Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering how the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

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Penguin, 2014 - Psychology - 352 pages
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WINNER OF THE 2014 BRAIN PRIZE

From the acclaimed author of Reading in the Brain, a breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain


How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind a conscious state. We can now pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries.

A joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities, Consciousness and the Brain will excite anyone interested in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying consciousness.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Readably reviews the vast amount of recent experimental research on the extent of unconscious brain operations (the majority) and on how conscious brain operations differ from them. Favors a "global ... Read full review

CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE BRAIN: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

User Review  - Kirkus

Dehaene (Experimental Cognitive Psychology/Collège de France; Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention, 2009) delivers a detailed popular account of what he and fellow ... Read full review

Contents

The Stuff of Thought
1
Consciousness Enters the Lab
17
Fathoming Unconscious Depths
47
What Is Consciousness Good For?
89
The Signatures of a Conscious Thought
115
Theorizing Consciousness
161
The Ultimate Test
200
The Future of Consciousness
234
Acknowledgments
268
Bibliography
287
Index
319
Illustration Credits
335
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About the author (2014)

Stanislas Dehaene was trained as a mathematician and psychologist before becoming one of the world's most active researchers on the cognitive neuroscience of language and number processing in the human brain. He is the director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit in Saclay, France, the professor of experimental cognitive psychology at the Collège de France, a member of the French Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is the author of The Number Sense and Reading in the Brain. He lives in France.

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