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After Phrenology

Author: Michael L. Anderson
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262028107
Size: 71.52 MB
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The computer analogy of the mind has been as widely adopted in contemporary cognitive neuroscience as was the analogy of the brain as a collection of organs in phrenology. Just as the phrenologist would insist that each organ must have its particular function, so contemporary cognitive neuroscience is committed to the notion that each brain region must have its fundamental computation. In After Phrenology, Michael Anderson argues that to achieve a fully post-phrenological science of the brain, we need to reassess this commitment and devise an alternate, neuroscientifically grounded taxonomy of mental function. Anderson contends that the cognitive roles played by each region of the brain are highly various, reflecting different neural partnerships established under different circumstances. He proposes quantifying the functional properties of neural assemblies in terms of their dispositional tendencies rather than their computational or information-processing operations. Exploring larger-scale issues, and drawing on evidence from embodied cognition, Anderson develops a picture of thinking rooted in the exploitation and extension of our early-evolving capacity for iterated interaction with the world. He argues that the multidimensional approach to the brain he describes offers a much better fit for these findings, and a more promising road toward a unified science of minded organisms.

Advice For A Young Investigator

Author: Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262250039
Size: 40.35 MB
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Santiago Ramón y Cajal was a mythic figure in science. Hailed as the father of modern anatomy and neurobiology, he was largely responsible for the modern conception of the brain. His groundbreaking works were New Ideas on the Structure of the Nervous System and Histology of the Nervous System in Man and Vertebrates. In addition to leaving a legacy of unparalleled scientific research, Cajal sought to educate the novice scientist about how science was done and how he thought it should be done. This recently rediscovered classic, first published in 1897, is an anecdotal guide for the perplexed new investigator as well as a refreshing resource for the old pro.Cajal was a pragmatist, aware of the pitfalls of being too idealistic -- and he had a sense of humor, particularly evident in his diagnoses of various stereotypes of eccentric scientists. The book covers everything from valuable personality traits for an investigator to social factors conducive to scientific work.

The Wiley Handbook Of Evolutionary Neuroscience

Author: Stephen V. Shepherd
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1119994691
Size: 64.12 MB
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Comprehensive and authoritative, The Wiley Handbook of Evolutionary Neuroscience unifies the diverse strands of an interdisciplinary field exploring the evolution of brains and cognition. A comprehensive reference that unifies the diverse interests and approaches associated with the neuroscientific study of brain evolution and the emergence of cognition Tackles some of the biggest questions in neuroscience including what brains are for, what factors constrain their biological development, and how they evolve and interact Provides a broad and balanced view of the subject, reviewing both vertebrate and invertebrate anatomy and emphasizing their shared origins and mechanisms Features contributions from highly respected scholars in their fields

Metareasoning

Author: Michael T. Cox
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262014807
Size: 24.81 MB
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Experts report on the latest artificial intelligence research concerning reasoning about reasoning itself.

The Human Sciences After The Decade Of The Brain

Author: Jon Leefmann
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128042605
Size: 22.68 MB
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The Human Sciences after the Decade of the Brain brings together exciting new works that address today’s key challenges for a mutual interaction between cognitive neuroscience and the social sciences and humanities. Taking up the methodological and conceptual problems of choosing a neuroscience approach to disciplines such as philosophy, history, ethics and education, the book deepens discussions on a range of epistemological, historical, and sociological questions about the "neuro-turn" in the new millennium. The book’s three sections focus on (i) epistemological questions posed by neurobiologically informed approaches to philosophy and history, (ii) neuroscience’s influence on explanations for social and moral behavior, and (iii) the consequences of the neuro-turn in diverse sectors of social life such as science, education, film, and human self-understanding. This book is an important resource both for students and scholars of cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology interested in the philosophical, ethical, and societal influences of—and on—their work as well as for students and scholars from the social sciences and humanities interested in neuroscience. Explores the recent influence of neuroscience on the humanities and social sciences and how they respond to these influences Offers in-depth analysis of the theoretical and practical influence of a brain-centered scientific view in diverse areas of the social sciences including economics, education, cultural studies, and philosophy Investigates contributions of the history of science to scrutinizing current neuroscience–based approaches to social and moral behavior

Unifying The Mind

Author: David Danks
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262027992
Size: 36.67 MB
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Our ordinary, everyday thinking requires an astonishing range of cognitive activities, yet our cognition seems to take place seamlessly. We move between cognitive processes with ease, and different types of cognition seem to share information readily. In this book, David Danks proposes a novel cognitive architecture that can partially explain two aspects of human cognition: its relatively integrated nature and our effortless ability to focus on the relevant factors in any particular situation. Danks argues that both of these features of cognition are naturally explained if many of our cognitive representations are understood to be structured like graphical models. The computational framework of graphical models is widely used in machine learning, but Danks is the first to offer a book-length account of its use to analyze multiple areas of cognition. Danks demonstrates the usefulness of this approach by reinterpreting a variety of cognitive theories in terms of graphical models. He shows how we can understand much of our cognition -- in particular causal learning, cognition involving concepts, and decision making -- through the lens of graphical models, thus clarifying a range of data from experiments and introspection. Moreover, Danks demonstrates the important role that cognitive representations play in a unified understanding of cognition, arguing that much of our cognition can be explained in terms of different cognitive processes operating on a shared collection of cognitive representations. Danks's account is mathematically accessible, focusing on the qualitative aspects of graphical models and separating the formal mathematical details in the text.

Development Of Mathematical Cognition

Author: Daniel B. Berch
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128019093
Size: 57.53 MB
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Development of Mathematical Cognition: Neural Substrates and Genetic Influences reviews advances in extant imaging modalities and the application of brain stimulation techniques for improving mathematical learning. It goes on to explore the role genetics and environmental influences have in the development of math abilities and disabilities. Focusing on the neural substrates and genetic factors associated with both the typical and atypical development of mathematical thinking and learning, this second volume in the Mathematical Cognition and Learning series integrates the latest in innovative measures and methodological advances from the top researchers in the field. Provides details about new progress made in the study of neural correlates of numerical and arithmetic cognition Addresses recent work in quantitative and molecular genetics Works to improve instruction in numerical, arithmetical, and algebraic thinking and learning Informs policy to help increase the level of mathematical proficiency among the general public

From Molecule To Metaphor

Author: Jerome Feldman
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262296888
Size: 66.84 MB
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In From Molecule to Metaphor, Jerome Feldman proposes a theory of language and thought that treats language not as an abstract symbol system but as a human biological ability that can be studied as a function of the brain, as vision and motor control are studied. This theory, he writes, is a "bridging theory" that works from extensive knowledge at two ends of a causal chain to explicate the links between. Although the cognitive sciences are revealing much about how our brains produce language and thought, we do not yet know exactly how words are understood or have any methodology for finding out. Feldman develops his theory in computer simulations -- formal models that suggest ways that language and thought may be realized in the brain. Combining key findings and theories from biology, computer science, linguistics, and psychology, Feldman synthesizes a theory by exhibiting programs that demonstrate the required behavior while remaining consistent with the findings from all disciplines.After presenting the essential results on language, learning, neural computation, the biology of neurons and neural circuits, and the mind/brain, Feldman introduces specific demonstrations and formal models of such topics as how children learn their first words, words for abstract and metaphorical concepts, understanding stories, and grammar (including "hot-button" issues surrounding the innateness of human grammar). With this accessible, comprehensive book Feldman offers readers who want to understand how our brains create thought and language a theory of language that is intuitively plausible and also consistent with existing scientific data at all levels.

The Symbolic Species The Co Evolution Of Language And The Brain

Author: Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393343022
Size: 73.79 MB
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"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."—New York Times Book Review This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.

The Human Advantage

Author: Suzana Herculano-Houzel
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262333201
Size: 72.65 MB
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Humans are awesome. Our brains are gigantic, seven times larger than they should be for the size of our bodies. The human brain uses 25% of all the energy the body requires each day. And it became enormous in a very short amount of time in evolution, allowing us to leave our cousins, the great apes, behind. So the human brain is special, right? Wrong, according to Suzana Herculano-Houzel. Humans have developed cognitive abilities that outstrip those of all other animals, but not because we are evolutionary outliers. The human brain was not singled out to become amazing in its own exclusive way, and it never stopped being a primate brain. If we are not an exception to the rules of evolution, then what is the source of the human advantage?Herculano-Houzel shows that it is not the size of our brain that matters but the fact that we have more neurons in the cerebral cortex than any other animal, thanks to our ancestors' invention, some 1.5 million years ago, of a more efficient way to obtain calories: cooking. Because we are primates, ingesting more calories in less time made possible the rapid acquisition of a huge number of neurons in the still fairly small cerebral cortex -- the part of the brain responsible for finding patterns, reasoning, developing technology, and passing it on through culture. Herculano-Houzel shows us how she came to these conclusions -- making "brain soup" to determine the number of neurons in the brain, for example, and bringing animal brains in a suitcase through customs. The Human Advantage is an engaging and original look at how we became remarkable without ever being special.