As human beings, we cherish our individuality yet we know that
we live in constant relationship to others, and that other people
play a significant part in regulating our emotional and social
behavior. Although this interdependence is a reality of our
existence, we are just beginning to understand that we have evolved
as social creatures with interwoven brains and biologies. The human
brain itself is a social organ and to truly understand being human,
we must understand not only how we as whole people exist with
others, but how our brains, themselves, exist in relationship to
other brains. The first edition of this book tackled these
important questions of interpersonal neurobiology that the brain is
a social organ built through experience using poignant case
examples from the author s years of clinical experience. Brain
drawings and elegant explanations of social neuroscience wove
together emerging findings from the research literature to bring
neuroscience to the stories of our lives. Since the publication of
the first edition in 2006, the field of social neuroscience has
grown at a mind-numbing pace. Technical advances now provide more
windows into our inner neural universe and terms like attachment,
empathy, compassion, and mindfulness have begun to appear in the
scientific literature. Overall, there has been a deepening
appreciation for the essential interdependence of brain and mind.
More and more parents, teachers, and therapists are asking how
brains develop, grow, connect, learn, and heal. The new edition of
this book organizes this cutting-edge, abundant research and
presents its compelling insights, reflecting a host of significant
developments in social neuroscience. Our understanding of mirror
neurons and their significance to human relationships has continued
to expand and deepen and is discussed here. Additionally, this
edition reflects the gradual shift in focus from individual brain
structures to functional neural systems an important and necessary
step forward. A great deal of neural overlap has been discovered in
brain activation when we are thinking about others and ourselves.
This raises many questions including how we come to know others and
whether the notion of an individual self is anything more than an
evolutionary strategy to support our interconnection. In short, we
are just beginning to see the larger implications of all
neurological processes how the architecture of the brain can help
us to better understand individuals and our relationships. This
book gives readers a deeper appreciation of how and why
relationships have the power to reshape our brains throughout our
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