Experts review the latest research on the neocortex and consider potential directions for future research.
Over the past decade, technological advances have dramatically increased information on the structural and functional organization of the brain, especially the cerebral cortex. This explosion of data has radically expanded our ability to characterize neural circuits and intervene at increasingly higher resolutions, but it is unclear how this has informed our understanding of underlying mechanisms and processes.
In search of a conceptual framework to guide future research, leading researchers address in this volume the evolution and ontogenetic development of cortical structures, the cortical connectome, and functional properties of neuronal circuits and populations. They explore what constitutes “uniquely human” mental capacities and whether neural solutions and computations can be shared across species or repurposed for potentially uniquely human capacities.
Contributors Danielle S. Bassett, Randy M. Bruno, Elizabeth A. Buffalo, Michael E. Coulter, Hermann Cuntz, Stanislas Dehaene, James J. DiCarlo, Pascal Fries, Karl J. Friston, Asif A. Ghazanfar, Anne-Lise Giraud, Joshua I. Gold, Scott T. Grafton, Jennifer M. Groh, Elizabeth A. Grove, Saskia Haegens, Kenneth D. Harris, Kristen M. Harris, Nicholas G. Hatsopoulos, Tarik F. Haydar, Takao K. Hensch, Wieland B. Huttner, Matthias Kaschube, Gilles Laurent, David A. Leopold, Johannes Leugering, Belen Lorente-Galdos, Jason N. MacLean, David A. McCormick, Lucia Melloni, Anish Mitra, Zoltán Molnár, Sydney K. Muchnik, Pascal Nieters, Marcel Oberlaender, Bijan Pesaran, Christopher I. Petkov, Gordon Pipa, David Poeppel, Marcus E. Raichle, Pasko Rakic, John H. Reynolds, Ryan V. Raut, John L. Rubenstein, Andrew B. Schwartz, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Nenad Sestan, Debra L. Silver, Wolf Singer, Peter L. Strick, Michael P. Stryker, Mriganka Sur, Mary Elizabeth Sutherland, Maria Antonietta Tosches, William A. Tyler, Martin Vinck, Christopher A. Walsh, Perry Zurn
Wolf Singer is Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Founding Director of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in cooperation with the Max Planck Society, where he is also Senior Research Fellow. He is the coauthor of Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience (MIT Press).
Terrence J. Sejnowski is the Francis Crick Chair at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and is Distinguished Professor at the University of California at San Diego. He has published over 500 scientific papers and 12 books, including The Computational Brain, with Patricia Churchland. He was instrumental in shaping the BRAIN Initiative that was announced by the White House in 2013, and he received the prestigious Gruber Prize in Neuroscience in 2022.
This wonderfully deep and broad book is a fantastic milestone on our long and winding road to understanding the neocortex. Its predecessor (Neurobiology of Neocortex, 1988) defined much of the territory that was initially covered over the decades that separate the two; this volume is poised to serve exactly the same critical purpose for many years to come. The workshop it reports on brought together some of the very best scientists across the multitude of fields and specialties that relate to this fascinating and enigmatic structure. The result, particularly reflected in the four summary chapters, is a multidisciplinary tour de force. You'll wish you had been there.
Peter Dayan, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics; coauthor of Theoretical Neuroscience
The Neocortex is bold in its scope and breathtaking in its implications for how we understand the brain. It describes our state-of-the art understanding of the human brain's mind-boggling sophistication, from cells to systems, and provides provocative analyses of human singularity, brain–behavior links, and the nature of mind and brain in an increasingly digital world. This book is sure to become a classic reference for neuroscientists and cognitive scientists. It is at once a testament to the brilliant discoveries of the last decades and a pointer to future breakthroughs in the making.
Patricia Kuhl, Codirector, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington; coauthor of The Scientist in the Crib and Developing Minds in the Digital Age