Mapping the Mind / Edition 1by Rita Carter
Pub. Date: 02/01/2000
Publisher: University of California Press
The latest brain scans reveal our thoughts, moods and memories as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can watch people's brains light up -- literally -- in one area when they register a joke and glow dully in another area when they recall an unhappy memory. We can see fear being generated, measure the degree of pleasure or surprise felt in response to a… See more details below
The latest brain scans reveal our thoughts, moods and memories as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can watch people's brains light up -- literally -- in one area when they register a joke and glow dully in another area when they recall an unhappy memory. We can see fear being generated, measure the degree of pleasure or surprise felt in response to a statement, and watch the language areas sparkling as they grapple with new words.
Mapping the Mind charts how human behaviour and culture have been molded by the landscape of the brain. It shows how our personalities reflect the biological mechanisms underlying thought and emotion and how behavioural eccentricities may be traced to abnormalities in the geography of an individual brain. Obsessions and compulsions, for example, seem to be caused by a stuck neural switch in a brain area which monitors the environment for danger. Addiction, eating disorders, and alcoholism stem from dysfunction in the brain's reward system. Inability to change one's ideas suggests a lack of activity in the frontal lobes where plans and high-level concepts are constructed. Even belief in God has been linked to activity in a particular brain region. The differences between men's and women's brains and the distinctive characteristics of the brains of people with disorders such as dyslexia, autism, attention deficit, depression, mania, and mood swings are also explored.
- University of California Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.75(w) x 10.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Table of ContentsIntroduction 6
The Emerging Landscape 10
The Great Divide 34
Beneath The Surface 54
A Changeable Climate 80
A World Of One's Own 106
Crossing The Chasm 136
States Of Mind 158
Higher Ground 180
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The book is quite fascinating and gives one true insight into the workings of the mind. However, I was bothered by the way the author inserted her own opinions into what is otherwise a collection of scientific studies. Her views on religion, justice, and the future of mankind, whether right or wrong, simply don't belong in the book. What should be a purely scientific work is laced with the author's personal flavoring. The book is well worth the read, just be sure to distinguish between fact and opinion.
Absolutely fascinating stuff and very well-written. My only complaint is that the sidebars were very long and also fascinating but disruptive to the reader. I had a hard time figuring out when I was supposed to read them. I'd finish a page in mid-sentence and have to decide whether to turn it or go back and read the sidebar. Anyway, the illustrations were very helpful and the text was surprisingly readable, considering the subject matter. I'd recommend this book to anyone.