Human Minds - An Exploration

12 Jun 2010

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Book: Human Minds - An Exploration
Author: Margaret Donaldson
ISBN-13: 978-0140170337

Margaret Donaldson is Emeritus Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. In this book, she discusses in detail the development of the human brain from childhood. She defines and explains the four essential modes in which our brain develops and functions. Point-mode, Line-mode, Construct-mode, and Transcendent-mode with lots of research data from well-known scientists in this field.

Even though this book reads like a text-book of Psycho-analysis field, she hooks you up into this book very quickly. Since the first section of the book deals with the development of the children brain, lots of case studies about the children spread over this book. Anything related to kids must be interesting. (No excuses, even if its a text-book).

She details the modes of our brain, with precise data and the time-lines. Ex. The child brain will be in Point-mode until the eighth month approx, and then it transcends to Line-Mode for next three years. During this period, how the child will behave and how his/her brain can be trained to develop to its full capacity, are explained. It gave me meaningful information on kids brain, which every parent must know. I thank her for that.

So far, so good. Until the interval…

The second section of the book deals with brains functionality when it’s mature. (i.e., an adult’s brain). Margaret tried to explain through the medium which she is not comfortable with. She touches a few religions - Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Muslim, etc. to explain, how the brain switches the mode when dealing with emotions and raw information.

I feel that the author drifted away from what I expected from the book and tried to explain the things which she may not understand fully (with a disclaimer, of course). She went on to describe the “self-realization” in various religions concerning modes of the brain. One good thing is that she doesn’t conclude anything; instead, she puts them as questions, back to us. So, if you know that specific religion, the text will make sense to you.

I felt that I am in Margaret’s class on Human Minds rather than reading a book. The writing style could be improved, avoiding long sentences and with proper punctuation. If you have the habit of reading out loud, then you will gasp for oxygen, while reading :)

Overall, I am happy that I came to know a lot about human brain development. I would suggest you read the first half of the book. The second half is your choice.

Please buy the book from your local bookstore.

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