Mental Biology: The New Science of How the Brain and Mind Relate

Overview

A leading neuroscientist offers the latest research and many new ideas on the connections between brain circuitry and conscious experience.

How the mysterious three-pound organ in our heads creates the rich array of human mental experience, including the sense of self and consciousness, is one of the great challenges of 21st-century science. Veteran neuroscientist W. R. Klemm presents the latest research findings on this elusive brain-mind ...

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Mental Biology: The New Science of How the Brain and Mind Relate

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Overview

A leading neuroscientist offers the latest research and many new ideas on the connections between brain circuitry and conscious experience.

How the mysterious three-pound organ in our heads creates the rich array of human mental experience, including the sense of self and consciousness, is one of the great challenges of 21st-century science. Veteran neuroscientist W. R. Klemm presents the latest research findings on this elusive brain-mind connection in a lucidly presented, accessible, and engaging narrative. 

The author focuses on how mind emerges from nerve-impulse patterns in the densely-packed neural circuits that make up most of the brain, suggesting that conscious mind can be viewed as a sort of neural-activity-based avatar. As an entity in its own right, mind on the conscious level can have significant independent action, shaping the brain that sustains it through its plans, goals, interests, and interactions with the world. Thus, in a very literal sense, we become what we think.

Against researchers who argue that conscious mind is merely a passive observer and free will an illusion, the author presents evidence showing that mental creativity, freedom to act, and personal responsibility are very real. He also delves into the role of dream sleep in both animals and humans, and explains the brain-based differences between nonconscious, unconscious, and conscious minds.

Written in a jargon-free style understandable to the lay reader, this is a fascinating synthesis of recent neuroscience and intriguing hypotheses.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
In his 17th book, Klemm (Atoms of Mind) mixes some basic science, self-help advice, and an uncomfortable dose of political diatribe. The scientific portion attempts to explain the relationship between mind and brain, focusing on such issues as the nature and role of consciousness, the purpose of sleep and dreams, and whether free will exists. The writing is both opaque and repetitive while largely dismissing those who disagree with his perspectives. Beyond that, Klemm leaps between topics to such an extent that it is difficult to follow his arguments. He frequently goes beyond the bounds of science, arguing that dark energy might power the brain and that near-death experiences suggest that there is an afterlife, and his simplistic self-help program consists chiefly of telling readers that they need to take responsibility for their actions. Klemm bizarrely compares monkeys raised without physical contact to Muslim students studying in Madrassas, asking “Are Madrassas nurseries for suicide bombers? You bet.” He also weighs in on abortion-rights activists, the ills of pot smoking, and the value of military boot camps for “unruly teenagers.” The book is flawed, but the illogical and extreme political diatribe makes the work unfit for serious consideration. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Klemm’s book provides the reader with a fresh perspective on the mind-body problem and the nature of consciousness. Building on evidence from modern neuroscience, the author introduces intriguing hypotheses on how brain activity relates to the conscious mind. This book is a highly recommended reading for all those who believe that the ‘I’ has no role to play in the cosmic theatre of life.”
 
—Andrea E. Cavanna, MD, PhD, Consultant in Behavioural Neurology, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616149444
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 954,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

W. R. Klemm, DVM, PhD, is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A & M University and the author of over five hundred publications, including sixteen previous books, most recently, Memory Power 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Better Learning for Students, Businesspeople, and Seniors; Atoms of Mind: The "Ghost in the Machine" Materializes; and Core Ideas in Neuroscience. He has also been the president and cofounder of Forum Enterprises, Inc., a retired colonel in the Air Force Reserves, a business consultant, and the project director for five educational outreach grants.

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