Examining the new brain science

Comments Print Casey Schwartz For two disciplines with a shared devotion to understanding the human mind, neuroscience and psychoanalysis have something of an awkward relationship. From within the booming field of neuroscience, which aims to locate mental life in the structures and functioning of the brain, Sigmund Freud’s century-old vision of human psychology as a product of deep and unconscious patterns of experience, traceable through extensive talk therapy, can seem like a relic. Psychoanalysts, meanwhile, though often enthusiastic about the new brain science, worry that both scientists and insurers can be too quick to embrace physical explanations — and cheaper, one-size-fits-all medical solutions — for any psychological difficulty. “Psychoanalysis is a little bit beleaguered right now,” said Casey Schwartz, a science writer whose new book, “In the Mind Fields: Exploring…

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