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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This new and thought-provoking book focuses on the processes involved in organizing our varied unimodal sensory experiences as well as emotion, memory, and thought into a coherent phenomena called consciousness. The book is based on a conference entitled Fourth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Consciousness, which took place in July 2000 in Belgium. Written and edited by internationally recognized researchers in the study of consciousness, this book is a valuable contribution to this fascinating subject.
Purpose: The purpose of the book (and the conference) is an attempt to answer some big questions: How do diverse systems in the brain interact to produce a coherent experience? Are there disorders of brain function in which this coherent experience breaks down? Is this coherent experience really unified? The editors and authors have produced an excellent summary of the attempts to answer these questions.
Audience: The intended audience are researchers in the field of consciousness including cognitive neuroscientists, philosophers, and psychologists.
Features: The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 focuses on the question: What is unity? Part 2 is devoted to the issue the mechanisms of binding. Part 3 provides interesting chapters on brain disorders in which unity breaks down. Part 4 addresses the emergence of unity with chapters on neural synchrony as well as dreaming and emotion. The chapters are written by the leading researchers in this field. Each chapter concludes with pertinent and timely references. The index section is very helpful.
Assessment: This is an excellent and extremely interesting new book on consciousness and its mechanisms. Anyone interested in this most fascinating area of research should read this book.