Origins of the Human Mind

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind expanding. I think the professor does a great job in detailing the development of the human brain.
Date published: 2020-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional course This is an exceptional course. Its subject is how we become what we are. It blends well materials pertaining to the development of our species and the development of the individual person. And it addresses well the inseparable interrelationships between genetic factors and environmental ones in these developments. Professor Hinshaw describes the scope of the course as “a tour of fundamental questions in psychology, psychiatry, evolution, neuroscience, narrative, and ethics.” He does a superb job in presenting this tour and in explaining the salient connections among these fields. Please be aware that each of the subjects that Professor Hinshaw discusses could be the subject of a course in and of itself. This is a splendid survey rather than a comprehensive exploration of those subjects. Also, please be aware that the sciences through which we discover and analyze the physical processes of the brain and its interactions with the world are not sufficiently advanced to provide the complete answer as to how we become what we are. So our mind is not yet capable of fully describing its origin. But it is capable of understanding quite a lot about it. To that end, this course is a great tour and a fine learning experience. It inspires one to think, to consider, and to reflect. That is perhaps its best attribute.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I learned a lot I would buy more courses from this professor sight unseen.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very expansive Warning, this is a complex course littered with speculative ideas in a field bursting with new investigative tools and theories. It's good stuff! Most significantly for me, the professor presents a much broader view of the "origins of mind" than I had ever imagined. My picture of the origins of mind conjures up thoughts of metaphysics, the mind-body duality of Descartes for example. This idea is mentioned but quickly left behind. An alternative, that mind emerges from the brain, seems to always end with the inevitable sigh of ignorance as to how to connect the biochemistry to human intellect. Often this approach retreats into determinism. Thankfully Professor Hinshaw discusses the brain at length but doesn't go the determinism route. His sigh of ignorance comes in the admission that we just don't know yet how the mind emerges from brain and that it may be a very long time before we do. After that admission the professor moves on to the biological and psychological details. This course is all about the details. It's the psychological details that I did not expect. Psychology plays a huge role in this course. When the professor steered the course to psychology I was puzzled. Even though it is interesting what does this have to do with the origins of mind? In this course nature vs. nurture becomes biology vs. psychology. Professor Hinshaw promises that he will change the way you view nature vs. nature. The lectures shift about with discussions of evolution, genetics, brain development, environmental effects, medical care, and even parenting. Here, mind is not just a species level concept. Understanding mind demands understanding individual development as well. I know I will never look at a new born again without thinking about the biology and psychology that's forming that child's individual mind. My only gripe is that this expansive view of the origins of the human mind sometimes left me feeling out of focus. I wish the professor would have more often, more explicitly, connected his details to the concept of origins of the human mind. For example how does treatment for schizophrenia connect? It may help to listen to the first 5 minutes of the last chapter first. At the very least be aware this course is challenging and demands focused attention but is quite rewarding.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Somewhat too superficial In my opinion, this course was very good but not great. Although the professor was very knowledgeable and his presentation style was good, there was not enough neurobiological detail for my tastes. Those who have taken other Great Courses such as Jeanette Norden's Understanding the Brain might be ready for something a bit more advanced than what was offered here. The details were relatively sparse when it came to development of the brain (although I have taken courses in embryology and therefore might have been expecting more than I should have). Similarly, there is a great deal of new molecular information on the evolution of the human brain and the pathophysiology of psychiatric illnesses that were not included. (Again, I might have been expecting far more than I should have.) For someone just interested in neuroscience and the human brain/mind in particular, this can serve as an excellent introduction to this exciting field. For someone already familiar with basic neuroscience, this course might seem a bit too superficial.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Left Wanting More The presenter is a typical college professor that has spent many years giving the same lecture and finds it difficult to get students excited about the lecture. I learned much more than I expected to learn about the brain. The coverage regarding the mind left me wanting more. I thought that the major topics were focused more on the brain as an organ which left me wondering about the lack of discussion diredted at the mind. The discussion regarding the abnormal mind could bave been discussed in greater detail considering that the title of the course is "Origins of the Human Mind."
Date published: 2016-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Skips homosexuality Early in the course, the professor says that Darwinian evolution is not really the survival of the fittest, but is instead the fittest at reproduction, because reproduction is what is critical to gene evolution. The professor discusses many human behaviors, and explains how these evolved and persist. He explains how different behaviors are heritable or influenced by the environment. Homosexuality is much more prevalent than many of the behaviors and conditions discussed in the course. Why no mention of that behavior? I would like to know whether homosexual behavior is considered gene-based, heritable, or created by the environment. If genetic, how can it persist in human populations? Why is the behavior not quickly "selected out?" I suspect that this is one of those taboo topics that professors in the United States are afraid to even mention. Whatever the professor said would be considered politically incorrect, or hurtful, by some, and the professor could harm or destroy his career. It is a shame that this situation currently exists in the United States; it reminds me of Galileo and the Catholic Church in the 17th century.
Date published: 2016-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course on the Human Mind I would like to thank Professor Hinshaw for this effort. He covers a tremendous amount of territory in 24 lectures. He is clear, concise, and informative. I would really like to see Professor Hinshaw offer an advanced course, and cover some of these topics in greater detail. Like Consciousness, for example. At my age I will never remember everything he covered in all his lectures, but that's ok. All I have to do is put the DVDs in again!!! Thanks to The Great Courses for offering such interesting topics.
Date published: 2016-03-24
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Brains and Minds, Evolution and Development
1: Brains and Minds, Evolution and Development

Professor Hinshaw lays the groundwork for this fascinating journey into the depths of the human mind by introducing the structure of the course, posing a series of provocative questions, and explaining the three predominant perspectives on our minds: the spirit-based, the naturalistic, and the humanistic....

32 min
How the Human Brain Works
2: How the Human Brain Works

Delve into the make-up and inner workings of the brain, from the level of the individual neuron to the larger regions specialized for the mind's different functions. In addition, get a brief introduction to psychopharmacology, as well as to some of the latest technological advances that help us understand how our brains work....

33 min
Development of the Human Brain
3: Development of the Human Brain

This lecture examines the ways in which our brains develop across the human lifespan. Professor Hinshaw uses a case study of children adopted from horribly deprived Romanian orphanages to focus on brain plasticity-the idea that changes in the brain result from experiences-and its potential long-term limitations....

29 min
Evolution and the Brain
4: Evolution and the Brain

How did evolutionary forces shape our brains? Discover the answer to this core question in modern science with a look at some of the key features of the human mind produced by natural selection and the ways the brain evolved over the span of millions of years....

30 min
Psychological Views of the Mind
5: Psychological Views of the Mind

Zero in on two modern psychological theories of the mind that serve as counterpoints to the evolutionary theory: the instinctive and deeply symbolic psychodynamic theory, and social learning theory, which explains behavior through our minds' abilities to learn. In addition, address mysteries about human consciousness and self-awareness....

32 min
Instinct, Learning, and Emotion
6: Instinct, Learning, and Emotion

Take an in-depth look at instinct and emotion-two inescapable processes of the human mind. Among the intriguing issues covered in this lecture are the relationship between instinct and language formation, how our primary emotions signal our experiences and intentions to others, and ways we can consciously regulate their expression....

30 min
Microevolution, Culture, and the Brain
7: Microevolution, Culture, and the Brain

Return to the evolutionary theory and investigate the key concepts and debates regarding the shaping of the human mind. How have subtle-yet powerful-changes given the modern mind some of its key powers? What are the differences between primate and human brains? And what is the influence of cultural behaviors and values?...

31 min
Infancy-Temperament and Attachment
8: Infancy-Temperament and Attachment

In the first of four lectures on the development of a mind across the human lifespan, examine the first life stage: infancy. The two aspects you cover-temperament and attachment-are crucial for the development of personalities and minds and reflect the importance of the earliest years of life....

29 min
Childhood-Stages and Widening Contexts
9: Childhood-Stages and Widening Contexts

Turn now to childhood, the second major stage of life during which our personalities and minds develop even further. It is during this stage, you learn, that factors such as families, peers, neighborhoods, and cultures work with our earliest biological and social foundations to mold the person we eventually become....

30 min
Adolescence-Rebellion, Identity, and Self
10: Adolescence-Rebellion, Identity, and Self

Continue moving up the developmental ladder into adolescence: the crucial period of rebellion, turmoil, and identity formation that prepares us for adult life. How does the mind change during this time? What are the dangers of sleep deprivation? And what are considered normative and healthy self-perceptions?...

32 min
Adulthood-Aging, Horizons, and Wisdom
11: Adulthood-Aging, Horizons, and Wisdom

Does getting older predict inevitable declines in how your mind functions? Or could you actually become wiser and more positive as you age? The answers you uncover in this lecture are undoubtedly fascinating-and may just reshape your views of what aging does to the mind....

30 min
Influences of Sex and Gender
12: Influences of Sex and Gender

Focus here on the association between sex and gender, on the one hand, and the brain and mind, on the other. Of vital importance to the study of the human mind, sex and gender have important implications for evolution, our diversity as a species, and our social relationships....

30 min
Parallels between Development and Evolution
13: Parallels between Development and Evolution

Bring together several core points about individual development of the mind. As you'll discover, in the development of the minds of both individuals and our species as a whole, biology constantly interacts with environment and context to produce a wealth of change....

33 min
Myths and Realities of Heritability
14: Myths and Realities of Heritability

With the mapping of the human genome, we now know that many traits and facets of the mind are more heritable than we once thought. In this lecture, Professor Hinshaw separates the facts from myths about how much importance our genes have in shaping our emotions, behaviors, and minds....

30 min
Genes and Environments Together
15: Genes and Environments Together

Move from behavior genetics to a detailed view of how genes and environments influence once another to shape our minds. By examining the ways genes and environments correlate and interact, you realize that the dichotomy of nature versus nurture is inaccurate; instead, it is nature and nurture....

31 min
The Abnormal Mind-What Goes Wrong?
16: The Abnormal Mind-What Goes Wrong?

Why do some minds suffer mental disorders such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder? Answer this crucial question by exploring seven different perspectives-each of which contributes to our overall understanding of this pressing question in the study of the human mind....

32 min
Rationality, Psychosis, and Schizophrenia
17: Rationality, Psychosis, and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is intimately involved with breakdowns in perception, rational thinking, and higher-order executive functions. Here, examine the roots of psychosis and make sense of the risk factors, characteristics, and treatment methods of one of the most devastating mental illnesses....

33 min
Emotion Regulation and Mood Disorders
18: Emotion Regulation and Mood Disorders

The roots of mood disorders lie in the emotional and mood-related fluctuations that we all experience. After you learn the difference between emotions and moods, you take a closer look at the science of two major mood disorders: depression and bipolar disorder....

32 min
Attention, Impulse Control, and ADHD
19: Attention, Impulse Control, and ADHD

Turn now to a mental disorder that can affect the way the mind stays attentive and controls inhibitions: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Examine four forms of attention and the importance of inhibitory control, then zero in on the causes and conditions of-as well as treatment options for-ADHD....

30 min
Empathy, Social Connections, and Autism
20: Empathy, Social Connections, and Autism

Major difficulties in emotional and social connections with other people present huge problems for the development of the mind. Case in point: autism. Conclude your look at abnormalities in the human mind with a focus on this often-devastating and increasingly prevalent disorder....

32 min
Evolution and the Paradox of Mental Illness
21: Evolution and the Paradox of Mental Illness

If mental disorders are passed through the generations by genes, then why haven't these disabling and maladaptive conditions simply been bred out of existence? Investigate how understanding 'heterozygote superiority,' gene interactions, and changing environments can help us finally answer this baffling question....

30 min
Roots of Religion, Aggression, and Prejudice
22: Roots of Religion, Aggression, and Prejudice

Investigate how evolution helps us understand these three wider aspects of human culture. Why are humans so prone to be religious? How aggressive are we as a species? How can natural selection help us understand why some people stigmatize their fellow humans?...

31 min
Bringing in Personal Narratives
23: Bringing in Personal Narratives

Personal narratives can play key roles in humanizing and helping us better understand the complexities of mental illness. As a powerful example, Professor Hinshaw details his own father's struggle with bipolar disorder -a story that proves just how important it is to blend the scientific and clinical with the personal....

30 min
The Future of the Human Mind
24: The Future of the Human Mind

In this final lecture, probe some of the fascinating possibilities and ethical issues at the frontiers of the human mind. These include harnessing the hidden and untapped power of our unconscious; making startling advancements in the development of artificial intelligence; and creating the potential for humans to engineer their own minds....

33 min
Stephen P. Hinshaw

Researching and presenting "Origins of the Human Mind" was a learning experience like no other--I only hope that listeners and viewers feel the same way!

ALMA MATER

University of California, Berkeley

INSTITUTION

University of California, Los Angeles

About Stephen P. Hinshaw

Dr. Stephen P. Hinshaw is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, where his teaching was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Letters and Sciences. He earned his A.B. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining the faculty at Berkeley in 1990, Professor Hinshaw was a clinical psychology intern at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, a post-doctoral fellow at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute of the University of California, San Francisco (where he received the Robert E. Harris Award), and a professor at UCLA. A fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association, Professor Hinshaw focuses on developmental psychopathology, with particular emphases on child and adolescent disorders. He is the editor of Psychological Bulletin, the most cited journal in the entire field of psychology, and associate editor of the journal Development and Psychopathology; he has also written more than 200 scholarly articles, chapters, and reviews. Among his many books are Attention Deficits and Hyperactivity in Children and The Years of Silence Are Past: My Father's Life with Bipolar Disorder. Professor Hinshaw has received millions of dollars in research grants from federal agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health.

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