"I believe that a broad ranging and open public discussion is now emerging. How can human creativity and imagination help resolve the challenges we face not only through new technologies but also through better understanding of what drives human behavior?
What is it, for example, about the way our brains are wired that makes the risk and competition of the market place so compelling? Why is it that novelty and material goods so hold our fascination that we have yielded up our responsibilities as citizens to become unquestioning consumers?
And what will it take, given this new understanding, to constructively re-channel our energy toward a creativity that better serves both the individual and the common good? I am confident that if we draw upon our collective wisdom and together confront the big questions of today then new ideas will emerge -- both to challenge and to inspire..."
The Well-Tuned Brain is a call to action. Swept along by the cascading advances of today’s technology, most of us take for granted that progress brings improvement. The evidence grows, however, that we are failing to create a sustainable future for humanity. We are out of tune with the planet that nurtures us.
Technology itself is not the problem, as Whybrow explains, but rather our behavior. Throughout its evolution the ancient brain that guides us each day has been focused on short-term survival. But we are also intensely social creatures and learn from each other. This is fortunate. Without the caring behaviors that flow from intimate attachments to others, we would be relying on a brain that is only marginally adapted to the complexity of the problems we must now face together....
New in the Media
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
May 11th, 2015.
This Is Your Brain on Easy Credit:
How did Americans rack up $11.83 trillion in debt? by Peter C. Whybrow
The reward circuitry of the human brain is vital to our survival, but it wasn’t built to grapple with seductive credit card offers and no-money-down mortgages. Easy credit feeds our love of immediate gratification, distorts self-regulation and diminishes prudent market behavior, creating a destabilizing positive-feedback loop. Analysts trying to understand the explosion of consumer debt should look no further than neuroscience.
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Stress Fractures: In "U", the UCLA Magazine, Lyndon Stambler writes: "The British-born Dr. Whybrow, who has lived in the U.S. for 40 years, is a de Tocqueville-esque observer of American society. In his book American Mania he notes Americans’ stress-inducing drive for material wealth. Now he posits a remedy in The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well-Lived." UCLA's Healthy Campus Initiative, funded by Jane and Terry Semel, is re-engineering student life to address the problems confronting Americans and is a living lab at the University for Whybrow's ideas. Read whole article