This is a non-technical introduction to the main issues and findings in current brain research. It gives a sense of how neuroscience addresses questions about the relationship between the brain, and thought, memories, perceptions, and actions. Covering the details of brain science in an accessible style, it includes up to date coverage of developments of brain research, and suggests directions future research might take. The Brain also integrates discussion of the more familiar implications of the brain's actions, such as memories, perceptions, and motor control.Contents:Mind and brain: what's the problelm?Let's get physicalSight, sound, and imagination'Last week's potatoes!'Perception to actionAltered states of mindWhere do we go from here?
Up to the 1960s, psychology was deeply under the influence of behaviourism, which focused on stimuli and responses, and regarded consideration of what may happen in the mind as unapproachable scientifically. This began to change with the devising of methods to try to tap into what was going on in the 'black box' of the mind, and the development of 'cognitive psychology'. With the study of patients who had suffered brain damage or injury to limited parts of the brain, outlines of brain components and processes began to take shape, and by the end of the 1970s, a new science, cognitive neuroscience, was born. But it was with the development of ways of accessing activation of the working brain using imaging techniques such as PET and fMRI that cognitive neuroscience came into its own, as a science cutting across psychology and neuroscience, with strong connections to philosophy of mind. Experiments involving subjects in scanners while doing various tasks, thinking, problem solving, and remembering are shedding light on the brain processes involved. The research is exciting and new, and often makes media headlines. But there is much misunderstanding about what brain imaging tells us, and the interpretation of studies on cognition. In this Very Short Introduction Richard Passingham, a distinguished cognitive neuroscientist, gives a provocative and exciting account of the nature and scope of this relatively new field, and the techniques available to us, focusing on investigation of the human brain. He explains what brain imaging shows, pointing out common misconceptions, and gives a brief overview of the different aspects of human cognition: perceiving, attending, remembering, reasoning, deciding, and acting. Passingham concludes with a discussion of the exciting advances that may lie ahead. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Consciousness, 'the last great mystery for science', has now become a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up debates on these issues, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories using illustrations, lively cartoons, and experiments.Topics include vision and attention, theories of self and will, experiments on action and awareness, altered states of consciousness, and the effects of brain damage and drugs. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In this 'Very Short Introduction', Rob Boddice explores the history, culture, and medical science of pain. Charting the shifting meanings of pain across time and place, he focusses on how the experience and treatment of pain have changed. He describes historical hierarchies of pain experience that related pain to social class and race, and the privileging of human states of pain over that of other animals. From the pain concepts of classical antiquity to expressions of pain in contemporary art, and modern medical approaches to the understanding, treatment, and management of pain, Boddice weaves a multifaceted account of this central human experience. Ranging from neuroscientific innovations in experimental medicine to the constructionist arguments of social scientists, pain is shown to resist a timeless definition. Pain is physical and emotional, of body and mind, and is always experienced subjectively and contextually.
"In this lively Very Short Introduction, Tim Bayne explores the nature of thought. Drawing on research from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology, he examines what we know--and what we don't know--about one of the defining features of human nature: our capacity for thought."--Page 2 of cover.
This Very Short Introduction brings together the latest research in neuroscience and psychology - weaving in case-studies, anecdotes, literature, and philosophy - to explore and explain the science of memory - how it works, and why we can't live without it.
Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects. A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics. Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Land introduces all aspects of the eye and vision in both human and animals. He looks at the features of the human eye and retina, explores the evolution of eyes, and considers aspects of visual perception, including eye movements, vision in three dimensions, colour vision, and visual recognition.