoanalysis to social and political movements and back through the anatomy and chemistry of the brain. Looking for the neural substrates which link such things as mythology and history to developmental and quotidian human behaviors, this innovative thinker blazes new trails in our journey toward understanding where mind meets brain, creatively locating that junction within. (Virginia L. Susman, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College)

Dr. Jay Harris has created a ‘Babette’s Feast’ for those of us interested in a more three-dimensional, integrative, non-reductionistic view of human beings and their psychiatric and socio-emotional predicaments. A masterful integration of brain, mind, and culture. Minding the Social Brain is a tour de force revealing our human-ness and a generous virtuosity in mapping neuron to neighborhood. (Brian Koehler, PhD, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis; President, ISPS-US.)

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