Our brains are more powerful than we ever realised. Too often, we assume that people's natures are fixed, immutable. For sufferers of depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, or the after-effects of stroke, this can be a difficult thought. For those with extreme conditions, such as locked-in syndrome or psychopathy, it can feel as if there is no hope at all.
However, in Your Brain Knows More Than You Think, leading neurobiologist Niels Birbaumer turns these assumptions on their head, arguing that neuroplasticity – the virtually limitless capacity of the brain to remould itself – is enough to overcome almost any condition, however life-limiting it seems.
Like the fathers and mothers of psychiatry, Birbaumer explores the sometimes-wild frontiers of a new way of thinking about our brains and behaviour. Through actual cases from his research and practice, he shows how we can change through brain training alone – and without risky drugs – if we simply open our minds.
Niels Birbaumer is a psychologist and neurobiologist. He is a leading figure in the development of brain-computer interfaces, a field he has researched for 40 years, with a focus on treating brain disturbances. He has been awarded numerous international honours and prizes, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and the Albert Einstein World Award of Science. Professor Birbaumer is co-director of the Institute of Behavioural Neurobiology at the University of Tubingen in Germany, and senior researcher at the Wyss Centre for Bio- and Neuro-engineering in Switzerland.
Jörg Zittlau is a freelance journalist and writes about science, psychology, and philosophy, among other topics. He is also the author of several bestsellers.
David Shaw works as a journalist for Germany's international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, as well as translating from several languages, including German, Dutch, Russian, and French. He lives in Berlin.
"A fascinating read and a groundbreaking work on the human condition. Birbaumer shares his insatiable curiosity and gives us a tour of the human brain, the many cases he's worked on, and the therapies he's pioneered – some of which are truly radical!"
– David Roland, author of How I Rescued My Brain