The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are

Daniel J. Siegel, Author Guilford Publications $60 (394p) ISBN 978-1-57230-453-6
We know that what other people do and say to us--especially when we're young--helps shape our later ideas and emotions. We also know more than ever about how neurons, neurotransmitters and the structures in our brains create and affect our minds and personalities. Siegel, who directs the Infant and Preschool Service at UCLA, connects our life among others to the life in our brains: his hefty, ambitious work tries to show how both create our selves--how ""human connections shape the neural connections through which the mind emerges."" A chapter on memory explains how ""neural networks,"" ""engrams"" and ""retrieval cues"" help us form stories about our pasts; a chapter on our attachments to parents and others links current neuroscience to some of the most exciting and useful work in recent clinical psychology. Why can't we remember what we did at age three? Why are some children unusually shy? What is the biochemistry of humiliation, and how can it be ""toxic to the developing child's brain""? New and plausible answers to these questions emerge from Siegel's synthesis of neurobiology, research psychology and cognitive science. Siegel explains all the technical terms he uses, and assumes no prior knowledge. And despite his frequently dry and quite detailed prose, his subject--how we become the people we are--deserves to hold many readers spellbound. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/12/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
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