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Home » Caroline Leaf on Science of Thought at TEDxOaksChristianSchool (Transcript)

Caroline Leaf on Science of Thought at TEDxOaksChristianSchool (Transcript)

Caroline Leaf

Here is the full transcript of author and cognitive neuroscientist Caroline Leaf’s TEDx Talk presentation on Science of Thought at TEDxOaksChristianSchool conference.


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Good morning everyone. How amazing that TED is in a school; I just think that’s just so exciting.

Well, I teach people about the brain, and 30 years ago, I asked a ridiculous question. And it really was a ridiculous question. This is the question: can the mind change the brain?

Now that was a ridiculous question, because the view at that time, and the scientists that trained me and my lecturers, we were told that the brain could not change. So if it was damaged, well that’s it; you just basically had to teach your patients to compensate for these things and to kind of get around the problem. But that seemed such a negative thing.

So I asked that question: Can a brain that’s damaged, can it not change, can it not grow? And a brain that’s not damaged, can’t we make that better? Can’t we increase our intelligence?

And so I decided to embark on a journey of researching and studying this and applying it in my practice. I was determined to prove that the mind could change the brain, which implies that the mind is separate from the brain but influencing the brain.

So I started off 30 years ago in practice and I decided to work with people with learning disabilities and with traumatic brain injury, specifically with the learning disabled communities, the older children. So, because we were also told back then that once you hit the age of 10, sort of 10 to 12, well then you’re too old to have much done for you. So you’d have to — you could get some remedial therapy and things like that but there wasn’t a huge amount that you could do for your brain.

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