The Mimetic Brain cover
The Mimetic Brain
The discovery of mirror neurons in the 1990s led to an explosion of research and debate about the imitative capacities of the human brain. Some herald a paradigm shift on the order of DNA in biology, while others remain skeptical. In this revolutionary volume Jean- Michel Oughourlian shows how the hypotheses of René Girard can be combined with the insights of neuroscientists to shed new light on the “mimetic brain.”
Offering up clinical studies and a complete reevaluation of classical psychiatry, Oughourlian explores the interaction among reason, emotions, and imitation and reveals that rivalry—the blind spot in contemporary neuroscientific understandings of imitation—is a misunderstood driving force behind mental illness. Oughourlian’s analyses shake the very foundations of psychiatry as we know it and open up new avenues for both theoretical research and clinical practice.
Publication Date: January 1st, 2016
228 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Jean-Michel Oughourlian is Professor of Clinical Psychopathology at the University of Paris.

Early Praise

“Seldom is a scientific book written with such grace and power that it opens up new psychological worlds in the manner of a novel. This is such a book. It combines neuroscience with unlikely bedfellows—anthropology, psychiatry, child development, Don Quixote, and Freud. Oughourlian explores the rational mind, the emotional brain, and the delicate connections between self and other. Readers will be seduced by Oughourlian’s brilliance, shocked by his analysis of human desires, and introduced to a scientific revolution that is destined to change how we think about the human brain.”
Andrew N. Meltzoff, coauthor, The Scientist in the Crib
“This is Oughourlian’s most important book since The Puppet of Desire….Its theory of the three “brain functions”—rational, emotive, and mimetic—is clearly explained and well illustrated with fascinating case studies that show how psychoses and neuroses need to be understood as involving the interaction of all three in different proportions relating to the particular case. As an added bonus, the author’s warm humanity and sense of humor make this book a delight to read.”
Eugene Webb, professor emeritus, University of Washington

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