The Brain-Mind Connection

In the past, when people had psychological problems, neuroscientists would often wrongly jump to the conclusion that something in the persons” past was to blame. Nowadays, scientists know more than ever about the growing field of neuroscience. In “The Brain-Mind Connection: A Quarter Century of Neuroscience”, Beth Horning discusses the future possibilities for this growing field. According to recent statistics, “over 90 percent of the neuroscientists who ever lived are living now” (59), and more has been accomplished in the field during the past twenty years than the past two hundred.

Until recently, the brain could only be studied in extreme situations of illness when symptoms readily appeared. The public lacked interest in matters of the mind, which made neuroscience a difficult field to research. Not until the arrival of the positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) did the public give a second thought to brain activity. These tools gave scientists a way to visually track brain activity. PET scans, for example, helped disprove the theory that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychological illness where a patient is fixated to the “anal” stage of psychosexual development to “hash out the barely remembered intricacies of their toilet training” (61).

Many scientists have also pursued the field of neuroscience and have helped it become what it is today. One such example would be Francis Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. Crick was believed to be the only scientist in the entire field who had enough authority and influence to “make consciousness a legitimate subject for science” (62). Crick and Christof Koch, a colleague and neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology, have been researching at the cellular level, studying the relationship between neurons and the signals they transmit to each other.

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