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Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker. In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths. In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Gazzaniga tells the impassioned story of his life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas. By turns humorous and moving, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain interweaves Gazzaniga’s scientific achievements with his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades in arms—the many patients, friends, and family who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.
With extensive video footage of his trailblazing cognitive experiments, Michael Gazzaniga—the “father of cognitive neuroscience”—illuminates the discoveries behind his groundbreaking work in this enhanced digital edition of Tales from Both Sides of the Brain. Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker. In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths. In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Gazzaniga tells the impassioned story of his life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas. By turns humorous and moving, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain interweaves Gazzaniga’s scientific achievements with his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades in arms—the many patients, friends, and family who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.
An introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system that emphasizes the history of experiments and observations that led to modern neuroscientific knowledge.
What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga pinpoints the change that made us thinking, sentient humans different from our predecessors. He explores what makes human brains special, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.
Language is one of our most precious and uniquely human capacities, so it is not surprising that research on its neural substrates has been advancing quite rapidly in recent years. Until now, however, there has not been a single introductory textbook that focuses specifically on this topic. Cognitive Neuroscience of Language fills that gap by providing an up-to-date, wide-ranging, and pedagogically practical survey of the most important developments in the field. It guides students through all of the major areas of investigation, beginning with fundamental aspects of brain structure and function, and then proceeding to cover aphasia syndromes, the perception and production of speech, the processing of language in written and signed modalities, the meanings of words, and the formulation and comprehension of complex expressions, including grammatically inflected words, complete sentences, and entire stories. Drawing heavily on prominent theoretical models, the core chapters illustrate how such frameworks are supported, and sometimes challenged, by experiments employing diverse brain mapping techniques. Although much of the content is inherently challenging and intended primarily for graduate or upper-level undergraduate students, it requires no previous knowledge of either neuroscience or linguistics, defining technical terms and explaining important principles from both disciplines along the way.
An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology. In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain. Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation—a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds? The Myth of Mirror Neurons not only delivers an instructive tale about the course of scientific progress—from discovery to theory to revision—but also provides deep insights into the organization and function of the human brain and the nature of communication and cognition.

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