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The Modular Brain based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Like for many treatments of the brain and its relation to thought and consciousness, the material in this book is fascinating, at least for me. However, I was not as happy with Restak's approach to it. As the title suggests, he presents a theory of brain function. It presents the brain as composed of many independently functioning, yet interconnected modules, whose collective behavior gives rise to all our mental faculties, including the ever evasive sense of self. This modular theory is then backed up with case histories of patients with neurological damage, and other surgical and imaging explorations of the brain. The book contains many very interesting interesting bits of peculiar behavior of a malfunctioning brain. Two in particular are: blindsight - seeing without being consciously aware of it, and the fact that people with frontal lobe damage turn into procrastinators.Unfortunately, he spends an unnecessary amount of time, in my humble opinion, trying to refute the centrally-controlled and hierarchical theories of brain organization. While such theories have been prevalent in the past, when much less empirical information about the brain has been available, I see little point in putting so much emphasis on them in a book aimed at a lay audience, who would not have preconceived ideas about brain structure at all. Of course, I could be misjudging the book's intended audience.Lastly, the end of the book contains some very broad criticisms studying the brain with computer models. Unfortunately, they are not specific enough to see if they have any merit. The progress in modeling parts of the brain as neural networks in the past couple of decades has certainly proved them mistaken.I have a feeling that there must be better general audience introductions to how a brain works.