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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This book represents the first encyclopedic volume addressing the neurobiology of attention. It contains numerous quick reference articles covering the breadth of investigation into the subject of attention. Topics are arranged into four main categories, including theoretical and anatomical foundations, characterizing the functions of attention, mechanisms of attention, and systems computational neuroscience and applications.
Purpose: The purpose is to compile a multitude of short articles by authorities in the field of attention that will provide nonspecialist readers with the basic foundation from which to seek out further related articles that extend the topics in either breadth or depth. The editors have succeeded admirably in this goal through contributions by top researchers, such as Michael Gazzinaga (Dartmouth College) and Michael Posner (University of Oregon), to name just a few.
Audience: This book is intended for students and researchers studying computational, perceptual, and cognitive neuroscience, as well as neuropsychologists.
Features: The principal strength of this book is its ability to appeal to a wide audience, as well as its unique layout. Students will find the short, introductory articles helpful without being intimidating or incomprehensibly complex. As such, some chapter-articles are as little as three pages in length, including figures. On the other hand, specialists in the field of attention and seasoned researchers will find more extensive coverage in other articles about topics of interest. Each chapter-article begins with a short abstract that makes browsing topics undemanding. This book is not meant to be read straight through, but rather to be selectively perused, which makes a book of this size considerably less daunting to pick up, as it will take just 5-10 minutes to read through a chapter. There are abundant tables, figures, illustrations, and neuroimaging scans that are helpful in deciphering study results. Furthermore, there is section of color plates to compliment the black-and-white figures found throughout the rest of the text. With an extensive index, readers should spend very little time searching for appealing topics from this vast treasure.
Assessment: If there is one book to own on the topic of attention, this is it. Although it is not difficult to find books written on more specific attention topics, this is probably the most complete single volume on the market dedicated to attention. While the cost may seem prohibitive to some individuals, the fact that this may be the only attention-related book that readers will need on their shelf makes the price justifiable. For those seeking a more clinical approach to attention and attention disorders, Applied Neuropsychology of Attention: Theory, Diagnosis and Rehabilitation, by Leclercq and Zimmermann (Taylor & Francis, 2002) would make an agreeable companion to this book.