The Brain Supremacy: Notes from the Frontiers of Neuroscience

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Overview

Advances in physics, chemistry and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. But today the balance of power in the sciences is changing, as research on the brain and mind has produced important breakthroughs in our understanding of ourselves and of our environment. As a result, funding and researchers are pouring into the field of neuroscience.

The Brain Supremacy is a lucid and rational guide to this exciting new world. Using recent examples ...

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The Brain Supremacy: Notes from the frontiers of neuroscience

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Overview

Advances in physics, chemistry and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. But today the balance of power in the sciences is changing, as research on the brain and mind has produced important breakthroughs in our understanding of ourselves and of our environment. As a result, funding and researchers are pouring into the field of neuroscience.

The Brain Supremacy is a lucid and rational guide to this exciting new world. Using recent examples from scientific research and from the popular media, it explores the science behind the hype, revealing how techniques like fMRI actually work and what claims about using them for mindreading really mean. Kathleen Taylor presents the implications of this amazingly powerful new research clearly and entertainingly. Science has already altered how we behave. Soon it will be able to change who we are. For the first time, we may be able to cure devastating diseases, take a pill to boost our own intelligence, and much more. Looking to this exhilarating but also troubling future, Taylor sets current neuroscience in its social and ethical context, as an increasingly important influence on how all of us live our lives. What will the new science mean for us, as individuals, consumers, parents, and citizens? Should we be excited, or alarmed, by the remarkable promises we read about in the media—promises of drugs that can boost our brain power, ever more subtle marketing techniques, even machines that can read minds? What is the neuroscience behind these claims, and how do scientists look inside living human brains to get their astonishing results?

An illuminating account of both cutting-edge neuroscience and the future of this field, The Brain Supremacy offers an eye-opening look at the astonishing power of science to affect our lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Taylor (Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain) argues two points. First, rapid progress in neuroscience will usher in a new age of "brain supremacy," in which humankind may have the power to read minds, control thoughts, and re-engineer human nature. Second, to prepare for this new age and its ethical implications, people need to understand how neuroscience research works. Most of the book addresses the latter point, explaining the mechanisms behind imaging techniques such as PET, fMRI, electroencephalography, and magnetoencephalography, as well as experimental methods in neuroscience. Though these descriptions are technical and sometimes a tough slog for a nonscientist (Taylor holds a PhD in neuroscience), they help readers understand the capabilities and limitations of each tool. She touches on the ethical challenges of the future she predicts, but only briefly—glossing over what may seem more dystopia than glorious scientific revolution. VERDICT Well-written and thought-provoking, this book will help scientifically literate readers understand the science behind a potentially unsettling future.—Janet Crum, City of Hope Lib., Duarte, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199603374
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/25/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 957,099
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 4.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Taylor is a freelance writer as well as a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford. In 2002 she won two writing competitions run by the Times Higher Education Supplement, one for science writing and one for an essay in the humanities/social sciences. Her books include Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (longlisted for an Aventis Prize and translated into eight languages) and Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain.

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Table of Contents

The Way We Live Now
1. Introducing the brain supremacy
2. The many powers of science
3. Could we read minds?
4. Bring on the designer minds?
The Keys to Power
5. Seeing the brain through many eyes
6. To physics, with thanks
7. When science meets journalism
8. The subatomic chorus
9. When currents flow
10. Neuroscience goes quantum
11. Poke it and see what happens
12. Poking people
13. Chemical control
14. Tweaking genes
Neuroscience and the Future
15. The problems of neurotech
16. Creating the brain supremacy
Glossary
List of websites
Bibliography

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