Brains: How They Seem to Work
For 50 years, the world’s most brilliant neuroscientists have struggled to understand how human brains really work. Today, says Dale Purves, the dominant research agenda may have taken us as far as it can--and neuroscientists may be approaching a paradigm shift.
In this highly personal book, Purves reveals how we got to this point and offers his notion of where neuroscience may be headed next. Purves guides you through a half-century of the most influential ideas in neuroscience and introduces the extraordinary scientists and physicians who created and tested them.
Purves offers a critical assessment of the paths that neuroscience research has taken, their successes and their limitations, and then introduces an alternative approach for thinking about brains. Building on new research on visual perception, he shows why common ideas about brain networks can’t be right and uncovers the factors that determine our subjective experience. The resulting insights offer a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
• Why we need a better conception of what brains are trying to do and how they do it
• The surprising lessons that can be learned from what we see
• Brains--and the people who think about them
• The “ghost in the machine” problem
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Chapter 1 Neuroscience circa 1960
Chapter 2 Neurobiology at Harvard
Chapter 3 Biophysics at University College
Chapter 4 Nerve cells versus brain systems
Chapter 5 Neural development
Chapter 6 Exploring brain systems
Hubel and Wiesel redux
Chapter 8 Visual perception
Chapter 11 Perceiving geometry
Chapter 12 Perceiving motion
Chapter 13 How brains seem to work
About the author