- Pub. Date:
- University of California Press
Today a brain scan reveals our thoughts, moods, and memories as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can actually observe a person's brain registering a joke or experiencing a painful memory. Drawing on the latest imaging technology and the expertise of distinguished scientists, Rita Carter explores the geography of the human brain. Her writing is clear, accessible, witty, and the book's 150 illustrationsmost in colorpresent an illustrated guide to that wondrous, coconut-sized, wrinkled gray mass we carry inside our heads.
Mapping the Mind charts the way human behavior and culture have been molded by the landscape of the brain. Carter shows how our personalities reflect the biological mechanisms underlying thought and emotion and how behavioral eccentricities may be traced to abnormalities in an individual brain. Obsessions and compulsions seem to be caused by a stuck neural switch in a region that monitors the environment for danger. Addictions stem from dysfunction in the brain's reward system. Even the sense of religious experience has been linked to activity in a certain brain region. The differences between men and women's brains, the question of a "gay brain," and conditions such as dyslexia, autism, and mania are also explored.
Looking inside the brain, writes Carter, we see that actions follow from our perceptions, which are due to brain activity dictated by a neuronal structure formed from the interplay between our genes and the environment. Without sidestepping the question of free will, Carter suggests that future generations will use our increasing knowledge of the brain to "enhance those mental qualities that give sweetness and meaning to our lives, and to eradicate those that are destructive."
|Publisher:||University of California Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.75(w) x 10.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
Table of Contents
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.