In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis

Author(s): Casey Schwartz

Social Sciences | Featured Titles | Staff Picks | Medicine

" Everywhere I looked it seemed that we were being defined by what our brains were doing . . . Everywhere, there were hucksters and geniuses, all trying to colonize the new world of the brain. " I d never been a science person, Casey Schwartz declares at the beginning of her far-reaching quest to understand how we define ourselves. Nevertheless, in her early twenties, she was drawn to the possibilities and insights emerging on the frontiers of brain research. Over the next decade she set out to meet the neuroscientists and psychoanalysts engaged with such questions as, How do we perceive the world, make decisions, or remember our childhoods? Are we using the brain? Or the mind? To what extent is it both? Schwartz discovered that neuroscience and psychoanalysis are engaged in a conflict almost as old as the disciplines themselves. Many neuroscientists, if they think about psychoanalysis at all, view it as outdated, arbitrary, and subjective, while many psychoanalysts decry neuroscience as lacking the true texture of human experience. With passion and humor, Schwartz explores the surprising efforts to find common ground. Beginning among the tweedy Freudians of North London and proceeding to laboratories, consulting rooms, and hospital bedsides around the world, Schwartz introduces a cast of pioneering characters, from Mark Solms, a South African neuropsychoanalyst with an expertise in dreams, to David Silvers, a psychoanalyst practicing in New York, to Harry, a man who has lost his use of language in the wake of a stroke but who nevertheless benefits from Silvers s analytic technique. "In the Mind Fields" is a riveting view of the convictions, obsessions, and struggles of those who dedicate themselves to the effort to understand the mysteries of inner life."


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I was a psych major, and the idea of ’neuropsychoanalysis’ was never something I came across in my studies, so this book was a great way to explore a brand new area. We get a really in-depth look into this field, where researchers are trying to find a balance between the sometimes reductive nature of neuroscience, and the sometimes nebulous nature of psychoanalysis. 
There is a bit of a personal narrative throughout (à la Oliver Sacks) and the researchers and patients Schwartz introduces us to are vividly described. If you want to spend some time in total awe of the human brain’s complexity – and the efforts of those trying to understand it – then I highly recommend this. 
Greer, The Book Grocer 
“How does the mind work? And can it reveal our humanity? Do our inner fears, desires, and memories match up with the mechanics of our brains? These are the kinds of existential questions Casey Schwartz tackles in her fascinating new book. In the Mind Fields," is both a smart exploration of a complicated subject and an excellent read. Freud would be proud. - Hope Reese, Chicago Tribune”
(JC BookGrocer)


CASEY SCHWARTZ has worked as a staff writer at "Newsweek/The Daily Beast, " where she covered neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry. Her writing has also appeared in "The New York Times" and "The New York Sun." She lives in New York City.

General Fields

  • : 9780307911520
  • : 0.408
  • : August 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Casey Schwartz
  • : Hardback
  • : 240