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Publisher's Summary

The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. The field of neuroscience has made remarkable strides in recent years in understanding aspects of the brain, yet we still struggle with seemingly fundamental questions about how the brain works. What lessons can we learn from neuroscience’s successes and failures? What kinds of questions can neuroscience answer, and what will remain out of reach?  

In The Brain in Context, the bioethicist Jonathan D. Moreno and the neuroscientist Jay Schulkin provide an accessible and thought-provoking account of the evolution of neuroscience and the neuroscience of evolution. They emphasize that the brain is not an isolated organ - it extends into every part of the body and every aspect of human life. Understanding the brain requires studying the environmental, biological, chemical, genetic, and social factors that continue to shape it. Moreno and Schulkin describe today’s transformative devices, theories, and methods, including technologies like fMRI and optogenetics as well as massive whole-brain activity maps and the attempt to create a digital simulation of the brain. They show how theorizing about the brain and experimenting with it often go hand in hand, and they raise cautions about unintended consequences of technological interventions. The Brain in Context is a stimulating and even-handed assessment of the scope and limits of what we know about how we think.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Columbia University Press (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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  • Susie Bright
  • 25-02-2020

Our Brains, Ourselves

I recall the 1990s being declared the "decade of the brain." New research in neuroscience was THE hot popular science on bookshelves, newspapers and in classrooms.

Three decades later, this book takes stock of the history of what we know of the brain and new research, experiments, and dead ends in discovery. It notes that research follows established hypotheses so what we've learned is limited, and that brain tissue extends into the whole body so unlike other organs can't be isolated —and may never be fully knowable.

Along the way I was entertained, and dismayed by early experiments (electrodes and angry bulls) and popular theories that turned out to be bunk.

This is SO GOOD, especially with Elizabeth Evans guiding you through these complex ideas. She's a sure hand at delivery: careful, tempered, and funny.

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