Psych roots

I believe I have closed a circle. I am reading (being read to) David Sapolsky’s   book ‘Behave’ which tracks behavior from the neurochemical processes that precede behaviors by milliseconds to what happens before that in minutes, months, years all the way back to childhood and what happens  in the womb. The chapter on early childhood development dragged out of my hippocampus (as I know now) all the theories and names that I learned 45 years ago. Some of the theories have been debunked but most have stood the test of time. The names of the researchers and their universities didn’t mean much to me at the time. Now they do.

I am dazzled by the complexities, multitude of agents, responsiveness to variation (environmental and endocrine), the improvisation, and learning and looping of brain processes. I am more surprised than ever that most of us, most of the people I know and work with, and those I meet around the world, behave more or less within the norms of the societies we were born into.

And although I know a lot more than a year ago about the brain, it is still one tiny bit of what there is to know. There are entire sections of the book that leave me perplexed and wondering, what did he just talk about? I go back 30 seconds or more and listen ago, still none the wiser. I am glad I took the Coursera course on the brain so I am a few steps ahead of Axel who is also reading the book and is even more perplexed. But in between the perplexities we are learning more about why we/others behave the way we/they do. And this is bringing me back to my initial professional discipline of psychology.

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