Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind (Fifth Edition)

Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind (Fifth Edition)
  • Author: Michael Gazzaniga
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Genres: Biology
    Publish Date: October 19, 2018
    ISBN-10: 0393603172
    Pages: 657
    File Type: PDF
    Language: English

Book Preface

Fifth Edition! When cognitive neuroscience emerged in the late 1970s, it remained to be see n whether this new field would have “legs.” Today, the answer is clear: the field has blossomed in spectacular fashion. Cognitive neuroscience is well represented at all research universities, providing researchers and graduate students with the tools and opportunities to develop the interdisciplinary research programs that are the mainstay of the field. Multiple journals, some designed to cover the entire field, and others specialized for particular methodologies or research themes, have been launched to provide venues to report the latest findings. The number of papers increases at an exponential rate. The Cognitive Neuroscience Society has also flourished and just celebrated its 25th year.

The fundamental challenge we faced in laying the groundwork for our early editions was to determine the basic principles that make cognitive neuroscience distinct fr om physiological psychology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and neuropsychology. It is now obvious that cognitive neuroscience overlaps with, and synthesizes, these disciplinary approaches as researchers aim to understand the neural bases of cognition. In addition, cognitive neuroscience increasingly informs and is informed by disciplines outside the mind–brain sciences, such as systems science and physics, as exemplified by our new Chapter 14: “T e Consciousness Problem.” As in previous editions of this book, we continue to seek a balance betw ee n psychological theory, with its focus on the mind, and the neuropsychological and neuroscientific evidence about the brain that informs this theory. We make liberal use of patient case studies to illustrate essential points and observations that provide keys to understanding the architecture of cognition, rather than providing an exhaustive description of brain disorders. In every section, we strive to include the most current information and theoretical views, supported by evidence fr om the cutt ing-edge technologies that are such a driving force in cognitive neuroscience. In contrast to purely cognitive or neuropsychological approaches, this text emphasizes the convergence of evidence that is a crucial aspect of any science, particularly studies of higher mental function. To complete the story, we also provide examples of research that uses computational techniques.

Teaching students to think and ask questions like cognitive neuroscientists is a major goal of our text. As cognitive neuroscientists, we examine mind–brain relationships using a wide range of techniques, such as functional and structural brain imaging, neurophysiological recording in animals, human EEG and MEG recording, brain stimulation methods, and analysis of syndromes resulting fr om brain damage. We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of these methods to demonstrate how these techniques must be used in a complementary manner. We want our readers to learn what questions to ask, how to choose the tools and design experiments to answer these questions, and how to evaluate and interpret the results of those experiments. Despite the stunning progress of the neurosciences, the brain remains a great mystery, with each insight inspiring new questions. For this reason, we have not used a declarative sty le of writing throughout the book. Instead, we tend to present results that can be interpreted in more than one way, helping the reader to recognize that alternative interpretations are possible.

Since the first edition, there have bee n many major technological, methodological, and theoretical developments. There has been an explosion of brain-imaging studies; indeed, thousands of functional imaging studies are published each year. New technologies used for noninvasive brain stimulation, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrocorticography, and optogenetics have been added to the arsenal of the cognitive neuroscientist. Fascinating links to genetics, comparative anatomy, computation, and robotics have emerged. Parsing all of these studies and deciding which ones should be included has been a major challenge for us. We firmly believe that technology is a cornerstone of scientific advancement. Thus we have felt it essential to capture the cutting-edge trends in the field, while kee ping in mind that this is an undergraduate survey text.

The first four editions provide compelling evidence that our efforts have led to a highly useful text for undergraduates taking their fi rst course in cognitive neuroscience, as well as a concise reference volume for graduate students and researchers. Over 500 colleges and universities worldwide have adopted the text. Moreover, instructors tell us that in addition to our interdisciplinary approach, they like that our book has a strong narrative voice and offers a manageable number of chapters to teach in a one-semester survey course. With every revised edition including this one, we have had to do some pruning and considerable updating to stay current with all of the developments in the fi eld of cognitive neuroscience. We thought it essential to include new methods and, correspondingly, new insights that these tools have provided into the function of the brain, while being selective in the description of specific experimental results. Th e following table lists the major changes for each chapter.

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