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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook narrated by Anand Jagatia tells the extraordinary story of a neural impulse and what it reveals about how our brains work.

We see the last cookie in the box and think, can I take that? We reach a hand out. In the 2.1 seconds that this impulse travels through our brain, billions of neurons communicate with one another, sending blips of voltage through our sensory and motor regions. Neuroscientists call these blips “spikes”. Spikes enable us to do everything: talk, eat, run, see, plan, and decide. In The Spike, Mark Humphries takes listeners on the epic journey of a spike through a single, brief reaction. In vivid language, Humphries tells the story of what happens in our brain, what we know about spikes, and what we still have left to understand about them.

Drawing on decades of research in neuroscience, Humphries explores how spikes are born, how they are transmitted, and how they lead us to action. He dives into previously unanswered mysteries: Why are most neurons silent? What causes neurons to fire spikes spontaneously, without input from other neurons or the outside world? Why do most spikes fail to reach any destination? Humphries presents a new vision of the brain, one where fundamental computations are carried out by spontaneous spikes that predict what will happen in the world, helping us to perceive, decide, and react quickly enough for our survival.

Traversing neuroscience’s expansive terrain, The Spike follows a single electrical response to illuminate how our extraordinary brains work.

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

©2021 Mark Humphries (P)2021 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"The Spike gives a brilliant overview of our current understanding of brain function, from perception to action, based on our knowledge of systems neuroscience. Conveying ideas and concepts with impressive clarity, Humphries covers an astonishing amount of scientific literature. A joy to read." (Matthias Hennig, University of Edinburgh)

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Profile Image for Philip Savva
  • Philip Savva
  • 10-08-2021

New stuff, hooray !!

Fantastic, electric brain, prediction...
The roll of the brainstem esp. in decisions is a blank though. Brainstem was mentioned once. I tried, but could not find it. Brainstems role seems fundamental. Mark Solms Hidden Spring, is HUMAN CONCIOUSNESS EXPLAINED.
Anyone reading the hundreds of great Audible Science books knows when a blockbuster is out. Seeing hundreds of human conciousness books all agape at the impossibilities of defining this great mystery, why no response?? Not even an acknowledgment.

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Profile Image for Tam Hunt
  • Tam Hunt
  • 28-08-2021

Great overview of what we know about the spike code

The punchline at the end however is surprising: we know almost nothing about the spike code and human consciousness. A strange omission in the book was not even a mention of EEG and measuring the brains local and global electrical fields that are related to but different than the spike code. He mentions fMRI which measure blood flows through the brain. But nothing about EEG or the likelihood that the brain’s large scale electric fields play a role in function and consciousness.

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