Author: David Eagleman Publisher: Vintage ISBN: 0525433449 Size: 63.61 MB Format: PDF View: 1177
"The dramatic story of the brain's role in creating our world, our experience of it, and ourselves; the basis for a PBS television series by the bestselling David Eagleman. How does a three pound mass of biological matter locked in the dark, silent fortress of the skull produce the extraordinary multi-sensory experience that comprises us, while also constructing reality and guiding us through the endless need to make decisions and determine our judgments and into a future that we are convinced we are shaping? David Eagleman compares the brain to a cityscape with different neighborhoods where neural networks vie for supremacy and determine our behavior in ways we are not always aware or in control of. At the same time, he suggests that the brain works as a storyteller--creating a narrative that allows us to navigate and make sense of a world that it is busy constructing for us"--
Tricky concepts are illustrated and explained with clarity and precision, as The Human Brain Book looks at how the brain sends messages to the rest of the body, how we think and feel, how we perform unconscious actions (for example breathing), explores the nature of genius, asks why we behave the way we do, explains how we see and hear things, and how and why we dream. Physical and psychological disorders affecting the brain and nervous system are clearly illustrated and summarized in easy-to-understand terms.
This book provides eloquent support for the idea that spontaneous neuron activity, far from being mere noise, is actually the source of our cognitive abilities. In a sequence of "cycles," György Buzsáki guides the reader from the physics of oscillations through neuronal assembly organization to complex cognitive processing and memory storage. His clear, fluid writing-accessible to any reader with some scientific knowledge-is supplemented by extensive footnotes and references that make it just as gratifying and instructive a read for the specialist. The coherent view of a single author who has been at the forefront of research in this exciting field, this volume is essential reading for anyone interested in our rapidly evolving understanding of the brain.
The human brain weighs less than four pounds, is made up of more than 100 billion cells, and is the control center of every human being. It keeps humans alive, allows them to experience emotions, and enables them to think and learn. How does this small organ manage to do so much? What should humans do to protect it? Read these informational texts to find out.
Author: Rob DeSalle Publisher: Yale University Press ISBN: 0300183569 Size: 52.38 MB Format: PDF View: 472
After several million years of jostling for ecological space, only one survivor from a host of hominid species remains standing: us. Human beings are extraordinary creatures, and it is the unprecedented human brain that makes them so. In this delightfully accessible book, the authors present the first full, step-by-step account of the evolution of the brain and nervous system. Tapping the very latest findings in evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and molecular biology, Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall explain how the cognitive gulf that separates us from all other living creatures could have occurred. They discuss the development and uniqueness of human consciousness, how human and nonhuman brains work, the roles of different nerve cells, the importance of memory and language in brain functions, and much more. Our brains, they conclude, are the product of a lengthy and supremely untidy history—an evolutionary process of many zigs and zags—that has accidentally resulted in a splendidly eccentric and creative product.
Author: Kevin Simler Publisher: Oxford University Press ISBN: 0190496010 Size: 61.55 MB Format: PDF, Mobi View: 3185
Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains, therefore, are designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to help us get ahead socially, often via deception and self-deception. But while we may be self-interested schemers, we benefit by pretending otherwise. The less we know about our own ugly motives, the better - and thus we don't like to talk or even think about the extent of our selfishness. This is "the elephant in the brain." Such an introspective taboo makes it hard for us to think clearly about our nature and the explanations for our behavior. The aim of this book, then, is to confront our hidden motives directly - to track down the darker, unexamined corners of our psyches and blast them with floodlights. Then, once everything is clearly visible, we can work to better understand ourselves: Why do we laugh? Why are artists sexy? Why do we brag about travel? Why do we prefer to speak rather than listen? Our unconscious motives drive more than just our private behavior; they also infect our venerated social institutions such as Art, School, Charity, Medicine, Politics, and Religion. In fact, these institutions are in many ways designed to accommodate our hidden motives, to serve covert agendas alongside their "official" ones. The existence of big hidden motives can upend the usual political debates, leading one to question the legitimacy of these social institutions, and of standard policies designed to favor or discourage them. You won't see yourself - or the world - the same after confronting the elephant in the brain.
Author: James H. Austin Publisher: MIT Press ISBN: 9780262260350 Size: 13.97 MB Format: PDF, ePub, Docs View: 3920
A neuroscientist and Zen practitioner interweaves the latest research on the brain with his personal narrative of Zen. Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology"—because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain presents the latest evidence. In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.