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About Shane O'Mara
His research work is supported by industry, philanthropy and biomedical charities. He was the first recipient in Ireland of a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, which are provided to "support exceptional, world-class researchers, who already hold a recognized academic position and whose research will address the most important questions about health and disease."
He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of his research interests, including brain systems supporting learning, memory, cognition and decision-making; brain systems affected by stress, anxiety, depression and motivation; and the application of brain science to business.
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A hymn to walking, the mechanical magic at the core of our humanity.
In this captivating book, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits walking confers on our bodies and brains, and to appreciate the advantages of this uniquely human skill. From walking’s evolutionary origins, traced back millions of years to life forms on the ocean floor, to new findings from cutting-edge research, he reveals how the brain and nervous system give us the ability to balance, weave through a crowded city, and run our “inner GPS” system. Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs, and can slow or turn back the aging of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves, and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species.
As our lives become increasingly sedentary, O’Mara makes the case that we must start walking again—whether it’s up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. In Praise of Walking illuminates the joys, health benefits, and mechanics of walking, and reminds us to get out of our chairs and discover a happier, healthier, more creative self.
Behaviour change is hard, but O’Mara shows that by adopting strategies that are well-founded in the science of brain and behaviour individuals and organisations can adapt to the demands of the modern world.
The brain matters in business. The problem is that our brains have many biases, heuristics and predilections that can distort behaviour and decision making. The good news is that we know more about how these work than ever before.
O’Mara’s starting point is that, as our behaviour arises from the structure and function of our brains, careful examination of a series of brain–based (‘neurocognitive’) analyses of common aspects of human behaviour relevant to business and management practice reveals lessons that can be used at work.
He begins by looking at neuroplasticity and how it is enables a shift from a restrictive ‘fixed mindset’ to an enabling ‘growth mindset’. He shows how this changing mindset approach – where the focus is on task and improvements based on effort – is scalable within organisations.
Next, as the brain is a living organ like the heart and lungs, O’Mara shows how to keep it physically in the best possible shape before examining how we exercise control over our behaviour, build resilience and create positive brain states. He also considers the implications for business of our brains wiring for status and illustrates how research shows that it is possible to de-bias assumptions about gender and race – and the impact that this has on performance.
The Opioid System as the Brain’s Interface between Cognition and Motivation, Volume 239, focuses on the opioid system as the interface between the brain’s cognitive and motivational systems. As the opioid system is widely distributed through the brain, particularly in areas implicated in cognition (hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, claustrum, thalamus) and motivation (hypothalamus, amygdala, pontine nuclei, periaqueductal gray and medulla), this book provides chapters that address ongoing research on topics such as the Brain’s cognitive system, the Brain’s motivational system, Antidepressant prescription patterns, Antidepressant-like effects of opioid receptor modulators, the Behavioral effects of antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs, and more.
- Contains contributions from both academia and industry to maximize the cross-fertilization of differing perspectives on opioid system function in health and disease
- Studies the opioid system as the interface between the brain’s cognitive and motivational systems
- This well-established international series examines major areas of basic and clinical research within neuroscience, as well as emerging subfields