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Mapping the Mind
by Rita Carter
ISBN 0520224612 / 9780520224612 / 0-520-22461-2
Publisher University of California Press
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In the last decades of the 20th century, scientists have come to believe that the human brain is almost completely modular. Every bit of the brain does something in particular, and surprisingly specific abilities, memories, and responses are in localized areas. Journalist Rita Carter has drawn a map of what is known (and speculated) about the mind in a heavily illustrated field guide to the human brain.
Carter and her scientific editor, neuropsychologist Christopher Frith, cover the state of the mind in a reasonably accurate, accessible way. They emphasize topics that are likely to be of some practical interest--such as Alzheimer's or attention deficit disorder--but not so much as to give a distorted picture of the field.
Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are the sidebars written by a variety of leading names in mind-brain science. Roger Penrose writes on computer minds, Francis Crick on consciousness, Steven Rose on memory, John Maynard Smith on social evolution, William Calvin on mosaic minds, Kay Redfield Jamison on creativity and bipolar disorders, and more. It's a stellar assortment, more than worth the price of admission--and there's a map of the mind on the cover, in case you misplace yours. --Mary Ellen Curtin [via]