"Gazzaniga, a pioneer in the study of brain-mind relations, provides a highly readable account of what our rapidly accumulating knowledge of the brain implies for the mental processes we live by. The result is a book of enormous interest, written with the broadest possible audience in mind."--George A. Miller, Professor Emeritus Princeton ...
"Gazzaniga, a pioneer in the study of brain-mind relations, provides a highly readable account of what our rapidly accumulating knowledge of the brain implies for the mental processes we live by. The result is a book of enormous interest, written with the broadest possible audience in mind."--George A. Miller, Professor Emeritus Princeton University "While psychologists, philosophers, and neurologists grapple inconclusively with the elusive concept of consciousness, Gazzaniga convincingly places the 'self' in an evolutionary context. . . . Integrating natural selection, brain function, and mind function, Gazzaniga crystallizes and clarifies, sweeping away the confusing rhetoric with a clear account of how we came to be human."--Ira B. Black, M.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical School "A lucid and entertaining book about the mysteries of the human mind. . . . It is the story of how the mind is an evolutionary object just like the beak of a seagull or the wings of a butterfly. Gazzaniga's thesis is that we will not understand the human mind until we grasp this fundamental truth. It is sure to provoke and enlighten. A thoroughly enjoyable, accessible, witty book."--Alfonso Caramazza, Harvard University "A guided tour through the fascinating personalities whose research findings constitute modern cognitive neuroscience."--Michael I. Posner, University of Oregon "This book is about how our experience is a construction of the apparatus of our brain. This is great stuff. The material is fascinating, easy to read, witty, and wise."--Steven Pinker, editor of "How the Mind Works"
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-04-13 Gazzaniga, director of the program in cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth and author of Mind Matters, The Social Brain and Nature's Mind, adds an engaging account of how and why the human brain creates a narrative to explain its experiences. Writing for a popular audience, Gazzaniga relates that a portion of the left brain, which he calls the "interpreter," constantly drives the mind to seek reasons for its convictions no matter how unfounded they may be. An example is given of a woman who suffered from a syndrome that led her to believe she was home while visiting her doctor. When asked how she could explain the elevators in the corridor, she immediately produced a reason: "Doctor, do you know how much it cost me to have those put in?" While Gazzaniga's anecdotes are fascinating, the conclusion he draws from them seems rather unconvincing. Arguing from the standpoint of evolutionary psychology, he asserts that the left brain's incessant ratiocinations function to enhance human beings' reproductive success through sensible reasoning. Gazzaniga's conclusion about the "interpreter" seems analytic, at least in relation to evolutionary theory, which already presupposes that all facets of a species function to promote its reproduction and survival. In fact, Gazzaniga's conclusion stands in contradiction to a basic tenet of his own theoretical framework: namely, that adaptation is not determined by reason but rather by chance. Nonetheless, Gazzaniga's work remains intriguing precisely in its attempt to understand the brain's will toward order and reason, "even when they don't exist." (May)
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