The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Joe R. Long Chair in Democratic Studies Speaker Series- Norman Doidge (Univ of Toronto)

The Brain That Changes Itself

Mon, March 4, 2019 | Batts 5.108

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

This is a Thomas Jefferson Related event. We encourage our students and members to participate.


Neuroscience is undergoing the biggest change in its fundamental concepts since it is inception. The brain just doesn’t produce mental experience.  The neuroplasticity revolution has shown that the brain can change its structure and its function with mental experience. The consequences for our understanding of ourselves, human nature, aspects of civic culture, what great thinkers have said about the mind, and clinical problems are immense. The lecture will explore some of these major implications.


Norman Doidge, M.D., FRCPC is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, essayist, and poet, on the faculty at the Departments of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and, Columbia University, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, for 28 years. In the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto he has taught the political thought of Sigmund Freud. He has written over 170 scientific and popular articles. 

He is best known internationally for his writing on neuroplasticity and neuroscience. His book, The Brain That Changes Itself, has been described by neurologist Oliver Sacks as “Fascinating...a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.”  The London Times has written,  “Brilliant...Doidge has identified a tidal shift in basic science...the implications are monumental.”  The New York Times has written that The Brain That Changes Itself, has “implications…not only for individual patients with neurologic disease but for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history.” An international and New York Times Bestseller, it is available in over 100 countries, has sold over a million copies, and has been made into two documentary films. It was chosen by the Dana Brain Foundation USA’s journal, Cerebrum, from among the 30,000 books, as the best general book on the brain.

       The Brain’s Way of Healing, his second book, also a New York Times and International Bestseller, received the Nautilus Book Award in Science, and was also made into a documentary.

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