An essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology. In 1992, a group of neuroscientists from Parma, Italy, reported a new class of brain cells discovered in the motor cortex of the macaque monkey. These cells, later dubbed mirror neurons, responded equally well during the monkey’s own motor actions, such as grabbing an object, and while the monkey watched someone else perform similar motor actions. Researchers speculated that the neurons allowed the monkey to understand others by simulating their actions in its own brain. Mirror neurons soon jumped species and took human neuroscience and psychology by storm. In the late 1990s theorists showed how the cells provided an elegantly simple new way to explain the evolution of language, the development of human empathy, and the neural foundation of autism. In the years that followed, a stream of scientific studies implicated mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning.In The Myth of Mirror Neurons, neuroscientist Gregory Hickok reexamines the mirror neuron story and finds that it is built on a tenuous foundation―a pair of codependent assumptions about mirror neuron activity and human understanding. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts. He then explores alternative explanations of mirror neuron function while illuminating crucial questions about human cognition and brain function: Why do humans imitate so prodigiously? How different are the left and right hemispheres of the brain? Why do we have two visual systems? Do we need to be able to talk to understand speech? What’s going wrong in autism? Can humans read minds?The Myth of Mirror Neurons not only delivers an instructive tale about the course of scientific progress―from discovery to theory to revision―but also provides deep insights into the organization and function of the human brain and the nature of communication and cognition. 7 illustrations
|Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others|
by Marco Iacoboni (Author)
Includes a new Afterword by the Author
What accounts for our remarkable ability to get inside another person's head--to know what he or she is thinking and feeling? Marco Iacoboni, a leading neuroscientist, explains the groundbreaking research into mirror neurons, the "smart cells" in our brain that allow us to understand others. From imitation to morality, from political affiliations to consumer choices, mirror neurons are relevant to myriad aspects of social cognition....
|Cognitive Neuroscience of Language|
by David Kemmerer (Author)
Language is one of our most precious and uniquely human capacities, so it is not surprising that research on its neural substrates has been advancing quite rapidly in recent years. Until now, however, there has not been a single introductory textbook that focuses specifically on this topic.
Cognitive Neuroscience of Language fills that gap by providing an up-to-date, wide-ranging, and pedagogically practical survey of the most important developments in the field. It guides...
|Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts|
by Stanislas Dehaene (Author)
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...
|Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience|
by Sally Satel (Author), Scott O. Lilienfeld (Author)
What can't neuroscience tell us about ourselves? Since fMRIfunctional magnetic resonance imagingwas introduced in the early 1990s, brain scans have been used to help politicians understand and manipulate voters, determine guilt in court cases, and make sense of everything from musical aptitude to romantic love. But although brain scans and other neurotechnologies have provided groundbreaking insights into the workings of the human brain, the increasingly fashionable idea that they...
|How the Brain Got Language: The Mirror System Hypothesis (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)|
by Michael A. Arbib (Author)
Unlike any other species, humans can learn and use language. This book explains how the brain evolved to make language possible, through what Michael Arbib calls the Mirror System Hypothesis. Because of mirror neurons, monkeys, chimps, and humans can learn by imitation, but only "complex imitation," which humans exhibit, is powerful enough to support the breakthrough to language. This theory provides a path from the openness of manual gesture, which we share with nonhuman primates, through the...
|How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain|
by Lisa Feldman Barrett (Author)
A new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind
Emotions feel automatic, like uncontrollable reactions to things we think and experience. Scientists have long supported this assumption by claiming that emotions are hardwired in the body or the brain. Today, however, the science of emotion is in the midst of a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in...
|Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety|
by Joseph LeDoux (Author)
“[Anxious] helps to explain and prevent the kinds of debilitating anxieties all of us face in this increasingly stressful world.” —Daniel J. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind and This Is Your Brain On Music
A comprehensive and accessible exploration of anxiety, from a leading neuroscientist and the author of Synaptic Self
Collectively, anxiety disorders are our most prevalent psychiatric problem, affecting about forty million...
|The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human|
by V. S. Ramachandran (Author)
"A profound intriguing and compelling guide to the intricacies of the human brain." ―Oliver Sacks In this landmark work, V. S. Ramachandran investigates strange, unforgettable cases―from patients who believe they are dead to sufferers of phantom limb syndrome. With a storyteller’s eye for compelling case studies and a researcher’s flair for new approaches to age-old questions, Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in brain science,...
|Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal|
by Larry W. Swanson (Author), Eric Newman (Author), Alfonso Araque (Author), Janet M. Dubinsky (Author)
At the crossroads of art and science, Beautiful Brain presents Nobel Laureate Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s contributions to neuroscience through his groundbreaking artistic brain imagery.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934) was the father of modern neuroscience and an exceptional artist. He devoted his life to the anatomy of the brain, the body’s most complex and mysterious organ. His superhuman feats of visualization, based on fanatically precise techniques and...
|Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered|
by Bruce Perry (Author), Maia Szalavitz (Author)
“Bruce Perry is both a world-class creative scientist and a compassionate therapist.”
—Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
Born for Love is the definitive book...