Practicing the plastic brain: popular neuroscience and the good life

Ties van de Werff

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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What should we do with our brain? Since the 1990s our brain has been described as plastic and able to change. In popular science books and self-help literature neuroscientists and academic journalists write about the plastic brain and tell us how to be good parents to our teenage children, how to prevent stress at work and how to grow old successfully. This dissertation shows how neuro-advocates in different societal practices engage in ethics to make brain facts valuable. Despite all the promises, the plastic brain in practice does not lead to new insights but is incorporated into existing views on the good life.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Swierstra, Tsjalling, Supervisor
  • Pott, Helena, Supervisor
Award date16 May 2018
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789462958852
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ethics
  • popular neurosciences
  • plastic brain
  • good life
  • self help
  • valorisation


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