Linden sets the record straight about the construction of the human brain; rather than the “beautifully-engineered optimized device, the absolute pinnacle of design” portrayed in many dumbed-down text books, pop-science tomes, and education televisions programs, Linden’s organ is a complicated assembly of cobbled-together functionality that created the mind as a by-product of ad-hoc solutions to questions of survival. His guided tour of the glorious amalgam of “crummy parts” includes pit-stops in the histories and fundamentals of neurology, neural-psychology, physiology, molecular and cellular biology, and genetics.
Through a series of provocative conversations, Frederick Luis Aldama and Herbert Lindenberger, who have written widely on literature, film, music, and art, locate a place for the discomforting and the often painfully unpleasant within aesthetics. The conversational format allows them to travel informally across many centuries and many art forms. They have much to tell one another about the arts since the advent of modernism soon after 1900—the nontonal music, for example, of the Second Vienna School, the chance-directed music and dance of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, the in-your-faceness of such diverse visual artists as Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, and Damien Hirst. They demonstrate as well a long tradition of discomforting art stretching back many centuries, for example, in the Last Judgments of innumerable Renaissance painters, in Goya’s so-called “black” paintings, in Wagner’s Tristan chord, and in the subtexts of Shakespearean works such as King Lear and Othello. This book is addressed at once to scholars of literature, art history, musicology, and cinema. Although its conversational format eschews the standard conventions of scholarly argument, it provides original insights both into particular art forms and into individual works within these forms. Among other matters, it demonstrates how recent work in neuroscience may provide insights in the ways that consumers process difficult and discomforting works of art. The book also contributes to current aesthetic theory by charting the dialogue that goes on—especially in aesthetically challenging works—between creator, artifact, and consumer.
Robert B. Campenot Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress QP341.C36 2016 | Dewey Decimal 612.813
Like all cellular organisms humans run on electricity. Cells work like batteries: slight imbalances of electric charge across cell membranes, caused by ions moving in and out of cells, result in sensation, movement, awareness, and thinking—the things we associate with being alive. Robert Campenot offers an accessible overview of animal electricity.
In The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin proposed that an ant’s brain, no larger than a pin’s head, must be sophisticated to accomplish all that it does. Yet today many people still find it surprising that insects and other arthropods show behaviors that are much more complex than innate reflexes. They are products of versatile brains which, in a sense, think.
Fascinating in their own right, arthropods provide fundamental insights into how brains process and organize sensory information to produce learning, strategizing, cooperation, and sociality. Nicholas Strausfeld elucidates the evolution of this knowledge, beginning with nineteenth-century debates about how similar arthropod brains were to vertebrate brains. This exchange, he shows, had a profound and far-reaching impact on attitudes toward evolution and animal origins. Many renowned scientists, including Sigmund Freud, cut their professional teeth studying arthropod nervous systems. The greatest neuroanatomist of them all, Santiago Ramón y Cajal—founder of the neuron doctrine—was awed by similarities between insect and mammalian brains.
Writing in a style that will appeal to a broad readership, Strausfeld weaves anatomical observations with evidence from molecular biology, neuroethology, cladistics, and the fossil record to explore the neurobiology of the largest phylum on earth—and one that is crucial to the well-being of our planet. Highly informative and richly illustrated, Arthropod Brains offers an original synthesis drawing on many fields, and a comprehensive reference that will serve biologists for years to come.
Once upon a time, neuroscience was born. A dazzling array of neurotechnologies emerged that, according to popular belief, have finally begun to unlock the secrets of the brain. But as the brain sciences now extend into all corners of cultural, social, political, and economic life, a yet newer world has taken shape: “neuroculture,” which goes further than ever before to tackle the profound ethical implications we face in consequence.
The Assemblage Brain unveils a major new concept of sense making, one that challenges conventional scientific and philosophical understandings of the brain. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari, Tony D. Sampson calls for a radical critical theory that operates in the interferences between philosophy, science, art, and politics. From this novel perspective the book is structured around two questions: “What can be done to a brain?” and “What can a brain do?” Sampson examines the rise of neuroeconomics in informing significant developments in computer work, marketing, and the neuropharmaceutical control of inattentiveness in the classroom. Moving beyond the neurocapitalist framework, he then reestablishes a place for proto-subjectivity in which biological and cultural distinctions are reintegrated in an understanding of the brain as an assemblage.
The Assemblage Brain unravels the conventional image of thought that underpins many scientific and philosophical accounts of how sense is produced, providing a new view of our current time in which capitalism and the neurosciences endeavor to colonize the brain.
Beyond the Zonules of Zinn
David Bainbridge Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress QM451.B35 2008 | Dewey Decimal 611.8
In his latest book, Bainbridge combines an otherworldly journey through the central nervous system with an accessible and entertaining account of how the brain's anatomy has often misled anatomists about its function. Bainbridge uses the structure of the brain to set his book apart from the many volumes that focus on brain function.
Eugene C. Goldfield Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress R856.G66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 610.28
Eugene Goldfield lays out principles of engineering found in the natural world, with a focus on how components of coordinated structures organize themselves into autonomous functional systems. This self-organizing capacity is one of many qualities which can be harnessed to design technologies that can interact seamlessly with human bodies.
Western contemporary dance and body-mind education have engaged in a pas de deux for more than four decades. The rich interchange of somatics and dance has altered both fields, but scholarship that substantiates these ideas through the findings of twentieth-century scientific advances has been missing. This book fills that gap and brings to light contemporary discoveries of neuroscience and somatic education as they relate to dance. Drawing from the burgeoning field of “embodiment”—itself an idea at the intersection of the sciences, humanities, arts, and technologies—Body and Mind in Motion highlights the relevance of somatic education within dance education, dance science, and body-mind studies.
In Brain Arousal and Information Theory, Donald Pfaff presents a daring perspective on the long-standing puzzle of what arousal is. Pfaff argues that, beneath our mental functions and emotional dispositions, a primitive neuronal system governs arousal. Employing the simple but powerful framework of information theory, Pfaff revolutionizes our understanding of arousal systems in the brain.
Brain Culture investigates the American obsession with the health of the brain. The brain has become more than a bodily organ, acquiring a near-mystical status. The message that this organ is the key to everything is everywhere--in self-help books that tell us to work on our brains to achieve happiness and enlightenment, in drug advertisements that promise a few tweaks to our brain chemistry will cure us of our discontents, and in politicians' speeches that tell us that our brains are national resources essential to our economic prosperity.
Davi Johnson Thornton looks at these familiar messages, tracing the ways that brain science and colorful brain images produced by novel scientific technologies are taken up and distributed in popular media. She tracks the impact of the message that, "you are your brain" across multiple contemporary contexts, analyzing its influence on child development, family life, education, and public policy. Brain Culture shows that our fixation on the brain is not simply a reaction to scientific progress, but a cultural phenomenon deeply tied to social and political values of individualism and limitless achievement.
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.
In this erudite and witty book, neuroscientist Alain Berthoz describes how human beings on earth perceive and control bodily movement. In his view, the brain acts like a simulator that is constantly inventing models to project onto the changing world, models that are corrected by steady, minute feedback from the world. This interpretation allows Berthoz to focus on psychological phenomena largely ignored in standard texts: proprioception and kinaesthesis, the mechanisms that maintain balance and coordinate actions, and basic perceptual and memory processes involved in navigation.
New advances are being made in brain science today that will directly affect each of our lives, from the courtroom to the classroom to the living room. Cerebrum has long been the leading journal in distilling these developments in neuroscience for the general reader, and its articles by leading scientists and scholars are cited in such prominent publications as the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Washington Post. Collected here are over a dozen articles and book reviews from the journal’s online edition about the latest developments in brain science.
The featured articles offer thought-provoking analyses of the human brain and its untapped possibilities, touching on topics as diverse as the neurological basis for a belief in the supernatural, the use of drugs to alter traumatic memories, and the biological nature of ethical behavior. Top scientists and scholars—including neurologist Dr. Kathleen Foley, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Henry T. Greely, bioethicist and Stanford University professor of law; and Dr. Judith L. Rapoport, chief of the child psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health— clearly and concisely explain these and many other exciting developments on the horizon. An engaging and wholly readable compendium, Cerebrum 2007 is essential for all those interested in the cutting edge of brain research and what it holds for the future of humanity.
New advances are being made in brain science today that will directly affect our lives, from the courtroom to the classroom to the living room. Cerebrum has long been the leading journal in distilling these developments in neuroscience for the general reader, and its articles by leading scientists and scholars are cited in such prominent publications as the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Washington Post. Now collected here is the second anthology of articles from Cerebrum’s Web edition about the latest developments in brain science.
The featured articles offer thought-provoking analyses of the human brain and its untapped possibilities, touching on topics as diverse as how discoveries in brain science can help us design better the best nursing facilities for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the risks and rewards of new drugs based on living cells, why remembering our past is essential to planning the future, and when we can and should use drugs to control our emotional lives. Top scientists and scholars—including acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer, psychiatrist Paul M. McHugh, neurologist Michael Selzer, and neurobiologist Vivan Teichberg—clearly and concisely explain these and many other exciting developments on the horizon.
An engaging and wholly readable compendium, Cerebrum 2008 is essential for all those interested in the cutting edge of brain research and what it holds for the future of humanity.
“A real intellectual treat...research findings seen not just in their raw state of discovery but in the far-reaching long term implications they have for health, society, and the future of creativity and innovation.”
—Floyd E. Bloom, MD, former editor of Science
New advances in brain science will directly affect our lives, from the courtroom to the classroom to the living room. Cerebrum has long been the leading magazine for distilling these developments into concise, intelligent prose accessible to a general reader; as a result, its articles by scientists and scholars are often cited in prominent publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe,andthe Washington Post. Assembled here is a new array of articles from Cerebrum’sWeb edition that collects the most cutting-edge developments in brain science in one essential volume.
The featured articles offer thought-provoking analyses and expert perspectives on such topics as the causes and effects of identity disorder, the dangers of unidentified traumatic brain injury, and explanations for why the mind is sometimes foggy after heart surgery. Other timely articles explore the brain and politics, conflicts of interest in science, the use of the technology to map brain connections, and the pros and cons of screening for childhood disorders. Top scientists and scholars—including neuroscientist Guy McKhann, computational neuroscientist Sebastian Seung, developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan, and neurologist Stephen L. Hauser—clearly and concisely explain these and many other exciting and pertinent developments. In addition, the foreword by Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, offers a fascinating way of conceptualizing psychological disorders as disorders of the brain.
An absorbing and readable compendium, Cerebrum 2009 provides vital insight into the cognitive human condition and shows how advances in medicine and neuroscience can help us lead longer, healthier lives.
Cerebrum 2010 offers a feast for readers keen to know what the world’s leading thinkers see as the newest ideas and implications arising from discoveries about the brain. Drawn from Cerebrum’s highly regarded Web edition, this fourth annual collection brings together the foremost experts in brain science. Jay Giedd, Michael Posner, Mariale Hardiman, David Kupfer and Paul McHugh present their research—and their take—on such cutting-edge topics as the development of the teen brain, how arts education affects intelligence, the limitations of brain imaging, and how to bring more certainty and flexibility to diagnosis in the next edition of the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ofMental Disorders (DSM-V).
Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and a professor of neurological surgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, provides an insightful perspective on the impact of neuroscience on his career, the well-being of patients, and the understanding of how the mind works. Cerebrum 2010 presents candid, intriguing debates that capture the harmony as well as the discord in the complex and evolving relationship between neuroscience and society.
In this fifth annual edition, drawn from Cerebrum’s highly regarded Web edition, some of the foremost experts in brain science present their research—and their take—on issues that capture the harmony as well as the discord in the complex and evolving relationship between neuroscience and society. Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., the Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at the Rockefeller University, provides an insightful perspective on the impact of neuroscience on his career, and also the issues that especially resonated with him in the anthology’s articles.
Everyday suffering—those conditions or feelings brought on by trying circumstances that arise in everyone’s lives—is something that humans have grappled with for millennia. But the last decades have seen a drastic change in the way we approach it. In the past, a person going through a time of difficulty might keep a journal or see a therapist, but now the psychological has been replaced by the biological: instead of treating the heart, soul, and mind, we take a pill to treat the brain.
Chemically Imbalanced is a field report on how ordinary people dealing with common problems explain their suffering, how they’re increasingly turning to the thin and mechanistic language of the “body/brain,” and what these encounters might tell us. Drawing on interviews with people dealing with struggles such as underperformance in school or work, grief after the end of a relationship, or disappointment with how their life is unfolding, Joseph E. Davis reveals the profound revolution in consciousness that is underway. We now see suffering as an imbalance in the brain that needs to be fixed, usually through chemical means. This has rippled into our social and cultural conversations, and it has affected how we, as a society, imagine ourselves and envision what constitutes a good life. Davis warns that what we envision as a neurological revolution, in which suffering is a mechanistic problem, has troubling and entrapping consequences. And he makes the case that by turning away from an interpretive, meaning-making view of ourselves, we thwart our chances to enrich our souls and learn important truths about ourselves and the social conditions under which we live.
Michelangelo was raised in a rustic village by a family of modest means. Shakespeare's father was a middle-class businessman. Abraham Lincoln came from a family of itinerant farmers. Yet all these men broke free from their limited circumstances and achieved brilliant careers as creative artists and leaders. How such extraordinary creativity develops in the human brain is the subject of renowned psychiatrist Nancy Andreasen's The Creating Brain.
Andreasen explains here how the brain produces creative breakthroughs in art, literature, and science, revealing that creativity is not the same thing as intelligence. She scrutinizes the complex factors involved in the development of creativity, including the role of patrons and mentors, "non-standard" educations, and the possession of an "omnivorous" vision. A fascinating interview with acclaimed playwright Neil Simon sheds further light on the creative process.The relationship between genius and insanity also plays an important role in Andreasen's examination. Drawing on her studies of writers in the Iowa Writers' Workshop and other scientific evidence, Andreasen asserts that while creativity may sometimes be linked to mental disorders and may be partially due to familial/genetic factors, neither is inevitable nor needed for creativity to flourish.
Scientist's increasing understanding of the brain's plasticity suggests even more possibilities for nurturing the creative drive, and Andreasen looks ahead to exciting implications for child-rearing and education. The Creating Brain presents an inspiring vision for a future where everyone—not just artists or writers—can fulfill their creative capacity.
Robert R. Provine Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress BF199.P765 2012 | Dewey Decimal 152.32
Provine boldly goes where other scientists seldom tread—in search of hiccups, coughs, yawns, sneezes, and other lowly, undignified, human behaviors. Our earthiest instinctive acts bear the imprint of our evolutionary origins and can be valuable tools for understanding how the human brain works and what makes us different from other species.
The Dalai Lama at MIT
Anne Harrington Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BF51.D35 2006 | Dewey Decimal 294.33615
Their meeting captured headlines; the waiting list for tickets was nearly 2000 names long. If you were unable to attend, this book will take you there. Including both the papers given at the conference, and the animated discussion and debate that followed, The Dalai Lama at MIT reveals scientists and monks reaching across a cultural divide, to share insights, studies, and enduring questions.
Is there any substance to monks’ claims that meditation can provide astonishing memories for words and images? Is there any neuroscientific evidence that meditation will help you pay attention, think better, control and even eliminate negative emotions? Are Buddhists right to make compassion a fundamental human emotion, and Western scientists wrong to have neglected it?
The Dalai Lama at MIT shows scientists finding startling support for some Buddhist claims, Buddhists eager to participate in neuroscientific experiments, as well as misunderstandings and laughter. Those in white coats and those in orange robes agree that joining forces could bring new light to the study of human minds.
A child crashes to the ground from the monkey bars head-first. A high school student prepares for months to take the SAT. A grandmother slowly slips away from her family through the deadly progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Whether we realize it or not, the importance of brain health to our daily lives goes far beyond just being able to walk and talk. The Dana Guide to Brain Health offers the first comprehensive home medical reference book on the brain, providing an unparalleled, authoritative guide to improving the fitness of our brains and, ultimately, enriching our lives.
With contributions from over one hundred of the most prominent scientists and clinicians in the United States, The Dana Guide to Brain Health is an extensive and wholly accessible manual on the workings of the human brain. This richly illustrated volume contains a wealth of facts and advice, on simple yet effective ways to take care of our brains; the intimate connection between brain health and body health; brain development from the prenatal period through adulthood; and how we learn, remember, and imagine.
The brain is far too important to be excluded any longer from our daily health concerns. The Dana Guide to Brain Health remedies this oversight with a clearly written, definitive map to our brains that reveals how we can take care of them in order to sustain a long and rich life.
There are disorders that defy treatment with prescribed pharmaceuticals: a man’s hands shake so hard that he cannot hold anything; a woman is mired in severe inescapable depression. For these patients and others, an alternative is emerging: deep brain stimulation. In this fascinating and timely investigation, well-known science writer Jamie Talan explains a cutting-edge medical development that is surprising and impressing researchers around the world.
More than 40,000 people worldwide have undergone deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes in the brain that are connected to a device similar to a pacemaker. With compelling profiles of patients and an introduction to doctors and scientists who are pioneering the research, Talan describes the ways in which deep brain stimulation has produced promising results in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dystonia—as well as the ethical issues that have arisen in the course of this research.
Cataglyphis ants can set out across vast expanses of desert terrain in search of prey, and then find the shortest way home. Rüdiger Wehner has devised elegant experiments to unmask how they do it. Through a lively and lucid narrative, he offers a firsthand look at the extraordinary navigational skills of these charismatic creatures.
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.
The brain represents the final frontier in medical sciences. Clinical neurosciences include the subspecialties of neurology, neurosurgery, neuro-imaging, cerebrovascular interventional specialties, neurocritical care, and the allied specialties in pharmacy and nursing. The first lens through which we see our patients is the clinical perspective; however, the complexity of neurosciences and the rapidity of the advances in these subspecialties require that clinicians not lose sight of the personhood of the patients, the professionalism required in the care of these complex patients, or the regulatory environment in which we practice. Science and technology are advancing more rapidly than regulations or the law can interpret and integrate them into a supportive or regulatory framework. Thus, morality, ethics, and the law comprise the final lens through which we approach complex patient management issues, frame our communications with patients and families, and evaluate the risks and potential benefits of new technology. Ethics and Law for Neurosciences Clinicians is written for all clinicians in the neurosciences specialties to examine and re-examine the ethical and legal implications of advances in clinical neurosciences.
Barbara Stafford is a pioneering art historian whose research has long helped to bridge the divide between the humanities and cognitive sciences. In A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field, she marshals a distinguished group of thinkers to forge a ground-breaking dialogue between the emerging brain sciences, the liberal arts, and social sciences.
Stafford’s book examines meaning and mental function from this dual experimental perspective. The wide-ranging essays included here—from Frank Echenhofer’s foray into shamanist hallucinogenic visions to David Bashwiner’s analysis of emotion and danceability—develop a common language for implementing programmatic and institutional change. Demonstrating how formerly divided fields are converging around shared issues, A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field maps a high-level, crossdisciplinary adventure from one of our leading figures in visual studies.
Finding Einstein's Brain
Lepore, Frederick E Rutgers University Press, 2018 Library of Congress QC16.E5L378 2018 | Dewey Decimal 612.82
Albert Einstein remains the quintessential icon of modern genius. Like Newton and many others, his seminal work in physics includes the General Theory of Relativity, the Absolute Nature of Light, and perhaps the most famous equation of all time: E=mc2.
Following his death in 1955, Einstein’s brain was removed and preserved, but has never been fully or systematically studied. In fact, the sections are not even all in one place, and some are mysteriously unaccounted for! In this compelling tale, Frederick E. Lepore delves into the strange, elusive afterlife of Einstein’s brain, the controversy surrounding its use, and what its study represents for brain and/or intelligence studies.
Carefully reacting to the skepticism of 21st century neuroscience, Lepore more broadly examines the philosophical, medical, and scientific implications of brain-examination. Is the brain simply a computer? If so, how close are we to artificially creating a human brain? Could scientists create a second Einstein? This “biography of a brain” attempts to answer these questions, exploring what made Einstein’s brain anatomy exceptional, and how “found” photographs--discovered more than a half a century after his death--may begin to uncover the nature of genius.
During his long and continuing scholarly career, Patrick Suppes has contributed significantly both to the sciences and to scientific philosophies. In this volume, an international group of Suppes’s colleagues, collaborators, and students seeks to build upon Suppes’s insights. Each of their essays is accompanied by a response from Suppes himself, which together create a uniquely engaging dialogue. Suppes and his peers explore a diverse array of topics including the relationship between science and philosophy; the philosophy of physics; problems in the foundations of mathematics; theory of measurement, decision theory, and probability; the foundations of economics and political theory; psychology, language, and the philosophy of language; Suppes’s most recent research in neurobiology; and the alignment (or misalignment) of method and policy.
A wise and insightful exploration of human navigation, what it means to be lost, and how we find our way.
How is it that we can walk unfamiliar streets while maintaining a sense of direction? Come up with shortcuts on the fly, in places we’ve never traveled? The answer is the complex mental map in our brains. This feature of our cognition is easily taken for granted, but it’s also critical to our species’ evolutionary success. In From Here to There Michael Bond tells stories of the lost and found—Polynesian sailors, orienteering champions, early aviators—and surveys the science of human navigation.
Navigation skills are deeply embedded in our biology. The ability to find our way over large distances in prehistoric times gave Homo sapiens an advantage, allowing us to explore the farthest regions of the planet. Wayfinding also shaped vital cognitive functions outside the realm of navigation, including abstract thinking, imagination, and memory. Bond brings a reporter’s curiosity and nose for narrative to the latest research from psychologists, neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, and anthropologists. He also turns to the people who design and expertly maneuver the world we navigate: search-and-rescue volunteers, cartographers, ordnance mappers, urban planners, and more. The result is a global expedition that furthers our understanding of human orienting in the natural and built environments.
A beguiling mix of storytelling and science, From Here to There covers the full spectrum of human navigation and spatial understanding. In an age of GPS and Google Maps, Bond urges us to exercise our evolved navigation skills and reap the surprising cognitive rewards.
In a remarkable synthesis of the research of the last two decades, a leading developmental neuroscientist provides psychologists with a sophisticated introduction to the brain—the system that underpins the functions that they study.
In clear terms, with ample illustrations, Joan Stiles explains the complexities of genetic variation and transcription, and the variable paths of neural development, from embryology through early childhood. She describes early developmental processes from gene expression to physiology to behavior. Sections on clinical correlations show the consequences for later physiological, neurological, or psychological disturbances in neural development.
As Stiles shows, brain development is far more complex and dynamic than is often assumed in debates about nature vs. nurture, nativism vs. cultural learning. Inherited and experienced factors interact constantly in an ever-changing organism. The key question is, what developmental processes give rise to particular structures or mechanisms?
A landmark of synthesis and interdisciplinary illumination, The Fundamentals of Brain Development will enrich discussion of developmental processes and more rigorously define the terms that are central to psychological debates.
Ari Berkowitz Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress QP363.3.B47 2016 | Dewey Decimal 612.81046
From simple reflexes to complex movements, all animal behavior is governed by a nervous system. But what kind of government is it—a dictatorship or a democracy? Ari Berkowitz explains the variety of structures and strategies that control behavior, while providing an overview of thought-provoking debates and cutting-edge research.
This original study considers the effects of language and meaning on the brain. Jens Erik Fenstad—an expert in the fields of recursion theory, nonstandard analysis, and natural language semantics—combines current formal semantics with a geometric structure in order to trace how common nouns, properties, natural kinds, and attractors link with brain dynamics.
Advances in neuroscience research are rapidly bringing new and complex issues to the forefront of medical and social ethics, and scholars from diverse fields have been coming together to debate the issues at stake. Acclaimed science writer Sandra Ackerman witnessed one such gathering, and here she skillfully synthesizes those proceedings into a concise presentation of the challenges that neuroscience and neuroethics currently face.
Top scholars and scientists in neuroscience and ethics convened at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in May 2005. They included Michael Gazzaniga, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College; Marcus Raichle of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Harvard University provost Steven Hyman; Judy Illes, cofounder of the Stanford Brain Research Center; University of Virginia bioethicist Jonathan Moreno; Stacey Tovino of the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center; and Stanford law professor Hank Greely.
Ackerman weaves the invigorating arguments and discussions among these and other prominent scholars into a seamless and dynamic narrative. She reveals the wide array of issues that have emerged from recent research, including brain imaging, free will and personal responsibility, disease diagnosis and prediction, brain enhancement, and the potential social, political, and legal ramifications of new discoveries. Translating these complex arguments into an engrossing account of neuroethics, she offers a rare view of science—and ethics—in the making.
Throughout his career, Donald Pfaff has demonstrated that by choosing problems and methods with care, biologists can study the molecular mechanisms of brains more complex than those of fruit flies, snails, and roundworms. He offers a close-up, conversational perspective on a 50-year quest to understand how behavior is regulated in vertebrates.
Two summers ago, scientists removed a tiny piece of flesh from Philip Ball’s arm and turned it into a rudimentary “mini-brain.” The skin cells, removed from his body, did not die but were instead transformed into nerve cells that independently arranged themselves into a dense network and communicated with each other, exchanging the raw signals of thought. This was life—but whose?
In his most mind-bending book yet, Ball makes that disconcerting question the focus of a tour through what scientists can now do in cell biology and tissue culture. He shows how these technologies could lead to tailor-made replacement organs for when ours fail, to new medical advances for repairing damage and assisting conception, and to new ways of “growing a human.” For example, it might prove possible to turn skin cells not into neurons but into eggs and sperm, or even to turn oneself into the constituent cells of embryos. Such methods would also create new options for gene editing, with all the attendant moral dilemmas. Ball argues that such advances can therefore never be about “just the science,” because they come already surrounded by a host of social narratives, preconceptions, and prejudices. But beyond even that, these developments raise questions about identity and self, birth and death, and force us to ask how mutable the human body really is—and what forms it might take in years to come.
This book is an entry into the fierce current debate among psycholinguists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary theorists about the nature and origins of human language. A prominent neuroscientist here takes up the Darwinian case, using data seldom considered by psycholinguists and neurolinguists to argue that human language--though more sophisticated than all other forms of animal communication--is not a qualitatively different ability from all forms of animal communication, does not require a quantum evolutionary leap to explain it, and is not unified in a single "language instinct."
Using clinical evidence from speech-impaired patients, functional neuroimaging, and evolutionary biology to make his case, Philip Lieberman contends that human language is not a single separate module but a functional neurological system made up of many separate abilities. Language remains as it began, Lieberman argues: a device for coping with the world. But in a blow to human narcissism, he makes the case that this most remarkable human ability is a by-product of our remote reptilian ancestors' abilities to dodge hazards, seize opportunities, and live to see another day.
Knowledge and Representation
Albert Newen, Andreas Bartels, and Eva-Maria Jung CSLI, 2011 Library of Congress BF311.K6387 2011 | Dewey Decimal 153
This compilation of cutting-edge philosophical and scientific research comprises a survey of recent neuroscientific research on representational systems in animals and humans. Representational systems provide their owners with useful information about their environment and are shaped by the special informational needs of the organism with respect to its environment. In this volume, the authors address the long-standing dispute about the usefulness of the notion of representation in the study of behavior systems and offer a fresh perspective on representational systems that combines philosophical insights and experimental experience.
The Lives of the Brain
John S. Allen Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress QP376.A4225 2009 | Dewey Decimal 612.82
Though we have other distinguishing characteristics (walking on two legs, for instance, and relative hairlessness), the brain and the behavior it produces are what truly set us apart from the other apes and primates. And how this three-pound organ composed of water, fat, and protein turned a mammal species into the dominant animal on earth today is the story John S. Allen seeks to tell.
Psychoanalysis and neurological medicine have promoted contrasting and seemingly irreconcilable notions of the modern self. Since Freud, psychoanalysts have relied on the spoken word in a therapeutic practice that has revolutionized our understanding of the mind. Neurologists and neurosurgeons, meanwhile, have used material apparatus—the scalpel, the electrode—to probe the workings of the nervous system, and in so doing have radically reshaped our understanding of the brain. Both operate in vastly different institutional and cultural contexts.
Given these differences, it is remarkable that both fields found resources for their development in the same tradition of late nineteenth-century German medicine: neuropsychiatry. In Localization and Its Discontents, Katja Guenther investigates the significance of this common history, drawing on extensive archival research in seven countries, institutional analysis, and close examination of the practical conditions of scientific and clinical work. Her remarkable accomplishment not only reframes the history of psychoanalysis and the neuro disciplines, but also offers us new ways of thinking about their future.
"The Lying Brain is a study to take seriously. Its argument is timely, clear, and of particular importance to the enlargement of our understanding of the relationships among science studies, literary studies, and technology studies."
---Ronald Schleifer, University of Oklahoma
Real and imagined machines, including mental microscopes, thought translators, and polygraphs, have long promised to detect deception in human beings. Now, via fMRI and EEG, neuroscientists seem to have found what scientists, lawyers, and law enforcement officials have sought for over a century: foolproof lie detection. But are these new lie detection technologies any different from their predecessors? The Lying Brain is the first book to explore the cultural history of an array of lie detection technologies: their ideological assumptions, the scientific and fictional literatures that create and market them, and the literacies required for their interpretation.
By examining a rich archive of materials about lie detection---from science to science fiction---The Lying Brain demonstrates the interconnections of science, literature, and popular culture in the development and dissemination of deception detection in the American cultural imagination. As Melissa Littlefield demonstrates, neuroscience is not building a more accurate lie detector; it is simply recycling centuries-old ideologies about deception and its detection.
Knowing where things are seems effortless. Yet our brains devote tremendous power to figuring out simple details about spatial relationships. Jennifer Groh traces this mental detective work to show how the brain creates our sense of location, and makes the case that the brain’s systems for thinking about space may be the systems of thought itself.
Picture your twenty-first birthday. Did you have a party? If so, do you remember who was there? Now step back: how clear are those memories? Should we trust them to be accurate, or is there a chance that you’re remembering incorrectly? And where have the many details you can no longer recall gone? Are they hidden somewhere in your brain, or are they gone forever?
Such questions have fascinated scientists for hundreds of years, and, as Alison Winter shows in Memory: Fragments of a Modern History, the answers have changed dramatically in just the past century. Tracing the cultural and scientific history of our understanding of memory, Winter explores early metaphors that likened memory to a filing cabinet; later, she shows, that cabinet was replaced by the image of a reel of film, ever available for playback. That model, too, was eventually superseded, replaced by the current understanding of memory as the result of an extremely complicated, brain-wide web of cells and systems that together assemble our pasts. Winter introduces us to innovative scientists and sensationalistic seekers, and, drawing on evidence ranging from scientific papers to diaries to movies, explores the way that new understandings from the laboratory have seeped out into psychiatrists' offices, courtrooms, and the culture at large. Along the way, she investigates the sensational battles over the validity of repressed memories that raged through the 1980s and shows us how changes in technology—such as the emergence of recording devices and computers—have again and again altered the way we conceptualize, and even try to study, the ways we remember.
Packed with fascinating details and curious episodes from the convoluted history of memory science, Memory is a book you'll remember long after you close its cover.
The Memory Sessions
Suzanne Farrell Smith Bucknell University Press, 2019 Library of Congress BF376.F37 2019 | Dewey Decimal 153.12
Suzanne Farrell Smith’s father was killed by a drunk driver when she was six, and a devastating fire nearly destroyed her house when she was eight. She remembers those two—and only those two—events from her first nearly twelve years of life. While her three older sisters hold on to rich and rewarding memories of their father, Smith recalls nothing of him. Her entire childhood was, seemingly, erased. In The Memory Sessions, Smith attempts to excavate lost childhood memories. She puts herself through multiple therapies and exercises, including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, somatic experiencing, and acupuncture. She digs for clues in her mother’s long-stored boxes. She creates—with objects, photographs, and captions—a physical timeline to compensate for the one that’s missing in her memory. She travels to San Diego, where her family vacationed with her father right before he died. She researches, interviews, and meditates, all while facing down the two traumatic memories that defined her early life. The result is an experimental memoir that upends our understanding of the genre. Rather than recount a childhood, The Memory Sessions attempts to create one from research, archives, imagination, and the memories of others.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
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.
Gordon Fain’s Molecular and Cellular Physiology of Neurons, Second Edition is intended for anyone who seeks to understand nerve cell function: undergraduate and graduate students in neuroscience, students of bioengineering and cognitive science, and practicing neuroscientists who want to deepen their knowledge of recent discoveries.
Law relies on a conception of human agency, the idea that humans are capable of making their own choices and are morally responsible for the consequences. But what if that is not the case? Over the past half century, the story of the law has been one of increased acuity concerning the human condition, especially the workings of the brain. The law already considers select cognitive realities in evaluating questions of agency and responsibility, such as age, sanity, and emotional distress. As new neuroscientific research comprehensively calls into question the very idea of free will, how should the law respond to this revised understanding?
Peter A. Alces considers where and how the law currently fails to appreciate the neuroscientific revelation that humans may in key ways lack normative free will—and therefore moral responsibility. The most accessible setting in which to consider the potential impact of neuroscience is criminal law, as certain aspects of criminal law already reveal the naiveté of most normative reasoning, such as the inconsistent treatment of people with equally disadvantageous cognitive deficits, whether congenital or acquired. But tort and contract law also assume a flawed conception of human agency and responsibility. Alces reveals the internal contradictions of extant legal doctrine and concludes by considering what would be involved in constructing novel legal regimes based on emerging neuroscientific insights.
More than Nature Needs
Derek Bickerton Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress P106.B468 2014 | Dewey Decimal 401.9
How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than any hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, set humans outside normal evolution. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but this remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language origins, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that biology and the cognitive sciences have systematically avoided.
Before language or advanced cognition could be born, humans had to escape the prison of the here and now in which animal thinking and communication were both trapped. Then the brain's self-organization, triggered by words, assembled mechanisms that could link not only words but the concepts those words symbolized--a process that had to be under conscious control. Those mechanisms could be used equally for thinking and for talking, but the skeletal structures they produced were suboptimal for the hearer and had to be elaborated. Starting from humankind's remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis that shows specifically and in a principled way how and why the synthesis came about.
Music as Biology
Dale Purves Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress ML3820.P87 2017 | Dewey Decimal 781.1
Why do human beings find some tone combinations consonant and others dissonant? Why do we make music using only a small number of scales out the billions that are possible? Dale Purves shows that rethinking music theory in biological terms offers a new approach to centuries-long debates about the organization and impact of music.
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 and critical 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.
Neurons and Networks
John E. Dowling Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress QP355.2.D68 2001 | Dewey Decimal 573.8
Neuroscience and the Law
Edited by Brent Garland Dana Press, 2004 Library of Congress KF2910.N45N48 2004 | Dewey Decimal 153
How can discoveries in neuroscience influence America’s criminal justice system? Neuroscience and the Law examines the growing involvement of neuroscience in legal proceedings and considers how scientific advances challenge our existing concepts of justice. Based on an invitational meeting convened by the Dana Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the book opens with the deliberations of the twenty-six scientists and legal scholars who attended the conference and concludes with the commissioned papers of four distinguished scholars in law and brain research.
Michael S. Gazzaniga
Henry T. Greeley
We remember the admonition of our mothers: “Treat others as you want them to treat you.” But what if being nice was something we were inclined by nature to do anyway? Renowned neuroscientist Donald Pfaff upends our entire understanding of ethics and social contracts with an intriguing proposition: the Golden Rule is hardwired into the human brain.
Pfaff, the researcher who first discovered the connections between specific brain circuits and certain behaviors, contends that the basic ethics governing our everyday lives can be traced directly to brain circuitry. Writing with popular science journalist Sandra J. Ackerman, he explains in this clear and concise account how specific brain signals induce us to consider our actions as if they were directed at ourselves—and subsequently lead us to treat others as we wish to be treated. Brain hormones are a part of this complicated process, and The Neuroscience of Fair Play discusses how brain hormones can catalyze behaviors with moral implications in such areas as self-sacrifice, parental love, friendship, and violent aggression.
Drawing on his own research and other recent studies in brain science, Pfaff offers a thought-provoking hypothesis for why certain ethical codes and ideas have remained constant across human societies and cultures throughout the world and over the centuries of history. An unprecedented and provocative investigation, The Neuroscience of Fair Play offers a new perspective on the increasingly important intersection of neuroscience and ethics.
Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion is the second title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series. In this volume, Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown provide an overview of the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and religion that is academically sophisticated, yet accessible to the general reader.
The authors introduce key terms; thoroughly chart the histories of both neuroscience and psychology, with a particular focus on how these disciplines have interfaced religion through the ages; and explore contemporary approaches to both fields, reviewing how current science/religion controversies are playing out today. Throughout, they cover issues like consciousness, morality, concepts of the soul, and theories of mind. Their examination of topics like brain imaging research, evolutionary psychology, and primate studies show how recent advances in these areas can blend harmoniously with religious belief, since they offer much to our understanding of humanity's place in the world. Jeeves and Brown conclude their comprehensive and inclusive survey by providing an interdisciplinary model for shaping the ongoing dialogue.
Sure to be of interest to both academics and curious intellectuals, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion addresses important age-old questions and demonstrates how modern scientific techniques can provide a much more nuanced range of potential answers to those questions.
The Neuroscientific Turn brings together 19 scholars from a variety of fields to reflect on the promises of and challenges facing emergent "neurodisciplines" such as neuroethics, neuroeconomics, and neurohistory. In the aftermath of the Decade of the Brain, neuroscience has become one of the hottest topics of study---not only for scientists but also, increasingly, for scholars from the humanities and social sciences. While the popular press has simultaneously lauded and loathed the coming "neurorevolution," the academy has yet to voice any collective speculations about whether there is any coherence to this neuroscientific turn; what this turn will and should produce; and what implications it has for inter- or transdisciplinary inquiry.
Melissa M. Littlefield and Jenell M. Johnson provide an initial framework for this most recent of "turns" by bringing together 14 original essays by scholars from the humanities, social sciences, and neurosciences. The resulting collection will appeal to neuroscientists curious about their colleagues' interest in their work; scholars and students both in established neurodisciplines and in disciplines such as sociology or English wondering about how to apply neuroscience findings to their home disciplines; and to science, technology, and society scholars and students interested in the roles of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in the construction of knowledge.
This book focuses on recent advances and future trends in the methods and applications of technologies that are used in neuroscience for the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and conditions or for the improvement of quality of life. The editors have assembled contributions from a range of international experts, to bring together key topics in neurotechnology, neuroengineering, and neurorehabilitation. The book explores biomedical signal processing, neuroimaging acquisition and analysis, computational intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, biometrics, machine learning and neurorobotics, human machine interaction, mobile apps and discusses ways in which these neural technologies can be used as diagnostic tools, research methods, treatment modalities, as well as in devices and apps in everyday life.
Extraordinary advances in neurochemistry are both transforming our understanding of human nature and creating an urgent problem. Much is now known about the ways that neurotransmitters influence normal social behavior, mental illness, and deviance. What are these discoveries about the workings of the human brain? How can they best be integrated into our legal system?
These explosive issues are best understood by focusing on a single neurotransmitter like serotonin, which is associated with such diverse behaviors as dominance and leadership, seasonal depression, suicide, alcoholism, impulsive homicide, and arson. This book brings together revised papers from a conference on this theme organized by the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, supplemented with articles by leading scholars who did not attend. Contributors include psychiatrists, neurologists, social scientists, and legal scholars.
The Neurotransmitter Revolution presents a unique survey of the scientific and legal implications of research on the way serotonin combines with other factors to shape human behavior. The findings are quite different from what might have been expected even a decade ago.
The neurochemistry of behavior is not the same thing as genetic determinism. On the contrary, the activity of serotonin varies from one individual to another for many reasons, including the individual’s life experience, social status, personality, and diet. And there are a number of major neurotransmitter systems, each of which interacts with the other. Behavior, culture, and the social environment can influence neurochemistry along with inheritance. Nature and nurture interact—and these interactions can be understood from a vigorously scientific point of view.
The fact that our actions are heavily influenced by neurotransmitters like serotonin is bound to be disquieting. A sophisticated understanding of law and human social behavior will be needed if our society is to respond adequately to these rapid advances in our knowledge. This book is an essential step in that direction, providing the first comprehensive survey of the biochemical, social, and legal considerations arising from research on the behavioral effects of serotonin and related neurotransmitters.
In this gustatory tour of human history, Allen suggests that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into our cultural and biological heritage. Beginning with the diets of our earliest ancestors, he explores eating’s role in our evolving brain before considering our contemporary dinner plates and the preoccupations of foodies.
This bold and brilliant book asks the ultimate question of the life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? In seeking the answer, Merlin Donald traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to artificial intelligence, presenting an enterprising and original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form.
No one likes to be bored. Two leading psychologists explain what causes boredom and how to listen to what it is telling you, so you can live a more engaged life.
We avoid boredom at all costs. It makes us feel restless and agitated. Desperate for something to do, we play games on our phones, retie our shoes, or even count ceiling tiles. And if we escape it this time, eventually it will strike again. But what if we listened to boredom instead of banishing it?
Psychologists James Danckert and John Eastwood contend that boredom isn’t bad for us. It’s just that we do a bad job of heeding its guidance. When we’re bored, our minds are telling us that whatever we are doing isn’t working—we’re failing to satisfy our basic psychological need to be engaged and effective. Too many of us respond poorly. We become prone to accidents, risky activities, loneliness, and ennui, and we waste ever more time on technological distractions. But, Danckert and Eastwood argue, we can let boredom have the opposite effect, motivating the change we need. The latest research suggests that an adaptive approach to boredom will help us avoid its troubling effects and, through its reminder to become aware and involved, might lead us to live fuller lives.
Out of My Skull combines scientific findings with everyday observations to explain an experience we’d like to ignore, but from which we have a lot to learn. Boredom evolved to help us. It’s time we gave it a chance.
In an analytical yet increasingly intimate conversation, A Passion for Specificity:Confronting Inner Experience in Literature and Science investigates the differences between experience as conveyed in literature and experience as apprehended through scientific method. Can experiences be shared? How much do language and metaphor shape experiential reports? Where is the dividing line between a humanistic and a scientific approach to experience? In a series of exchanges, Marco Caracciolo and Russell Hurlburt demonstrate that those are necessarily personal issues, and they don’t flinch—they relentlessly examine whether Caracciolo’s presuppositions distort his understanding of reading experiences and whether Hurlburt’s attachment to the method he invented causes him to take an overly narrow view of experience. Delving ever more personally, they aim Hurlburt’s experience sampling methods—beeping people to discover what was in their stream of inner experience at the moment immediately before the beep—at Caracciolo’s own experiences, an exercise that puts Caracciolo’s presuppositions to the test and leads him to discover things about experience (his own and literature’s) that he had thought impossible.
A Passion for Specificity, with its personal revelations, unexpected twists, and confrontational style, reads like an epistolary novel, but it is a serious exploration of ideas at the heart of literature and science. It is a thoughtful attempt at advancing the emerging “cognitive humanities,” clarifying a number of core issues in the cross-pollination of literature, psychology, philosophy, and consciousness science.
The Primate Mind
Frans B. M. de Waal Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QL737.P9P67259 2011 | Dewey Decimal 599.81513
Prominent neuroscientists, psychologists, ethologists, and primatologists from around the world take a bottom-up approach to primate social behavior by investigating how the primate mind connects with other minds and exploring the shared neurological basis for imitation, joint action, and empathy as well as their evolutionary foundations.
Is it possible to integrate scientific psychology with a Christian understanding of human nature? Are science and religion locked in an inevitable conflict, or is there an underlying harmony between these two sources of knowledge about humans? This book goes to the heart of the past and present dialogue between Christianity and psychology, comparing three models that have been used to describe the relationship between them.
Because Christianity and psychology deal with different levels of truth and speak vastly different languages, efforts to unify them often create more problems than they solve. What is needed is a better way to think about the relationship—an approach that does justice to the emerging insights from psychological science and biblical scholarship and that can enrich our understanding of both. In this volume, two accomplished psychologists show how this complementary dialogue can unfold, giving us a broader, deeper understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and our place in the cosmos.
The Retina (1987) quickly became the most widely recognized introduction to the structure and function of retinal cells. In this easy-to-read Revised Edition, John Dowling draws on twenty-five years of new research to produce an interdisciplinary synthesis focused on how retinal function contributes to our understanding of brain mechanisms.
One March morning, writer Floyd Skloot was inexplicably struck by an attack of unrelenting vertigo that ended 138 days later as suddenly as it had begun. With body and world askew, everything familiar had transformed. Nothing was ever still. Revertigo is Skloot’s account of that unceasingly vertiginous period, told in an inspired and appropriately off-kilter form.
This intimate memoir—tenuous, shifting, sometimes humorous—demonstrates Skloot’s considerable literary skill honed as an award-winning essayist, memoirist, novelist, and poet. His recollections of a strange, spinning world prompt further musings on the forces of uncertainty, change, and displacement that have shaped him from childhood to late middle age, repeatedly knocking him awry, realigning his hopes and plans, even his perceptions. From the volatile forces of his mercurial, shape-shifting early years to his obsession with reading, acting, and writing, from the attack of vertigo to a trio of postvertigo (but nevertheless dizzying) journeys to Spain and England, and even to a place known only in his mother’s unhinged fantasies, Skloot makes sense of a life’s phantasmagoric unpredictability.
Finalist, Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction, Oregon Book Awards
Originally written in Italian and now available in English (PDF), this graphic novel celebrates the life and work of neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her "discovery of nerve growth factor" in 1986.
Romania's Abandoned Children
Charles A. Nelson Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HV887.R6N45 2014 | Dewey Decimal 362.7309498
Romania's Abandoned Children reveals the heartbreaking toll paid by children deprived of responsive care, stimulation, and human interaction. Compared with children in foster care, the institutionalized children in this rigorous twelve‐year study showed severe impairment in IQ and brain development, along with social and emotional disorders.
Brain-machine interfacing or brain-computer interfacing (BMI/BCI) is an emerging and challenging technology used in engineering and neuroscience. The ultimate goal is to provide a pathway from the brain to the external world via mapping, assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions.
For half a century, Sleep and Wakefulness has been a valuable reference work. It discusses phases of the sleep cycle, experimental work on sleep and wakefulness, sleep disorders and their treatment, and such sleep-like states as hypnosis and hibernation.
A pioneering exploration of olfaction that upsets settled notions of how the brain translates sensory information.
Decades of cognition research have shown that external stimuli “spark” neural patterns in particular regions of the brain. This has fostered a view of the brain as a space that we can map: here the brain responds to faces, there it perceives a sensation in your left hand. But it turns out that the sense of smell—only recently attracting broader attention in neuroscience—doesn’t work this way. A. S. Barwich asks a deceptively simple question: What does the nose tell the brain, and how does the brain understand it?
Barwich interviews experts in neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, and perfumery in an effort to understand the biological mechanics and myriad meanings of odors. She argues that it is time to stop recycling ideas based on the paradigm of vision for the olfactory system. Scents are often fickle and boundless in comparison with visual images, and they do not line up with well-defined neural regions. Although olfaction remains a puzzle, Barwich proposes that what we know suggests the brain acts not only like a map but also as a measuring device, one that senses and processes simple and complex odors.
Accounting for the sense of smell upsets theories of perception philosophers have developed. In their place, Smellosophy articulates a new model for understanding how the brain represents sensory information.
Human beings evolved in the company of others. Mutually reinforcing connections between brains, minds, and societies have profound implications for physical and emotional health. Social Neuroscience offers a comprehensive new framework for studying human brain development and human behavior in their social context.
Temperament is the single most pervasive aspect of us and our fellow human beings. We notice it; we gossip about it; we make judgments based on it; we unconsciously shape our lives around it.
In The Temperamental Thread, developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan draws on decades of research to describe the nature of temperament—the in-born traits that underlie our responses to experience. Along the way he answers such questions as, How does the temperament we are born with affect the rest of our lives? Are we set at birth on an irrevocable path of optimism or pessimism? Must a fussy baby always become an anxious adult?
Kagan paints a picture of temperament as a thread that, when woven with those of life experiences, forms the whole cloth of an individual’s personality. He presents solid evidence to show how genes, gender, culture, and chance interact with temperament and influence a mature personality. He explains how temperament sets the stage for the many personality variations that we see all around us.
Research into temperament, powered by the new tools of neuroscience and psychological science, is enriching our understanding of others in every context, from our closest relationships to those in workplaces, schools, and even casual encounters. Jerome Kagan shows us how.
Kepler's successful solution to the problem of vision early in the seventeenth century was a theoretical triumph as significant as many of the more celebrated developments of the scientific revolution. Yet the full import of Kepler's arguments can be grasped only when they are viewed against the background of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance visual theory. David C. Lindberg provides this background, and in doing so he fills the gap in historical scholarship and constructs a model for tracing the development of scientific ideas.
David C. Lindberg is professor and chairman of the department of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
When leaded gasoline was first developed in the 1920s, medical experts were quick to warn of the public health catastrophes it would cause. Yet government regulators did not heed their advice, and for more than half a century, nearly all cars used leaded gasoline, which contributed to a nationwide epidemic of lead poisoning. By the 1970s, 99.8% of American children had significantly elevated levels of lead in their blood.
Unleaded tells the story of how crusading scientists and activists convinced the U.S. government to ban lead additives in gasoline. It also reveals how, for nearly 50 years, scientific experts paid by the oil and mining industries abused their authority to convince the public that leaded gasoline was perfectly harmless.
Combining environmental history, sociology, and neuroscience, Carrie Nielsen explores how lead exposure affects the developing brains of children and is linked to social problems including academic failure, teen pregnancies, and violent crime. She also shows how, even after the nationwide outrage over Flint’s polluted water, many poor and minority communities and communities of color across the United States still have dangerously high lead levels. Unleaded vividly depicts the importance of sound science and strong environmental regulations to protect our nation’s most vulnerable populations.
Developing a cybernetic model of subjectivity and personhood that honors disability experiences to reconceptualize the category of the human
Twentieth-century neuroscience fixed the brain as the basis of consciousness, the self, identity, individuality, even life itself, obscuring the fundamental relationships between bodies and the worlds that they inhabit. In Unraveling, Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer draws on narratives of family and individual experiences with neurological disorders, paired with texts by neuroscientists and psychiatrists, to decenter the brain and expose the ableist biases in the dominant thinking about personhood.
Unraveling articulates a novel cybernetic theory of subjectivity in which the nervous system is connected to the world it inhabits rather than being walled off inside the body, moving beyond neuroscientific, symbolic, and materialist approaches to the self to focus instead on such concepts as animation, modularity, and facilitation. It does so through close readings of memoirs by individuals who lost their hearing or developed trauma-induced aphasia, as well as family members of people diagnosed as autistic—texts that rethink modes of subjectivity through experiences with communication, caregiving, and the demands of everyday life.
Arguing for a radical antinormative bioethics, Unraveling shifts the discourse on neurological disorders from such value-laden concepts as “quality of life” to develop an inclusive model of personhood that honors disability experiences and reconceptualizes the category of the human in all of its social, technological, and environmental contexts.
Groping around a familiar room in the dark, relearning to read after a brain injury, navigating a virtual landscape through an avatar: all are expressions of vicariance—when the brain substitutes one process or function for another. Alain Berthoz shows that this capacity allows humans to think creatively in an increasingly complex world.
If we’ve done our job well—and, let’s be honest, if we're lucky—you’ll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won’t. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That’s just how it is.
That may be bad news for me, but is it bad news for people in general? Does the fact that as much as fifty percent of our waking hours find us failing to focus on the task at hand represent a problem? Michael Corballis doesn’t think so, and with The Wandering Mind, he shows us why, rehabilitating woolgathering and revealing its incredibly useful effects. Drawing on the latest research from cognitive science and evolutionary biology, Corballis shows us how mind-wandering not only frees us from moment-to-moment drudgery, but also from the limitations of our immediate selves. Mind-wandering strengthens our imagination, fueling the flights of invention, storytelling, and empathy that underlie our shared humanity; furthermore, he explains, our tendency to wander back and forth through the timeline of our lives is fundamental to our very sense of ourselves as coherent, continuing personalities.
Full of unusual examples and surprising discoveries, The Wandering Mind mounts a vigorous defense of inattention—even as it never fails to hold the reader’s.
In a thoughtful and down-to-earth way, Timothy B. Stokes overturns old formulas—and many Freudian concepts—for achieving personal change. During one's lifetime, hidden memories, along with their misleading assumptions, can unconsciously trigger conflicted feelingsùthe basis for most psychological problems, large and small.
What Freud Didn't Know, well-supported by research and groundbreaking in theory, combines neuroscience and psychology to explain how the amygdala region of the brain evolved to unconsciously record, store, and activate emotional memory loops and imagery associated with painful events, especially those of childhood. This book is the first to bring together diverse, post-Freudian discoveries to produce a coherent three-step practice for understanding problematic aspects of the human mind which can be mastered easily, in a clinical or self-help setting. Stokes explores recent breakthroughs, many in marked contrast to Freud's views, which will change how we view psychological and emotional problems and their treatments.
Grounded in current theories about brain circuitry, What Freud Didn't Know integrates ideas about mindfulness, habitual thinking, and insight imagery and provides readers with the tools to rescript their personal narratives for psychological well-being. As an alternative approach to treating stress, most types of depression, anxiety, and phobias without prescription drugs, Stokes's three-step practice can be used to build resiliency and inner peace.
Besides being cruel and inhumane, torture does not work the way torturers assume it does. As Shane O’Mara’s account of the neuroscience of suffering reveals, extreme stress creates profound problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable, or even counterproductive and dangerous.
White Sox fans were overcome with euphoria when their beloved team won after eighty-eight years of failure, and the long-suffering Red Sox Nation finally received their vindication in 2004. Now the Cubs are the only “cursed” team left: The team has repeatedly made the playoffs without ever winning the World Series for the last ninety-nine years, and yet thousands who bleed Cubbie blue pack Wrigley Field for every game. The reasons why ardent sports fans in Chicago and around the world buy expensive game tickets and memorabilia, fill stadiums, and live and die by their team’s fortunes is the subject of Your Brain on Cubs, an engaging study that delves into why sports engender such passionate emotions in us all.
A group of today’s leading science writers and neuroscientists explore here the ways that our brain functions when we participate in sports as fans, athletes, and coaches, taking baseball as the quintessential sport for all three perspectives. The contributors tackle such questions as: How does a player hit a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball when he barely has time to visually register it? Why do fans remain devotedly loyal year after year? And what allows them to believe in superstitions, such as a curse? Other topics investigated in the book include how a ballplayer’s brain changes as he gains experience and expertise, why there are a higher percentage of left-handers in the major leagues compared to the general population, and the ethical implications of neurological performance enhancement.
An expertly written and thought-provoking read, Your Brain on Cubs challenges us to reevaluate the nature of the sports fan and the athlete, revealing the scientific complexity underlying the seemingly black-and-white world of wins and losses.
Originally written in Italian and now available in English (PDF), this graphic novel celebrates the life and work of neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her "discovery of nerve growth factor" in 1986.