We hear about a woman with an artificial arm controlled by her mind, read stories about the creative potential of “right-brain” and “left-brain” people, and watch science fiction films featuring characters with implanted mind chips. Yet few of us understand the science behind these and other visionary advances being made today in brain research. Leading neuroscientists and scholars have charted the stream of new findings in Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and their articles from the past eight years, compiled here in a comprehensive volume, offer diverse and provocative perspectives on various cutting-edge brain science projects.
Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States, has long been the standard bearer of science journalism, and the brain science articles published in its pages offer unparalleled insights into the world of neuroscience. The expert articles assembled here, divided into three sections, reveal the latest developments of brain research in a compelling and wholly readable fashion and explore the range of fields and topics now included under the umbrella of neuroscience.
Consciousness and creativity are the focus of the “Mind” section, which features such compelling essays as science writer Carl Zimmer’s examination of how the brain creates a sense of self. Steven E. Hyman, Harvard Provost and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, proposes new ways of diagnosing psychiatric disorders in “Matter,” a section that also features articles on psychological disorders, addictions, and other topics related to the interaction between body and brain. And “Tomorrow’s Brain” reveals the intriguing future potential of man-machine interactions, as well as pioneering new methods of brain treatment. Eminent neuroscientist Floyd E. Bloom also contributes an engaging introduction that situates these pieces on the front lines of brain research.
In today’s technologically driven world, our lives are changing faster than ever, and neuroscience is becoming an integral part of that transformation. Best of the Brain from Scientific American gathers the very best writings on this sea change, providing an invaluable guide to the exhilarating possibilities of neuroscience.
In The Brain's Body Victoria Pitts-Taylor brings feminist and critical theory to bear on new development in neuroscience to demonstrate how power and inequality are materially and symbolically entangled with neurobiological bodies. Pitts-Taylor is interested in how the brain interacts with and is impacted by social structures, especially in regard to race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability, as well as how those social structures shape neuroscientific knowledge. Pointing out that some brain scientists have not fully abandoned reductionist or determinist explanations of neurobiology, Pitts-Taylor moves beyond debates over nature and nurture to address the politics of plastic, biosocial brains. She highlights the potential of research into poverty's effects on the brain to reinforce certain notions of poor subjects and to justify particular forms of governance, while her queer critique of kinship research demonstrates the limitations of hypotheses based on heteronormative assumptions. In her exploration of the embodied mind and the "embrained" body, Pitts-Taylor highlights the inextricability of nature and culture and shows why using feminist and queer thought is essential to understanding the biosociality of the brain.
The Ethical Brain
Michael S. Gazzaniga Dana Press, 2005 Library of Congress QP360.5.G393 2005 | Dewey Decimal 174.2928233
Will increased scientific understanding of our brains overturn our beliefs about moral and ethical behavior? How will increasingly powerful brain imaging technologies affect the ideas of privacy and of self-incrimination? Such thought-provoking questions are rapidly emerging as new discoveries in neuroscience have raised difficult legal and ethical dilemmas. Michael Gazzaniga, widely considered to be the father of cognitive neuroscience, investigates with an expert eye some of these controversial and complex issues in The Ethical Brain.
He first examines "lifespan neuroethics" and considers how brain development defines human life, from when an embryo develops a brain and could be considered "one of us" to the issues raised as the brain ages, such as whether we should have complete freedom to extend our lives and enhance our brains through the use of genetics, pharmaceuticals, and training.
Gazzaniga also considers the challenges posed to the justice system by new discoveries in neuroscience. Recent findings suggest that our brain has already made a decision before we become fully aware of doing so, raising the question of whether the concept of personal responsibility can remain a fundamental tenet of the law. Gazzaniga argues that as neuroscience learns more about the unreliability of human memory, the very foundation of trial law will be challenged.
Gazzaniga then discusses a radical re-evaluation of the nature of moral belief, as he not only looks at possibly manipulating the part of the brain that creates beliefs but also explores how scientific research is building a brain-based account of moral reasoning.
The Ethical Brain is a groundbreaking volume that presents neuroscience's loaded findings—and their ethical implications—in an engaging and readable manner, offering an incisive and thoughtful analysis of the medical ethics challenges confronting modern society at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Even on good days, teaching is a challenging profession. One way to make the job of college instructors easier, however, is to know more about the ways students learn. How Humans Learn aims to do just that by peering behind the curtain and surveying research in fields as diverse as developmental psychology, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience for insight into the science behind learning.
The result is a story that ranges from investigations of the evolutionary record to studies of infants discovering the world for the first time, and from a look into how our brains respond to fear to a reckoning with the importance of gestures and language. Joshua R. Eyler identifies five broad themes running through recent scientific inquiry—curiosity, sociality, emotion, authenticity, and failure—devoting a chapter to each and providing practical takeaways for busy teachers. He also interviews and observes college instructors across the country, placing theoretical insight in dialogue with classroom experience.
This book is an introduction to Intercultural Communication (IC) that takes into account the much neglected dynamic paradigm of culture in the literature. It posits that culture is not static, context is the driving force for change, and individuals can develop a multicultural mind.It is also the first IC textbook in the field that incorporates insight from evolutionary biology and the newly emerging discipline of culturalneurosciences. Such an interdisciplinary approach provides readers with new angles, encourages critical thinking, and sometimes challenges conventional knowledge in the field. The combination of the author's multiculturalacademic and journalistic background contributes to a balance of diverse perspectives and world views on cultural theories and discourses. The book is ideal for courses in Intercultural Communicationwith study cases, discussion topics and class activities.
The Mimetic Brain
Jean-Michel Oughourlian Michigan State University Press, 2016 Library of Congress QP360.O8413 2016 | Dewey Decimal 612.8233
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.
Our subjective inner life is what really matters to us as human beings--and yet we know relatively little about how it arises. Over a long and distinguished career Benjamin Libet has conducted experiments that have helped us see, in clear and concrete ways, how the brain produces conscious awareness. For the first time, Libet gives his own account of these experiments and their importance for our understanding of consciousness.
Most notably, Libet's experiments reveal a substantial delay--the "mind time" of the title--before any awareness affects how we view our mental activities. If all conscious awarenesses are preceded by unconscious processes, as Libet observes, we are forced to conclude that unconscious processes initiate our conscious experiences. Freely voluntary acts are found to be initiated unconsciously before an awareness of wanting to act--a discovery with profound ramifications for our understanding of free will.
How do the physical activities of billions of cerebral nerve cells give rise to an integrated conscious subjective awareness? How can the subjective mind affect or control voluntary actions? Libet considers these questions, as well as the implications of his discoveries for the nature of the soul, the identity of the person, and the relation of the non-physical subjective mind to the physical brain that produces it. Rendered in clear, accessible language, Libet's experiments and theories will allow interested amateurs and experts alike to share the experience of the extraordinary discoveries made in the practical study of consciousness.
The Minor Gesture
Erin Manning Duke University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B828.45.M366 2016
In this wide-ranging and probing book Erin Manning extends her previous inquiries into the politics of movement to the concept of the minor gesture. The minor gesture, although it may pass almost unperceived, transforms the field of relations. More than a chance variation, less than a volition, it requires rethinking common assumptions about human agency and political action. To embrace the minor gesture's power to fashion relations, its capacity to open new modes of experience and manners of expression, is to challenge the ways in which the neurotypical image of the human devalues alternative ways of being moved by and moving through the world—in particular what Manning terms "autistic perception." Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari's schizoanalysis and Whitehead's speculative pragmatism, Manning's far-reaching analyses range from fashion to depression to the writings of autistics, in each case affirming the neurodiversity of the minor and the alternative politics it gestures toward.
John Modern offers a powerful and original critique of neurology’s pivotal role in religious history.
In Neuromatic, religious studies scholar John Lardas Modern offers a sprawling examination of the history of the cognitive revolution and current attempts to locate all that is human in the brain, including spirituality itself. Neuromatic is a wildly original take on the entangled histories of science and religion that lie behind our brain-laden present: from eighteenth-century revivals to the origins of neurology and mystic visions of mental piety in the nineteenth century; from cyberneticians, Scientologists, and parapsychologists in the twentieth century to contemporary claims to have discovered the neural correlates of religion.
What Modern reveals via this grand tour is that our ostensibly secular turn to the brain is bound up at every turn with the religion it discounts, ignores, or actively dismisses. In foregrounding the myths, ritual schemes, and cosmic concerns that have accompanied idealizations of neural networks and inquiries into their structure, Neuromatic takes the reader on a dazzling and disturbing ride through the history of our strange subservience to the brain.
Harvard University Press is proud to announce the second edition of a widely admired introductory textbook. When first published, Neurons and Networks filled the need for an introductory neuroscience text that is lucid, accessible, authoritative, logically organized, and concise. Avoiding the encyclopedic coverage that makes most neuroscience texts overwhelming, Neurons and Networks focused instead on building the solid foundation of understanding and knowledge required for further study.
The new edition retains the features that made the first edition so attractive: consistent emphasis on results and concepts that have stood the test of time; abundant high-quality illustrations; exceptionally clear explanations of technical terms. Completely revised and enlarged with six new chapters, the second edition of Neurons and Networks is an introduction not just to neurobiology, but to all of behavioral neuroscience. It is an ideal text for first- or second-year college students with minimal college science exposure. It is also an invaluable resource for students in biology, psychology, anthropology, and computer science who seek an accessible guide to a discipline that will be a critically important area of research in the twenty-first century.
Humans have always been fascinated by the workings of the mind and now, more than ever, neuroscience has become a popular area of inquiry. While neuroscience advertises itself as an interdisciplinary field, drawing on biology, physics, engineering, and psychology, to date it has engaged less often with the humanities. In this transdisciplinary work, Jordynn Jack aims to show how the humanities—and in particular, rhetoric—have much to add to the neurosciences, offering rich insights into the ways in which the brain is enmeshed in the body, in culture, and in discourse.
Jack first looks at the problem of “neurohype”—exaggerated or oversimplified claims that essentialize brains and make them “uncritically real”—questioning some of the fundamental assumptions about the brain that experimental protocols and psychological concepts rely on. Then, through examples of research on sex and gender, political orientation, and affect, Jack demonstrates how a rhetorical-material approach can help to generate alternative approaches to studying the brain that might mitigate the problem of neurohype. By raveling out the roots of neurohype and raveling back its use through time, Raveling the Brain shows how rhetoric and neuroscience might be raveled together, or intertwined, to create a stronger transdisciplinary approach that might enrich our understanding of those issues of interest to neuroscientists and humanists alike.
Human beings evolved in the company of others and flourish in proportion to their positive social ties. To understand the human brain, we must situate its biology in the wider context of society. To understand society, we must also consider how the brains and minds of individuals shape interactions with other human beings. Social Neuroscience offers a comprehensive new framework for studying the brain, human development, and human behavior.
In this book, leading researchers in the fields of neurobiology, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology elucidate the connections between brain biology and the brain’s functioning in the social world, providing a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary explanation of how humans think and act, as well as the ways we define and treat pathological behavior. Synthesizing the insights and perspectives of these experts, Social Neuroscience examines how neural processes make the brain sensitive to social experience, how cognition shapes social behavior, and how social networks create a range of responses among different individuals to the same environmental stimuli.
The mutually reinforcing connections between brain, mind, and society have profound implications for human health, from the emotionally damaging effects of severe social deprivation to the neurological impact of parental abuse and neighborhood violence. The authors explore these connections, with special focus on mental illnesses, including schizophrenia—a disorder characterized by marked social deficits in which a neurological basis is now well established.