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334 pages (284 text)
8 CE credits

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THE NEW EXECUTIVE BRAIN
Frontal Lobes in a Complex World

Elkhonon Goldberg, Ph.D.
Oxford University Press, 2009

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES The reader will be able to:
• Describe the functions of the frontal lobes of the brain
• Describe executive functions
• Describe how these functions are involved in intentionality, purposefulness, and complex decision making
• Review the great range of frontal lobe 'styles' in normal people
• Review the effects of neurological disease or brain damage
• Describe the differences and similarities in male-female brains and functions
• Describe how the brain's structures are interlinked with each other
• Describe the ways executive functions can be tested and ways in which frontal functions can be strengthened
• Describe the mechanism of neurotransmitters
• Review studies on brain plasticity

Elkhonon Goldberg, Ph.D. is Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine.

Elkhonon Goldberg's groundbreaking The Executive Brain was a classic of scientific writing, revealing how the frontal lobes command the most human parts of the mind. Now he offers a completely new book, providing fresh, iconoclastic ideas about the relationship between the brain and the mind. In The New Executive Brain, Goldberg paints a sweeping panorama of cutting-edge thinking in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology, one that ranges far beyond the frontal lobes. Drawing on the latest discoveries, and developing complex scientific ideas and relating them to real life through many fascinating case studies and anecdotes, the author explores how the brain engages in complex decision-making; how it deals with novelty and ambiguity; and how it addresses moral choices. At every step, Goldberg challenges entrenched assumptions. For example, we know that the left hemisphere of the brain is the seat of language--but Goldberg argues that language may not be the central adaptation of the left hemisphere. Apes lack language, yet many also show evidence of asymmetric hemispheric development. Goldberg also finds that a complex interaction between the frontal lobes and the amygdale--between a recently evolved and a much older part of the brain--controls emotion, as conscious thoughts meet automatic impulses. The author illustrates this observation with a personal example: the difficulty he experienced when trying to pick up a baby alligator he knew to be harmless, as his amygdala battled his effort to extend his hand. The New Executive Brain, Goldberg affirms Goldberg's place as one of our most creative and insightful scientists, offering lucid writing and bold, paradigm-shifting ideas.

Editorial Reviews

"...develop[s] insights into a variety of conditions and dispositions, including specific brain injuries, drug effects, sex differences, schizophrenia, acttention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and more. An especially informative chapter deals with cognitive rehabilitation, including what can be done to stave off dementia. Goldberg also finds parallels between the evolution of the brain and the fates of political systems, including the collapse of the Soviet Union and the assertion of ethnic identities throughout the world...This is a ruminative book...often laced with revealing anecdotes."--PsycCRITIQUES


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Elkhonon Goldberg's groundbreaking The Executive Brain has been part of ISHK's Continuing Education program since 2001. With this new course, The New Executive Brain, the author draws on the latest discoveries and developing complex scientific ideas and relates them to real life through many case studies and anecdotes. He continues in this new book his exploration of how the brain engages in complex decision-making, how it deals with novelty and ambiguity, and how it addresses moral choices.


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