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Ethan, S. (1976). The Brain Changers: Scientists and the New Mind Control. Maya Pines. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1973. 248 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 63(1):153-154.

(1976). Psychoanalytic Review, 63(1):153-154

Book Reviews

The Brain Changers: Scientists and the New Mind Control. Maya Pines. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1973. 248 pp.

Review by:
Seymour Ethan

In the past twenty years laboratory scientists have, almost by accident, confirmed important aspects of psychoanalytic thought. The dream research of Dement and his followers are an example. Penfield's classic experiments are another—when he applied electrical stimulation to brain cells, his patients vividly relived forgotten incidents in their pasts. As we have long understood, nothing in the mind is really lost.

Now the journalist Maya Pines brings us a short, popular account of a variety of recent discoveries by brain researchers, findings that must evoke in us the well-known “Aha!” reaction. (Though she does not mention it, brain researchers are even finding brain cells that handle this reaction, signaling that the correct data or solution to a problem has been found.)

For us perhaps the most striking chapter deals with the newly found specialization in the left and right halves of the brain (Chapter 7, which received advance publication in The New York Times Magazine Section, September 9, 1973).

One can imagine referring to these findings while trying to explain the concept of the unconscious. “The lab scientists tell us,” one might say, “that the two halves of the adult brain do completely different work. The left half handles speech and language generally, also mental arithmetic—all the logical, analytical, computerlike functions. That's what most people consider their “conscious” mind. But the right half of the brain feels, thinks, and perceives in a completely different way, without words. It deals in music, imagination, the “poetic,” creativity in general. It grasps the totality, the Gestalt of a scene better than the left brain. It carries the weight of many emotions.

“True, the left brain “talks” as if it didn't trust the right, prefers to ignore it, even puts it down, just as many patients (and scientists) ignore, put down, do not trust the idea of unconscious acts, thoughts,

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