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 Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb

Foreword by Steven Johnson

Mind Hacks- Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

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Book Details
 396 p
 File Size 
 4,494 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 2005 O’Reilly Media, Inc

About the Author
Tom Stafford likes finding things out and writing things down. Several years
of doing this in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield
resulted in a Ph.D. Now sometimes he tells people he’s a computational cognitive
neuroscientist and then talks excitedly about neural networks. Lately
he’s begun talking excitedly about social networks too. As well as doing academic
research, he has worked freelance, writing and working at the BBC as
a documentary researcher. Things he finds interesting he puts on his web
Matt Webb is an engineer and designer, splitting his working life between
R&D with BBC Radio & Music Interactive and freelance projects in the social
software world. In the past, he’s made collaborative online toys, written IM
bots, and run a fiction web site (archived at; now
he’s content with hacky web scripts and his weblog, Interconnected, 
Matt reads a little too much, likes the word “cyberspace,”
lives in London, and tells his mother he’s “in computers.”

Think for a moment about all that’s happening while you read this text:
how your eyes move to center themselves on the words, how you idly
scratch your arm while you’re thinking, the attention-grabbing movements,
noises, and other distractions you’re filtering out. How does all this work?
As one brain speaking to another, here’s a secret: it isn’t easy.
The brain is a fearsomely complex information-processing environment.
Take the processing involved in seeing, for instance. One of the tasks
involved in seeing is detecting the motion in every tiny portion of vision, in
such and such a direction and at such and such a speed, and representing
that in the brain. But another task is seeing a face in the light that falls on
the retina, figuring out what emotion it’s showing, and representing that
concept in the brain, somehow, too.

To an extent, the brain is modular, so that should give us a way in, but it’s
not that clean-cut. The processing subsystems of the brain are layered on top
of one another, but their functionality mingles rather than being organized in
a distinct progression. Often the same task is performed in many different
places, in many different ways. It’s not a clear mechanical system like clockwork
or like a computer program; giving the same input won’t always give
the same output. Automatic and voluntary actions are highly meshed, often
inextricable. Parts of vision that appear fully isolated from conscious experience
suddenly report different results if conscious expectations change.
The information transformations in the brain are made yet more complicated
by the constraints of history, computation, and architecture. Development
over evolutionary time has made it hard for the brain to backtrack; the
structure of the brain must reflect its growth and repurposing. Computation
has to occur as fast as possible—we’re talking subsecond responses—but
there are limits on the speed at which information can travel between physical
parts of the brain. These are all constraints to be worked with.
All of which leaves us with one question: how can we possibly start to
understand what’s going on?

Cognitive neuroscience is the study of the brain biology behind our mental
functions. It is a collection of methods (like brain scanning and computational
modeling) combined with a way of looking at psychological phenomena
and discovering where, why, and how the brain makes them happen. It
is neither classic neuroscience—a low-level tour of the biology of the
brain—nor is it what many people think of as psychology—a metaphorical
exploration of human inner life; rather, it’s a view of the mind that looks at
the fundamental elements and rules, acting moment by moment, that makes
up conscious experience and action.

By focusing both on the biological substrate and on the high-level phenomenon
of consciousness, we can pick apart the knot of the brain. This picking
apart is why you don’t need to be a cognitive neuroscientist to reap the fruit of the field.

This book is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment works of
the brain. It’s not a textbook—more of a buffet, really. Each hack is one
probe into the operation of the brain, one small demonstration. By seeing
how the brain responds, we pick up traces of the structures present and the
design decision made, learning a little bit more about how the brain is put together.

Simultaneously we’ve tried to show how there isn’t a separation between the
voluntary “me” feeling of the mind and the automatic nature of the brain—
the division between voluntary and automatic behavior is more of an ebb and
flow, and we wield our cognitive abilities with unconscious flourishes and
deliberate movements much as we wield, say, our hands, or a pen, or a lathe.
In a sense, we’re trying to understand the capabilities that underpin the
mind. Say we understand to what extent the holes in our vision are continually
covered up or what sounds and lights will—without a doubt—grab our
attention (and also what won’t): we’ll be able to design better tools, and create
better interfaces that work with the grain of our mental architecture and
not against it. We’ll be able to understand ourselves a little better; know a
little more, in a very real sense, about what makes us tick.
Plus it’s fun. That’s the key. Cognitive neuroscience is a fairly new discipline.
The journey into the brain is newly available and an enjoyable ride.
The effects we’ll see are real enough, but the explanations of why they occur
are still being debated. We’re taking part in the mapping of this new territory
just by playing along. Over the course of writing this book, we’ve spent
time noticing our own attention systems darting about the room, seen ourselves
catching gestures from people we’ve been talking to, and played
games with the color of traffic and peripheral vision. That’s the fun bit. But
we’ve also been gripped by the arguments in the scientific literature and
have had new insights into facets of our everyday lives, such as why some
web sites are annoying and certain others are particularly well-made. If,
through this book, we’ve managed to make that world a little more accessible
too, then we’ve succeeded. And when you’ve had a look around and
found new ways to apply these ideas and, yes, new topics we’ve not touched
on, please do let us know. We’re here for the ride too.

Why Mind Hacks?
The term “hacking” has a bad reputation in the media. They use it to refer to
those who break into systems or wreak havoc with computers as their weapons.
Among people who write code, though, the term “hack” refers to a
“quick-and-dirty” solution to a problem, or a clever way to get something
done. And the term “hacker” is taken very much as a compliment, referring
to someone as being “creative,” having the technical chops to get things
done. The Hacks series is an attempt to reclaim the word, document the
good ways people are hacking, and pass the hacker ethic of creative participation
on to the uninitiated. Seeing how others approach systems and problems
is often the quickest way to learn about a new technology.
The brain, like all hidden systems, is prime territory for curious hackers.
Thanks to relatively recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, we’re
able to satisfy a little of that curiosity, making educated explanations for
psychological effects rather than just pointing those effects out, throwing
light on the internal workings of the brain.
Some of the hacks in this collection document the neat tricks the brain has
used to get the job done. Looking at the brain from the outside like this, it’s
hard not to be impressed at the way it works. Other hacks point to quirks of
our own minds that we can exploit in unexpected ways, and that’s all part of
learning our way round the wrinkles in this newly exposed technology.
Mind Hacks is for people who want to know a bit more about what’s going
on inside their own heads and for people who are going to assemble the
hacks in new ways, playing with the interface between ourselves and the
world. It’s wonderfully easy to get involved. We’ve all got brains, after all.

How to Use This Book
You can read this book from cover to cover if you like, but each hack stands
on its own, so feel free to browse and jump to the different sections that
interest you most. If there’s a prerequisite you need to know, a cross-reference
will guide you to the right hack.
We’ve tried out all the demonstrations in this book, so we know that for
most people they work just as we say they do; these are real phenomena.
Indeed, some are surprising, and we didn’t believe they’d work until we
tried them ourselves. The explanations are summaries of the current state of
knowledge—often snapshots of debates in progress. Keep an open mind
about these. There’s always the chance future research will cause us to revise
our understanding.
Often, because there is so much research on each topic, we have linked to
web sites, books, and academic papers to find out more. Follow these up.
They’re fantastic places to explore the wider story behind each hack, and
will take you to interesting places and appear interesting connections.
With regard to academic papers, these are bedrock of scientific knowledge.
They can be hard to get and hard to understand, but we included references
to them because they are the place to go if you really need to get to the bottom
of a story (and to find the cutting edge). What’s more, for many scientists,
evidence doesn’t really exist until it has been published in a scientific
journal. For this to happen, the study has to be reviewed by other scientists
working in the field, in a system called peer review. Although this system
has biases, and mistakes are made, it is this that makes science a collective
endeavor and provides a certain guarantee of quality.
The way journal articles are cited is quite precise, and in this book we’ve
followed the American Psychological Association reference style ( 
Each looks something like this:
Lettvin, J., Maturana, H., McCulloch, W., & Pitts, W. (1959). What the
frog’s eye tells the frog’s brain. Proceedings of the IRE, 47(11), 1940– 1951.
Before the year of publication (which is in parentheses), the authors are
listed. After the year is the title of the paper, followed by the journal in
which you’ll find it, in italics. The volume (in italics) and then the issue
number (in parentheses) follow. Page numbers come last. One convention
you’ll often see in the text is “et al.” after the main author of a paper. This is
shorthand for “and others.”
Many, but not all, journals have an electronic edition, and some you can
access for free. Most are subscription-based, although some publishers will
let you pay per paper. If you go to a library, generally a university library,
make sure it not only subscribes to the journal you want, but also has the
year in which the paper you’re after was published.
If you’re lucky, the paper will also be reprinted online. This is often the
case with classic papers and with recent papers, which the authors may
have put on their publications page. A good query to use at Google (http:// for papers online in PDF format using a query like:
“What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain” filetype:pdf
Alternately, search for a researcher’s name followed by the word “publications”
for papers, demonstrations, and as-yet-unpublished research, a gold
mine if you’re learning more about a particular topic.

Table of Contents
Foreword . . . . . . . . xi
Credits . . . . . . . xiii
Preface .  . . . xix
Chapter 1. Inside the Brain . . . . . . . . 1
1. Find Out How the Brain Works Without Looking Inside 2
2. Electroencephalogram: Getting the Big Picture with EEGs 5
3. Positron Emission Tomography: Measuring Activity Indirectly with PET 6
4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging:
The State of the Art 7
5. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation:
Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain 8
6. Neuropsychology, the 10% Myth, and Why You Use All
of Your Brain 9
7. Get Acquainted with the Central Nervous System 13
8. Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes 16
9. The Neuron 19
10. Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow 22
11. Why People Don’t Work Like Elevator Buttons 24
12. Build Your Own Sensory Homunculus 27
Chapter 2. Seeing . . . . . . . . . . 32
13. Understand Visual Processing 32
14. See the Limits of Your Vision 38
15.To See, 16.Map Your 17. Glimpse the Gaps in Your Vision 50
18. When Time Stands Still 52
19. Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions 55
20. Fool Yourself into Seeing 3D 57
21. Objects Move, Lighting Shouldn’t 62
22. Depth Matters 66
23. See How Brightness Differs from Luminance:
The Checker Shadow Illusion 72
24. Create Illusionary Depth with Sunglasses 76
25. See Movement When All Is Still 80
26. Get Adjusted 83
27. Show Motion Without Anything Moving 86
28. Motion Extrapolation: The “Flash-Lag Effect” 90
29. Turn Gliding Blocks into Stepping Feet 93
30. Understand the Rotating Snakes Illusion 95
31. Minimize Imaginary Distances 101
32. Explore Your Defense Hardware 106
33. Neural Noise Isn’t a Bug; It’s a Feature 108
Chapter 3. Attention . . . . . . . 111
34. Detail and the Limits of Attention 112
35. Count Faster with Subitizing 115
36. Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention 117
37. Grab Attention 123
38. Don’t Look Back! 126
39. Avoid Holes in Attention 129
40. Blind to Change 134
41. Make Things Invisible Simply by Concentrating
(on Something Else) 137
42. The Brain Punishes Features that Cry Wolf 139
43. Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games 143
Chapter 4. Hearing and Language . . . . . . 147
44. Detect Timing with Your Ears 148
45. Detect Sound Direction 150
46. Discover Pitch 154
47. Keep Your Balance 156
48. Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty 158
49. Speech Is Broadband Input to Your Head 160
50. Give Big-Sounding Words to Big Concepts 162
51. Stop Memory-Buffer Overrun While Reading 165
52. Robust Processing Using Parallelism 169
Chapter 5. Integrating . . . . . . 173
53. Put Timing Information into Sound
and Location Information into Light 173
54. Don’t Divide Attention Across Locations 176
55. Confuse Color Identification with Mixed Signals 179
56. Don’t Go There 182
57. Combine Modalities to Increase Intensity 186
58. Watch Yourself to Feel More 188
59. Hear with Your Eyes: The McGurk Effect 190
60. Pay Attention to Thrown Voices 193
61. Talk to Yourself 195
Chapter 6. Moving . . . .. . . . 200
62. The Broken Escalator Phenomenon:
When Autopilot Takes Over 200
63. Keep Hold of Yourself 203
64. Mold Your Body Schema 207
65. Why Can’t You Tickle Yourself? 210
66. Trick Half Your Mind 215
67. Objects Ask to Be Used 218
68. Test Your Handedness 221
69. Use Your Right Brain—and Your Left, Too 226
Chapter 7. Reasoning . . .  . . . . . 231
70. Use Numbers Carefully 231
71. Think About Frequencies Rather than Probabilities 234
72. Detect Cheaters 239
73. Fool Others into Feeling Better 242
74. Maintain the Status Quo 246
Chapter 8. Togetherness . . . . . . 251
75. Grasp the Gestalt 252
76. To Be Noticed, Synchronize in Time 254
77. See a Person in Moving Lights 258
78. Make Things Come Alive 262
79. Make Events Understandable as Cause and Effect 265
80. Act Without Knowing It 269
Chapter 9. Remembering . . . . .  . 273
81. Bring Stuff to the Front of Your Mind 274
82. Subliminal Messages Are Weak and Simple 277
83. Fake Familiarity 279
84. Keep Your Sources Straight (if You Can) 283
85. Create False Memories 287
86. Change Context to Build Robust Memories 292
87. Boost Memory Using Context 295
88. Think Yourself Strong 298
89. Navigate Your Way Through Memory 302
90. Have an Out-of-Body Experience 306
91. Enter the Twilight Zone: The Hypnagogic State 308
92. Make the Caffeine Habit Taste Good 311
Chapter 10. Other People . . . 316
93. Understand What Makes Faces Special 317
94. Signal Emotion 320
95. Make Yourself Happy 325
96. Reminisce Hot and Cold 327
97. Look Where I’m Looking 331
98. Monkey See, Monkey Do 335
99. Spread a Bad Mood Around 338
100. You Are What You Think 342
Index . . .  . . . 345

Mind Hacks- Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain
Printed in the United States of America.
Published by O’Reilly Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North,
Sebastopol, CA 95472.

Editor: Rael Dornfest
Series Editor: Rael Dornfest
Executive Editor: Dale Dougherty
Production Editor: Sarah Sherman
Cover Designer: Hanna Dyer
Interior Designer: David Futato
Printing History:
November 2004: First Edition.

Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

1. Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic—physiopathology. 2. Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic—therapy.

The Body Keeps the Score- Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
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Book Details
 464 p
 File Size 
 8,229 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 978-1-10160830-2 (ebook)
 2014 by Bessel van der Kolk
 Penguin supports copyright

Praise for The Body Keeps the Score
“This book is a tour de force. Its deeply empathic, insightful, and compassionate
perspective promises to further humanize the treatment of trauma victims,
dramatically expand their repertoire of self-regulatory healing practices and
therapeutic options, and also stimulate greater creative thinking and research on
trauma and its effective treatment. The body does keep the score, and Van der
Kolk’s ability to demonstrate this through compelling descriptions of the work of
others, his own pioneering trajectory and experience as the field evolved and
him along with it, and above all, his discovery of ways to work skillfully with
people by bringing mindfulness to the body (as well as to their thoughts and
emotions) through yoga, movement, and theater are a wonderful and welcome
breath of fresh air and possibility in the therapy world.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus, UMass Medical School; author of
Full Catastrophe Living
“This exceptional book will be a classic of modern psychiatric thought. The
impact of overwhelming experience can only be truly understood when many
disparate domains of knowledge, such as neuroscience, developmental
psychopathology, and interpersonal neurobiology are integrated, as this work
uniquely does. There is no other volume in the field of traumatic stress that has
distilled these domains of science with such rich historical and clinical
perspectives, and arrived at such innovative treatment approaches. The clarity of
vision and breadth of wisdom of this unique but highly accessible work is
remarkable. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in
understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on
—Alexander McFarlane AO, MB BS (Hons) MD FRANZCP, director of the Centre
for Traumatic Stress Studies, The University of Adelaide, South Australia.
“This is an amazing accomplishment from the neuroscientist most responsible
for the contemporary revolution in mental health toward the recognition that so
many mental problems are the product of trauma. With the compelling writing of
a good novelist, van der Kolk revisits his fascinating journey of discovery that
has challenged established wisdom in psychiatry. Interspersed with that narrative
are clear and understandable descriptions of the neurobiology of trauma;
explanations of the ineffectiveness of traditional approaches to treating trauma;
and introductions to the approaches that take patients beneath their cognitive
minds to heal the parts of them that remained frozen in the past. All this is
illustrated vividly with dramatic case histories and substantiated with convincing
research. This is a watershed book that will be remembered as tipping the scales
within psychiatry and the culture at large toward the recognition of the toll
traumatic events and our attempts to deny their impact take on us all.”
—Richard Schwartz, originator, Internal Family Systems Therapy
“The Body Keeps the Score is clear, fascinating, hard to put down, and filled with
powerful case histories. Van der Kolk, the eminent impresario of trauma
treatment, who has spent a career bringing together diverse trauma scientists and
clinicians and their ideas, while making his own pivotal contributions, describes
what is arguably the most important series of breakthroughs in mental health in
the last thirty years. We’ve known that psychological trauma fragments the
mind. Here we see not only how psychological trauma also breaks connections
within the brain, but also between mind and body, and learn about the exciting
new approaches that allow people with the severest forms of trauma to put all the
parts back together again.”
—Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself
“In The Body Keeps the Score we share the author’s courageous journey into the
parallel dissociative worlds of trauma victims and the medical and psychological
disciplines that are meant to provide relief. In this compelling book we learn that
as our minds desperately try to leave trauma behind, our bodies keep us trapped
in the past with wordless emotions and feelings. These inner disconnections
cascade into ruptures in social relationships with disastrous effects on marriages,
families, and friendships. Van der Kolk offers hope by describing treatments and
strategies that have successfully helped his patients reconnect their thoughts with
their bodies. We leave this shared journey understanding that only through
fostering self-awareness and gaining an inner sense of safety will we, as a
species, fully experience the richness of life.
—Stephen W. Porges, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill; author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of
Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation
“Bessel van der Kolk is unequaled in his ability to synthesize the stunning
developments in the field of psychological trauma over the past few decades.
Thanks in part to his work, psychological trauma—ranging from chronic child
abuse and neglect, to war trauma and natural disasters—is now generally
recognized as a major cause of individual, social, and cultural breakdown. In this
masterfully lucid and engaging tour de force, Van der Kolk takes us—both
specialists and the general public— on his personal journey and shows what he
has learned from his research, from his colleagues and students, and, most
important, from his patients. The Body Keeps the Score is, simply put, brilliant.”
—Onno van der Hart, PhD, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; senior author, The
Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization
“The Body Keeps the Score articulates new and better therapies for toxic stress
based on a deep understanding of the effects of trauma on brain development and
attachment systems. This volume provides a moving summary of what is
currently known about the effects of trauma on individuals and societies, and
introduces the healing potential of both age-old and novel approaches to help
traumatized children and adults fully engage in the present.”
—Jessica Stern, policy consultant on terrorism; author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror
“A book about understanding the impact of trauma by one of the true pioneers in
the field. It is a rare book that integrates cutting edge neuroscience with wisdom
and understanding about the experience and meaning of trauma, for people who
have suffered from it. Like its author, this book is wise and compassionate,
occasionally quite provocative, and always interesting.”
—Glenn N. Saxe, MD, Arnold Simon Professor and chairman, Department of Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry; director, NYU Child Study Center, New York University
School of Medicine.
“A fascinating exploration of a wide range of therapeutic treatments shows
readers how to take charge of the healing process, gain a sense of safety, and find
their way out of the morass of suffering.”
—Francine Shapiro, PhD, originator of EMDR therapy; senior research fellow,
Emeritus Mental Research Institute; author of Getting Past Your Past
“As an attachment researcher I know that infants are psychobiological beings.
They are as much of the body as they are of the brain. Without language or
symbols infants use every one of their biological systems to make meaning of
their self in relation to the world of things and people. Van der Kolk shows that
those very same systems continue to operate at every age, and that traumatic
experiences, especially chronic toxic experience during early development,
produce psychic devastation. With this understanding he provides insight and
guidance for survivors, researchers, and clinicians alike. Bessel van der Kolk
may focus on the body and trauma, but what a mind he must have to have
written this book.”
—Ed Tronick, distinguished professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston; author of
Neurobehavior and Social Emotional Development of Infants and Young Children
“The Body Keeps the Score eloquently articulates how overwhelming
experiences affect the development of brain, mind, and body awareness, all of
which are closely intertwined. The resulting derailments have a profound impact
on the capacity for love and work. This rich integration of clinical case examples
with ground breaking scientific studies provides us with a new understanding of
trauma, which inevitably leads to the exploration of novel therapeutic
approaches that ‘rewire’ the brain, and help traumatized people to reengage in
the present. This book will provide traumatized individuals with a guide to
healing and permanently change how psychologists and psychiatrists think about
trauma and recovery.”
—Ruth A. Lanius, MD, PhD, Harris-Woodman chair in Psyche and Soma, professor
of psychiatry, and director PTSD research at the University of Western Ontario; author
of The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease
“When it comes to understanding the impact of trauma and being able to
continue to grow despite overwhelming life experiences, Bessel van der Kolk
leads the way in his comprehensive knowledge, clinical courage, and creative
strategies to help us heal. The Body Keeps the Score is a cutting-edge offering
for the general reader to comprehend the complex effects of trauma, and a guide
to a wide array of scientifically informed approaches to not only reduce
suffering, but to move beyond mere survival— and to thrive.”
—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine, author of
Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain; Mindsight: The New
Science of Personal Transformation; and The Developing Mind: How Relationships
and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are
“In this magnificent book, Bessel van der Kolk takes the reader on a captivating
journey that is chock-full of riveting stories of patients and their struggles
interpreted through history, research, and neuroscience made accessible in the
words of a gifted storyteller. We are privy to the author’s own courageous efforts
to understand and treat trauma over the past forty years, the results of which
have broken new ground and challenged the status quo of psychiatry and
psychotherapy. The Body Keeps the Score leaves us with both a profound
appreciation for and a felt sense of the debilitating effects of trauma, along with
hope for the future through fascinating descriptions of novel approaches to
treatment. This outstanding volume is absolutely essential reading not only for
therapists but for all who seek to understand, prevent, or treat the immense
suffering caused by trauma.”
—Pat Ogden PhD, founder/educational director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Institute; author of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment
“This is masterpiece of powerful understanding and brave heartedness, one of
the most intelligent and helpful works on trauma I have ever read. Dr. Van der
Kolk offer a brilliant synthesis of clinical cases, neuroscience, powerful tools
and caring humanity, offering a whole new level of healing for thtraumas
carried by so many.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

One does not have be a combat soldier, or visit a refugee camp in Syria or the
Congo to encounter trauma. Trauma happens to us, our friends, our
families, and our neighbors. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has shown that one in five Americans was sexually molested as a
child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on
their body; and one in three couples engages in physical violence. A quarter of
us grew up with alcoholic relatives, and one out of eight witnessed their mother
being beaten or hit.1
As human beings we belong to an extremely resilient species. Since time
immemorial we have rebounded from our relentless wars, countless disasters
(both natural and man-made), and the violence and betrayal in our own lives.
But traumatic experiences do leave traces, whether on a large scale (on our
histories and cultures) or close to home, on our families, with dark secrets being
imperceptibly passed down through generations. They also leave traces on our
minds and emotions, on our capacity for joy and intimacy, and even on our
biology and immune systems.
Trauma affects not only those who are directly exposed to it, but also those
around them. Soldiers returning home from combat may frighten their families
with their rages and emotional absence. The wives of men who suffer from
PTSD tend to become depressed, and the children of depressed mothers are at
risk of growing up insecure and anxious. Having been exposed to family
violence as a child often makes it difficult to establish stable, trusting
relationships as an adult.
Trauma, by definition, is unbearable and intolerable. Most rape victims,
combat soldiers, and children who have been molested become so upset when
they think about what they experienced that they try to push it out of their minds,
trying to act as if nothing happened, and move on. It takes tremendous energy to
keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror, and the shame of utter
weakness and vulnerability.
While we all want to move beyond trauma, the part of our brain that is
devoted to ensuring our survival (deep below our rational brain) is not very good
at denial. Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the
slightest hint of danger and mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive
amounts of stress hormones. This precipitates unpleasant emotions intense
physical sensations, and impulsive and aggressive actions. These posttraumatic
reactions feel incomprehensible and overwhelming. Feeling out of control,
survivors of trauma often begin to fear that they are damaged to the core and
beyond redemption.
• • •
The first time I remember being drawn to study medicine was at a summer camp
when I was about fourteen years old. My cousin Michael kept me up all night
explaining the intricacies of how kidneys work, how they secrete the body’s
waste materials and then reabsorb the chemicals that keep the system in balance.
I was riveted by his account of the miraculous way the body functions. Later,
during every stage of my medical training, whether I was studying surgery,
cardiology, or pediatrics, it was obvious to me that the key to healing was
understanding how the human organism works. When I began my psychiatry
rotation, however, I was struck by the contrast between the incredible
complexity of the mind and the ways that we human beings are connected and
attached to one another, and how little psychiatrists knew about the origins of the
problems they were treating. Would it be possible one day to know as much
about brains, minds, and love as we do about the other systems that make up our
We are obviously still years from attaining that sort of detailed
understanding, but the birth of three new branches of science has led to an
explosion of knowledge about the effects of psychological trauma, abuse, and
neglect. Those new disciplines are neuroscience, the study of how the brain
supports mental processes; developmental psychopathology, the study of the
impact of adverse experiences on the development of mind and brain; and
interpersonal neurobiology, the study of how our behavior influences the
emotions, biology, and mind-sets of those around us.
Research from these new disciplines has revealed that trauma produces
actual physiological changes, including a recalibration of the brain’s alarm
system, an increase in stress hormone activity, and alterations in the system that
filters relevant information from irrelevant. We now know that trauma
compromises the brain area that communicates the physical, embodied feeling of
being alive. These changes explain why traumatized individuals become
hypervigilant to threat at the expense of spontaneously engaging in their day-today
lives. They also help us understand why traumatized people so often keep
repeating the same problems and have such trouble learning from experience.
We now know that their behaviors are not the result of moral failings or signs of
lack of willpower or bad character—they are caused by actual changes in the
brain. This vast increase in our knowledge about the basic processes that underlie
trauma has also opened up new possibilities to palliate or even reverse the
damage. We can now develop methods and experiences that utilize the brain’s
own natural neuroplasticity to help survivors feel fully alive in the present and
move on with their lives. There are fundamentally three avenues: 1) top down,
by talking, (re-) connecting with others, and allowing ourselves to know and
understand what is going on with us, while processing the memories of the
trauma; 2) by taking medicines that shut down inappropriate alarm reactions, or
by utilizing other technologies that change the way the brain organizes
information, and 3) bottom up: by allowing the body to have experiences that
deeply and viscerally contradict the helplessness, rage, or collapse that result
from trauma. Which one of these is best for any particular survivor is an
empirical question. Most people I have worked with require a combination.
This has been my life’s work. In this effort I have been supported by my
colleagues and students at the Trauma Center, which I founded thirty years ago.
Together we have treated thousands of traumatized children and adults: victims
of child abuse, natural disasters, wars, accidents, and human trafficking; people
who have suffered assaults by intimates and strangers. We have a long tradition
of discussing all our patients in great depth at weekly treatment team meetings
and carefully tracking how well different forms of treatment work for particular
Our principal mission has always been to take care of the children and adults
who have come to us for treatment, but from the very beginning we also have
dedicated ourselves to conducting research to explore the effects of traumatic
stress on different populations and to determine what treatments work for whom.
We have been supported by research grants from the National Institute of Mental
Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the
Centers for Disease Control, and a number of private foundations to study the
efficacy of many different forms of treatment, from medications to talking, yoga,
EMDR, theater, and neurofeedback.
The challenge is: How can people gain control over the residues of past
trauma and return to being masters of their own ship? Talking, understanding,
and human connections help, and drugs can dampen hyperactive alarm systems.
But we will also see that the imprints from the past can be transformed by
having physical experiences that directly contradict the helplessness, rage, and
collapse that are part of trauma, and thereby regaining self-mastery. I have no
preferred treatment modality, as no single approach fits everybody, but I practice
all the forms of treatment that I discuss in this book. Each one of them can
produce profound changes, depending on the nature of the particular problem
and the makeup of the individual person.
I wrote this book to serve as both a guide and an invitation—an invitation to
dedicate ourselves to facing the reality of trauma, to explore how best to treat it,
and to commit ourselves, as a society, to using every means we have to prevent

Table of Contents
Praise for The Body Keeps the Score
Title Page

The Body Keeps the Score- Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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A Penguin Random House Company First published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group
(USA) LLC, 2014

Unlock Your Creativity-Boost Your Memory-Change Your Life

Tony Buzan with Susanna Abbott, Creative Editor

EPub Edition © AUGUST 2012
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 Tony Buzan 2005 

You are now in possession of the thinking tool which can transform the way you
think for ever.
When you use Mind Maps on a daily basis, you will find that your life becomes
more productive, fulfilled, and successful on every level:
You can achieve what you want to achieve.
You can become an ideas person.
You can become more efficient and more productive.
You can make your dreams a reality.
Like a road map, Mind Maps will help you get from where you are now to where
you want to be.
As we have seen throughout this book, Mind Maps are so effective because they
work with your brain and its natural ways of functioning: they are a physical
realization of the incredible networking and explosive Mind Maps of thought in
your head. In short, they work with the brain’s all-important hunger for
imagination and association. This is why Mind Mapping is a co-operative
venture – and adventure – between what goes on in your head and what you put on paper.
As you now know, there are no limits to the number of thoughts, ideas, and
connections that your brain can make, which means that there are no limits to the
different ways you can use Mind Maps to help you.
I wish you every success and every enjoyment on your Mind Map journey with
the universe of your brain.

Do you want to:
Come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions?
Memorize information and recall it under pressure?
Set goals and achieve them?
Change career or start up your own venture?
Be an excellent time manager?
Run meetings with efficiency and ease?
Budget and plan to perfection?
Deliver excellent presentations with confidence?
Have more time for yourself and your family?
Enjoy success after success in your life?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you have the right
book in your hands! Mind Maps are a unique thinking tool that will bring out
your natural genius and enable you to shine in every area of your life. The
Ultimate Book of Mind Maps is the definitive guide to using this remarkable tool.

Chapter One, What is a Mind Map?, introduces you to Mind Maps and how
they work. It explains the basic Mind Map ‘rules’ and takes you step-by-step
through your first Mind Map.
Chapter Two, Know Your Brain, Unlock Your Potential, digs deeper into the
reasons why Mind Maps work and how they actually help your brain learn and
think creatively. The better you understand your brain and how it works, the
easier it is for you to help it perform to its best.
Chapter Three, The Ultimate Success Formula, looks at learning how to
learn. It gives you a foolproof formula for learning and success that you can use
in combination with Mind Maps. With the TEFCAS success formula and Mind
Maps you’ll always succeed!
Chapter Four, Mind Workouts for Mental Success, delves into the world of
creativity and shows you how Mind Maps are the ideal tool for quality creative
thinking. It also looks at how strong creative skills help your ability to remember
things with ease, and gives you important memory principles that you can use
with Mind Maps.
Chapter Five, Physical Fitness for Mental Power, highlights the importance of
physical fitness for mental fitness. It looks at optimal ways of getting the right
balance of exercise, sleep, and quality nutrition, and shows you how Mind Maps
can help you achieve this balance.
Finally, Chapter Six, Mind Maps for Everyday Success, shows you just some
of the infinite ways you can use Mind Maps in the workplace, socially, and in
your general life planning. Use the Mind Map examples in this chapter to inspire
you and your fabulous imagination, and you can be sure you will demonstrate
your brilliance in everything you do.

Mind Maps wonderfully and dramatically changed my life for the better. I know
that they will do the same for you, too.
Be prepared to be amazed – by yourself!

List of Mind Maps
Chapter One
What Is a Mind Map?
Jolly hols
Chapter Two
Know Your Brain, Unlock Your Potential Brain cell
Bee skills
The body of your brain
Synergetic brain
Chapter Three
The Ultimate Success Formula Persistence
Chapter Four
Mind Workouts for Mental Success Creativity game
Creativity tips
Chapter Five
Physical Fitness for Mental Power The body’s major systems
Physical power check map
Daily living
Get fit
Chapter Six
Mind Maps for Everyday Success Running a meeting
Preparing for a job interview
Writing an essay
Starting a new venture
Shopping for gifts
Planning a romantic weekend
Learning a language
The wedding
Planning a garden
Family events
Successful budgeting
Mapping your way through a problem
Life vision and purpose
Your ideal future

Table of Contents
Title Page
List of Mind Maps
Chapter One
What Is a Mind Map?
How Can Mind Maps Help You?
The Great Geniuses and Note-making
Mind Mappers in History
What Do You Need to Make a Mind Map?
Seven Steps to Making a Mind Map
Creating Your First Mind Map
Mind Maps in Action
Chapter Two
Know Your Brain, Unlock Your Potential
How Well Do You Know Your Brain?
Our Evolving Knowledge of Our Evolving Brains
The Brain Principle of Synergy
The Learning Principle of Repetition
Mind Maps: Brain Tool Extraordinaire
Chapter Three
The Ultimate Success Formula
Learning How to Learn
The Success Formula – TEFCAS
The Principle of Success
The Principle of Persistence
Mind Maps and TEFCAS
Chapter Four
Mind Workouts for Mental Success
How Can I Boost My Creativity?
Mind Maps for Creative Thinking
Advanced Creative Mind Mapping
Creativity and Memory
Memorizing Information from a Mind Map
Repetition and Memory
The Importance of Study Breaks
Creativity Is the Key to Mental Success
Chapter Five
Physical Fitness for Mental Power
The New Science of Body and Mind
General Physical Fitness
Feed Your Body, Feed Your Mind
Rest, Sleep, and Your Brain
Mind Map Motivator
Chapter Six
Mind Maps for Everyday Success
Mind Maps for Work
Running a meeting
Job interview
Writing an essay
Starting a new venture
Mind Maps for Your Social Life
Shopping for gifts
A romantic weekend
Learning a foreign language
Your daughter’s wedding
Designing your garden
Mind Maps for Life
Planning family events
Planning a budget
Creative problem solving
Life vision and purpose
Creating your ideal future
Other Books by Tony Buzan
About the Publisher

Ultimate Book of Mind Maps
An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
77-85 Fulham Palace Road,
Hammersmith, London W6 8JB
The website address is:

and Thorsons are registered trademarks of HarperCollinsPublishers Limited The
text in this book is based upon the material first published in the following
Thorsons titles: Head First (2000), Headstrong (2001), The Power of Creative
Intelligence (2001), The Power of Spiritual Intelligence (2001), How to Mind
Map (2002), The Power of Verbal Intelligence (2002), The Power of Social
Intelligence (2002), and The Power of Physical Intelligence (2003).

Tony Buzan asserts the moral right to be identified as author of this work Mind
Map® is a registered trademark of The Buzan Organization Mind Map®
illustrations by Alan and Emily Burton
All other illustrations by Alan Burton, Jeff Edwards, Peter Cox Associates and
Jennie Dooge A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
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