An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind

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Oxford University Press, 1999 - Psychology - 456 pages
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Drawing on a dazzlingly wide array of disciplines--physiology, neurology, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and philosophy--Ian Glynn explains virtually every aspect of the workings of the brain, unlocking the mysteries of the mind.
Here are the mechanics of nerve messages; the functioning of sensory receptors; the processes by which the brain sees, tastes, and smells; the seats of language, memory, and emotions. Glynn writes with exceptional clarity and offers telling examples: to help explain vision, for instance, he discusses optical illusions as well as cases of patients who suffer disordered seeing through healthy eyes (such as the loss of the ability to recognize familiar faces). The breadth of Glynn's erudition is astonishing, as he ranges from parallel processing in computers to the specialization of different regions of the brain (illustrated with fascinating instances of the bizarre effects of localized brain damage). He explains the different types of memory (episodic and semantic, as well as short-term and implicit memory), traces the path through the brain of information leading to emotional responses, and engages in a discussion of language that takes in Noam Chomsky and Hawaiian pidgin. Moreover, for every subject Glynn addresses, he offers a thorough-going scientific history. For example, before discussing the evolution of the brain, he provides an account of the theory of evolution itself, from the writing and success of The Origin of Species to recent work on the fossil record, DNA, and RNA.
No other single volume has captured the full expanse of our knowledge of consciousness and the brain. A work of unequaled authority and eloquence, An Anatomy of Thought promises to be a new landmark of scientific writing.

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User Review  - neurodrew - LibraryThing

Dr. Glynn is a neurophysiologist who has written a general introduction to cognitive science. He has an interesting approach, building from evolution to considering the complex visual mechanisms ... Read full review

Contents

What this book is about
3
Evolution by natural selection
17
The Descent of Man
40
Copyright

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About the author (1999)


Ian Glynn is a Professor and Former Head of the Physiological Laboratory, University of Cambridge, England. Renowned for his work on the sodium pump, the molecular process that charges the brain's batteries, he is a fellow of the Royal Society and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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