Origins of the Human Mind

Course No. 1663
Professor Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
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Course No. 1663
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Course Overview

For thousands of years, the human mind has been shrouded in mystery. Elusive in nature, the subject has prompted an intensive study of several puzzling questions about what the mind is, what it's made of, how it works, and how it differs from our brains. With the latest advancements in both our understanding of the brain and the technology we use to look inside it, scientists have vastly improved their understanding of the human mind. Now, more so than at any other point in human history, we can better explain and describe

  • how the human mind has evolved, both on the scale of our entire species from the dawn of humanity to the present, and on the individual level from birth to adulthood;
  • the ways our genes and environments work together to mold the people we become;
  • the sources, symptoms, and potential treatment methods for debilitating mental disorders such as depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism;
  • why our intensely social species has the dynamic capability to both ostracize and empathize with the humanity of our fellow individuals; and much more.

Despite its mysterious nature, the human mind and its complexities lie at the heart of who we are as human beings. It shapes our everyday lives and defines our individual personalities. And grasping both the mind's scientific origins and its biological workings is essential to any well-rounded understanding of possible answers to questions that have fascinated and perplexed humanity throughout history.

Origins of the Human Mind is your authoritative guide to the latest information and viewpoints on what neurobiologists, psychologists, and other scientists know about this fascinating subject. These 24 intriguing and enlightening lectures lay bare the inner workings of our minds—and it's all brought to you by award-winning Professor Stephen P. Hinshaw, an instructor whose training as a clinical psychologist straddles both the science of the mind and its impact on individual lives. His comprehensive and unbiased approach to this subject reveals how the science of the human mind applies to the life of our species—and to your own life as well.

Explore the Mind on Two Fascinating Scales

So what, exactly, is the human mind? Our minds, according to Professor Hinshaw, are not disembodied entities completely separate from our brains. Rather, they are a rich, diverse, and utterly complex set of mental and emotional experiences that originate in our brains and interact with our surrounding environment.

Grasping such a concept might seem like a daunting task, but Professor Hinshaw's approach is methodical, organized, and compelling. The foundation of Origins of the Human Mind lies in its exploration of theories about how the mind works on two key scales, each of which offers its own fascinating insights into how and why our minds operate the way they do:

  • The evolutionary scale (phylogeny): This scale offers you a captivating window into how minds evolved over hundreds of millions of years and led to the development of brain plasticity, intense emotional bonds, complex executive functions, the potential for culture and invention, and more.
  • The individual scale (ontogeny): This scale shows you how changes made on an evolutionary level unfold throughout a single human lifespan, from infancy to adolescence to adulthood to advancing old age.

Examining these scales in depth—and together—allows you to notice similarities and differences in viewpoints and approaches that you wouldn't get from an intense focus on one or the other. It also demonstrates how viewing the development of the mind on a large and small scale simultaneously provides us with the best possible picture about what the mind truly is.

Get Answers to Provocative Scientific Questions

But what makes Origins of the Human Mind so essential to your grasp of contemporary scientific issues are the answers that Professor Hinshaw provides to some of the most provocative questions involved in the study of the human mind:

  • What roles do the building blocks of the brain—such as neurons, synapses, and neurotransmitters—play in operating both the normal and abnormal human mind?
  • Is your mind genetically predisposed to act the way it does, or is it shaped by your environment and upbringing?
  • If mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia are so harmful, why haven't the maladaptive genes that cause them been bred out through natural selection?
  • Why is there such a long period of helplessness required for full brain maturation, and why does the majority of brain development occur after birth?
  • How different, if at all, are the cognitive skills and behavioral patterns of men and women?

Some of the conclusions reached by today's scientists may simply confirm what you've always intuitively suspected. Others may challenge what you thought you knew about your mind. In all instances, however, these answers bring you closer than ever to scientific frontiers we've only recently discovered.

Discover the Humanity behind the Science of the Mind

Professor Hinshaw has made a career of studying the human mind from multiple points of view. Yet it's his background in clinical psychology, his distinguished career as a scientist, and his position as Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, that make him an invaluable guide through the often perplexing territory of the human mind.

His ability to make clear sense of a range of scientific topics (including evolution, behavioral genetics, and neurobiology), combined with his ability to distill the humanity hidden within grand scientific theories and concepts, makes these lectures as compassionate as they are comprehensive. Whether discussing the development of emotions and instincts, comparing the 21st-century human brain to that of its primitive ancestor, or even relating his own family's personal struggles with mental illness, Professor Hinshaw always avoids turning this course into a dry accumulation of facts and data devoid of personal meaning.

Instead, he's crafted Origins of the Human Mind to be a multifaceted look at one of the hottest subjects in the scientific world. And while more work needs to be done until we finally solve the riddles of our minds, by the conclusion of the last lecture you'll find yourself better prepared to understand the discoveries of tomorrow as they arise.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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? x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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? x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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? x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x

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  • Download 24 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
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DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 128-page printed course guidebook
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What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 128-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Stephen P. Hinshaw

About Your Professor

Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
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...
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Origins of the Human Mind is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 39.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mind versus Brain This is a very dense course. By dense I mean a vast amount of information is presented and explained. But it is an over view of the subject as EACH lecture could easily be be expanded into a sepqrate course. The brain as an organ is detailed and examined for function. The mind is noted as being something other than the brain simple. How they mesh is the puzzle.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oldie has found some Goodies I am 87 years old and spend a couple of hours a day on the Great Courses. They always provide me pleasure and involvement and probably give the old mind an extra shot of juice as well. Thanks... you've been a great addition to the twilit years. P.S. My wife, whose age I am pledged not to reveal (but isn't that far behind me), agrees completely.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Origins of teh Human Mind I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Hinshaw's presentation of this course. I enjoyed learning about the mind/brain. I did feel that the focus was on the brain more than the mind, if indeed they are different substances. There are some amazing facts about the brain, and I also learned what can go wrong with the brain when it malfunctions, as I am diagnosed schizophrenic and there was a lecture devoted purely to that topic. So thumbs up from me. Recommended!
Date published: 2014-08-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Underwhelming One of the shallowest presentations I've ever experienced from the Teaching Company. For perspective, I have over twenty-five courses, most of which I've enjoyed. Professor Hinshaw references evolution as a faultless explanation but is remarkably mum when evolutionary inconsistencies arise. For example, he cites research saying that children of African heritage respond paradoxically well to authoritarian parenting and then offers slavery and the never-out-of-date racism (which are of relatively short duration) as explanations. He considers gender differences a minefield more powerful than intellectual bravery. He touts as "fascinating" the recent research on functional neuroimaging -- a topic I can find more clearly described on a newsstand. His hero worship of anyone having a degree from Berkeley or Harvard is no surprise (one man is lionized because he refused to sign a loyalty oath in the 50s). Indeed the two institutions explain the narrowness of his perspective. Cut this class and get some of sleep.
Date published: 2014-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Oh hum DVD review. Even though biological systems are a constant "in-the-moment" interplay between genetic potential and shifting environments, the word "origin" conjures images of grand explanations. This is not what we get with Dr. Hinshaw's ORIGINS OF THE HUMAN MIND. It is instead a quick sprint through a series of interrelated subjects. • NEUROLOGY: Being concerned with "mind" rather than "brain", he sees no one-on-one correlation between specific regions of the brain and the many components that contribute to our sense of self. Yes, the hippocampus plays a huge role in memory management, for example, but even here, memory functions are spread across many brain regions. Hinshaw speculates neurology may require a large paradigm shift like physics had with relativity to move forward on self. • EVOLUTION: The focus here is the mind's modularity and the progress from instinct to learning. Is culture — a socially-created virtual environment — capable of directing our evolution or "microevolution"? This section left me confused as to his ultimate point. • INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT: Infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity, old age, gender differences, etc. A general overview of the latest research conclusions. At this point, there is so much slipping back and forth between "mind" and "brain" that the doubts expressed in the neurology section are forgotten. The brain is the mind or at least the visible part of it. • HERITABILITY, THE GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERPLAY AND MENTAL ILLNESS: 8 lessons are devoted to a wide range of mental disorders leaving us with many hurried conclusions. This is a huge subject as a quarter of mankind, regardless of country or race, suffers moderate to strong symptoms of mental illness. Implicit too are puzzles about evolution. Given the negative consequences of mental illness on physical survival or at least reproductive success, why are "bad genes" so prevalent in the population? Hinshaw offers only a glimpse of the subject for lack of space. • RELIGION, AGRESSIVITY, PRO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR, FUTURE RESEARCH TRENDS: Probably the skimpiest part of the course. A dash in every which direction. In effect, this is a survey course on a variety of psychology sub-disciplines related to brain and mind. It is well-designed for TTC clients already familiar with basic neurology as presented in courses such as UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN or NEUROSCIENCE OF EVERYDAY LIFE. Psychology neophytes therefore will almost certainly find either of these two courses more satisfactory than ORIGINS. If neurology or mental illness are secondary to practical behavior analysis for you, then UNDERSTANDING THE MYSTERIES OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR is your best choice. PRESENTATION was adequate, but I often found myself drifting off; a rare occurrence in my experience of TTC courses. This reflects my inadequacies I am sure. I loved the three other courses I mentioned (especially UNDERSTANDING), not this one. CDs or audio downloads should be sufficient. The guidebook is OK. For more advanced psychology enthusiasts.
Date published: 2013-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and informative I rented this from the library. I agree with some of the other reviewers who mentioned that there are not enough visuals to make this course worth spending the money for the DVD. The Professor is a great speaker but has some strange body movements that I found very distracting on the DVD version. That said, I found the topics presented very interesting and the information quite up-to-date. II found the material about evolution relates to the development of prejudice, ADHD, and other mental conditions very thought-provoking.
Date published: 2012-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! I very much enjoyed this course. The only suggestion I have is that it should be available in audio format only as the video format really didn't add much to the presentation of the course.
Date published: 2012-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course This is a great course that meets the standards of the teaching company. I just finished my second listening and I would like to listen to it again in the future. Its description of the most salient features in the psychological developments of each of the stages of life, and its treatment of psychologic pathology was quite outstanding. I recommend this course highly.
Date published: 2012-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating material engagingly presented REVIEW OF AUDIO VERSION It's too bad they didn't find a better title for this GREAT course - "Origins of the Human Mind" doesn't begin to describe the vast range of material covered in these informative and entertaining lectures. You will learn about how the brain functions, how the human mind evolved, human development over the lifespan, varieties of mental disorder and what they can teach us about healthy mental functioning, and much more. Professor Hinshaw is not a flashy presenter, but he clearly knows his stuff and has a contagious enthusiasm for his topic(s). The lectures are well organized and build on each other to offer a comprehensive understanding of the way our minds work. A first-rate learning experience - I look forward to more of his courses and strongly recommend this if the material interests you.
Date published: 2012-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough examination of the human brain It was very interesting to have so much covered about different aspects of the human brain and have it all fit together so well. The evolution of the human brain is not something that can just be read from the fossil record (other than size and that's not what matters). Some of the insight into how we know what we do (and to what degree of confidence) was very interesting. How an individual brain develops over a lifetime was equally interesting. The last part of the course covered problems with the brain and how and why different seemingly maladaptive problems come to be.
Date published: 2011-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A tour de force in 24 lectures Dr. Hinshaw's 24 lectures are by themselves an excellent demonstration of how far the human mind and our understanding of it have come. This course has everything that I look for in any course: lots to learn, insights, breath and depth, up-to-date state of the art research information, challenging concepts and ideas, references for further self-directed research on topics. Dr. Hinshaw delivers all of that in a truly engaging manner, at times really personal like when talking about his father and his work with children. I still cannot believe that Dr. Hinshaw was able to pack so much in just 24 half-hour lectures. It demonstrates that he truly understands what he is talking about. For example, his explanations of nature versus nurture and evolution of the brain/mind (e.g., why psychological diseases have not been eliminated through natural selection) are the most succinct and clearest I have ever read or heard anywhere. This is a truly remarkable course to which I will return many times. Thank you Dr. Hinshaw for this outstanding course and for your remarkable accomplishments in the many fields of study covered by your lectures.
Date published: 2011-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A BROAD OVERALL VIEW This review refers to the DVD's. I think one may be better advised to acquire the CD's and the transcript if it is offered. Otherwise, there are many lectures where one may wish to take notes. I've read that the brain is a physical product of evolution while what we have titled the mind is a social construct. Whether that's an intelligent way to draw a distinction or not is immaterial to this excellent series of lectures by a prolific author and scholar. Dr Hinshaw wraps up in 12 hours the various threads of evolution, genetics, environmental surroundings of child development, and current developments in psychology in this field. He includes an arresting narrative from his own life to emphasize the point he wants to make of honesty and open communication within a family. With his identification of the specific areas of the brain where functions involved with issues of the mind are located, one gets a better grasp of how the organ operates. In his lectures, he includes a remarkable story of special abilities of our minds to cope with physical shortcoming in the brain such as the capacity to anticipate obstacles by a blind person in one experiment. His delving into the social consequences of some of the mental illnesses in modern society was most interesting. If the estimate that approximately one third or more of the world's population suffers from some form of mental distress is accurate, society faces a major challenge. But, no one knows if society has always faced this percentage or something greater. Research results, Dr Hinshaw reports, pointing to the genetic markers for some mental diseases suggest many people--some successful, some not--deal with factors that may be beyond their control. The moral issues surrounding this research remain unsettled according to what I read. A glance into the future for his field concludes his presentation. For a lay person in psychology, this series is a good fit with the several TGC lectures on the the brain and our bodies. It is recommended to everyone, but especially for those who wish a deeper understanding of our species.
Date published: 2011-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Balanced Course of Real Value The science around the nature and operation of the mind has progressed so far and so fast that a student who hasn't followed this fast developing field will really benefit from the right sort of course. This is the right sort of course. The framework is set nicely with a solid introduction of several different models that prepare us for study. What follows is a nice balance of biology, psychology, and neuroscience. It flows nicely from older principles of brain development through important work that changed our understanding, including evolution, core psychological concepts, and social learning theory. The course also features many of the recent, amazing discoveries in neuroscience. It's pleasing to have an orderly series of lectures on brain development and issues in life's key stages as well as a separate set of lectures on "what can go wrong" with the mind. The course does have its weaknesses. The professor relies too heavily on evolutionary theory, always looking for explanations in adaptation, and sometimes being too satisfied with what are no better than speculative notions of causation. Also, while I admire his sensitivity to his own life experiences, I found the use of that narrative and his own views in his concluding recommendations to be more rooted in his personal feeling and thought rather than in science. For those who like this, and I know some will, it may be a plus. For me, a strong course in science fell a notch toward the end. Having said that, I recommend the course.
Date published: 2011-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An unexpected revelation Prof. Hinshaw shows the question of "nature vs. nurture" is meaningless, and he prepares the case so skillfully that it takes you to the end of the course to understand that was his point. His approach is rigorous and relentless, as he works his way both through genetics and psychology. Given that the "nature vs. nurture" debate informs modern perspectives on human responsibility -- and therefore just about everything -- this is a profound and powerful exercise. If you want to rise above the screeching of contemporary political and social "conversation," it's well worth your time.
Date published: 2011-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but spotty This is one of a number of neuroscience courses that have come out in the last few years. I like the blend of psychology and neuroscience in this one. The big psychological picture forms the backdrop for the physiological, anatomical, and molecular approaches. In contrast, I found too much emphasis on evolution and the tendency to equate evolutionary with experimentally based explanations. While evolution clearly shapes the mind, at present, evolutionary theory is not predictive and is usually used to provide retrospective rationale. While this is useful, its highly speculative nature was not always made clear.
Date published: 2011-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This was the best eulicidation of the effects of genes versus environment that I have ever heard and it brought new insights to me about how they work in concert. I ordered the audio version and was disappointed about the lack of diagrams of the brain in the lectures that involved anatomy
Date published: 2010-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb A lucid investigation of several important predicates of human behavior resulting from the affects of evolutionary predispositions and environment on individual development . Specific attention in light of these factors is given to human developmental theory and the examination of what happens when "a mind goes wrong," vis-a-vis mental illness. For example, how certain temperamental predispositions may be exacerbated or attenuated within given environment context. Couched in the latest findings of evolutionary determinants of behavior and individual developmental psychology, the course presents an important synthesis of the two theories, findings which may yield positive results in terms of identifying individuals at high risk for mental pathology and fostering better outcomes through the selective application of environmental factors. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2010-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Wealth of Comprehensive Information I had heard Dr. Hinshaw speak in the past and was very impressed. When I saw that he had developed a product for the Teaching Company, I was delighted and did not hesitate to make my purchase. I must say that, while listening to this set of CDs, I realized many "aha" moments. Dr. Hinshaw does a superior job interweaving evolution, biology, psychology, development, behavior, and brain function in a manner that truly organizes one's thought processes about these issues. He informs of the latest research findings in a manner that is easy to understand. His ability to "put it all together" makes me more passionate about the work I do. While it's hard for me to write about any one particular chapter because they were all very interesting, I found the chapters on brain development, childhood, adolescence, and psychopathology to be very helpful. Throughout each of his lectures, Dr. Hinshaw answers many questions that parents, teachers, counselors, health professionals, etc, might have regarding pressing issues related to humanity today. Attending lectures or conferences with this much information could be a huge expense, and is offered at a fraction of the price - not to mention that the product can be reveiwed as often as desired.
Date published: 2010-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Teaching Stephen Hinshaw provides an excellently structured course that covers two levels of material. Rather than getting bogged down and lost within the respective levels of detail, he is able to weave the two, complementary strands together in a very coherent manner, never losing sight of the big picture. One thing that I particuarly liked about Stephen Hinshaw is the compassion he displays towards people with mental illness, which has obviously been brought about by his own life experience (which he relates to some degree). I found that this course provided much food for thought, especially about important social issues. I think that Professor Hinshaw's teaching is exceptional.
Date published: 2010-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Evolution of Mind This audio course kept my attention despite an initial disappointment with the recording quality (over compression of lecturer's voice led to a metallic slightly echoing quality), and the lecturer's somewhat jerky/erratic delivery style. I'm not sure what I expected from this course's since the 'Origin of the Human Mind' is a vast, complex and mysterious subject, but I was pleased at least by Professor Hinshaw's openness towards the subject (presenting 'mind' as probably a non-dual mix of physical and spiritual), and interested by his enthusiastic synthesis of the latest in scientific findings. This is not a rigorous philosophical exploration of 'Theories of Mind" (as in the TTC course Philosophy of Mind), nor a detailed biological study of neurology (as found in the excellent TTC course, Biology and Human Behavior), instead it is a general survey of the psychology of human development, with strong emphasis on the evolution of humanity's mental traits and abilities - historically and individually, through stages of development, healthy and aberrant. In fact the last half of the course focused on these various possibilities of mental disorder, and I found myself pleasantly surprised, and profoundly stimulated. The emphasis on genetic factors - their combination and expression, that can be seen as adaptive or maladaptive depending on the context was very interesting. Perhaps this sensitizing to the subtle and unpredictable variations of our minds was the best aspect of this course. It encouraged compassion. Yet is also stimulated in me a somewhat cold and analytical assessment of human behaviors and their genetic origins and consequences. I found both these angles refreshing, and practical.
Date published: 2010-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly Remarkable Series Professor Stephen Hinshaw has given us a truly exceptional presentation on the Human Mind. Combining the latest advances in brain science with modern psychological approaches he has crafted a wonderful course that explores evolutionary theory, clinical diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and even brings a humanistic sense with his personal narrative. His outline of the maturation of the brain functions from infancy through adulthood was especially enlightening. Dr Hinshaw is a passionate advocate for the necessity of bringing light and understanding into the world of mental illness. This fact is highlighted by his narrative on his own family's battle with the severe consequences that mental illness problems bring, not only to the individual concerned, but to those in close association. Additionally, his presentation of genetics and heredity was extremely beneficial in understanding the workings of the mind. In short, this is an outstanding course and one of the finest that the Teaching Company has to offer.
Date published: 2010-04-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing While the delivery is excellent, the content of this course was a disappointment. Rather than being a discussion of mind or evolutionary theory or sociobiology as might be inferred from the title, it is instead a lightweight combination of Psychology 101 and Abnormal Psych 101. Whole sections are simply extracts from the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. The course may be of value to someone with no familiarity with this material, but the title is misleading.
Date published: 2010-04-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed The content of this course is excellent and quite up-to-date. It rather successfully blends classic and contemporary psychology. For example, it covers developmental psychology (on stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence and older age) with cutting edge work on neurobiology, "evo-devo" (evolution and development), etc. The prof is obviously well read and comfortable in cross disciplinary work. He covers many important topics, from Freud to microevolution to ADHD to wisdom in later life, and presents it all in a fairly coherent manner. This is not exactly a "textbook course" but apparently the product of the prof.'s own synthesis. And he deserves kudos. It is like PSY 101 Circa 2101 course. Great!. On the other hand, I would suggest to only get the audio version, because the prof. has very strange mannerisms that are quite noticeable. He seems uncomfortable in his body, with ill-fitting clothing, odd facial expressions, some speech issues, etc. I would generally think this is trivial, but I found it highly distracting, and esp. in light of the subject of psychology.
Date published: 2010-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cutting-Edge Course! I enjoyed the audio version of this course. I suspect some of the earlier lectures would have been better if I had watched the DVD. Professor Hinshaw’s credentials are astonishing, and perhaps I expected too much. His speaking style is somewhat subdued, and I sometimes lost my concentration, especially in the early lectures. Fortunately, the subject matter would often come alive, transcending the speaker’s very relaxed delivery. When Hinshaw discussed ‘awareness of awareness,’ he suddenly had my full attention. Some material seemed like common sense, but then the professor would pleasantly pop some popular myth or clarify a long-standing misconception. The last half of the course had me completely engaged. Can we truly multitask? Does doing crossword puzzles prevent Alzheimer’s? Take this course and find out! Bottom line: If you have any interest at all in psychology, evolution, or the human brain, order this course.
Date published: 2010-03-22
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