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Cognitive Neuroscience

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How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals

In Plato's Camera, eminent philosopher Paul Churchland offers a novel account of how the brain constructs a representation—or "takes a picture"—of the universe’s timeless categorical and dynamical structure. This construction process, which begins at birth, yields the enduring background conceptual framework with which we will interpret our sensory experience for the rest of our lives. But, as even Plato knew, to make singular perceptual judgments requires that we possess an antecedent framework of abstract categories to which any perceived particular can be relevantly assimilated.

This volume offers a range of perspectives on a simple problem: How does the brain choose efficiently and adaptively among options to ensure coherent, goal-directed behavior? The contributors, from fields as varied as anatomy, psychology, learning theory, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, behavioral economics, and computational modeling, present an overview of key approaches in the study of cognitive control and decision making.

Contemporary Issues in Comparative Cognition

Do animals have cognitive maps? Do they possess knowledge? Do they plan for the future? Do they understand that others have mental lives of their own? This volume provides a state-of-the-art assessment of animal cognition, with experts from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, ecology, and evolutionary biology addressing these questions in an integrative fashion. It summarizes the latest research, identifies areas where consensus has been reached, and takes on current controversies.

Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) suffer most visibly with such motor deficits as tremor and rigidity and less obviously with a range of nonmotor symptoms, including autonomic dysfunction, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment. The neuropsychiatric disturbances of PD can be as disabling as its motor disorders; but they have only recently begun to be studied intensively by clinicians and scientists.

A Critical Appraisal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience explores the relationship between our minds and our brains, most recently by drawing on brain imaging techniques to align neural mechanisms with psychological processes. In Mind and Brain, William Uttal offers a critical review of cognitive neuroscience, examining both its history and modern developments in the field. He pays particular attention to the role of brain imaging--especially functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)--in studying the mind-brain relationship.

In The Self-Organizing Social Mind, John Bolender proposes a new explanation for the forms of social relations. He argues that the core of social-relational cognition exhibits beauty—in the physicist’s sense of the word, associated with symmetry. Bolender describes a fundamental set of patterns in interpersonal cognition, which account for the resulting structures of social life in terms of their symmetries and the breaking of those symmetries.

The Mental Processes of Communication

In Cognitive Pragmatics, Bruno Bara offers a theory of human communication that is both formalized through logic and empirically validated through experimental data and clinical studies. Bara argues that communication is a cooperative activity in which two or more agents together consciously and intentionally construct the meaning of their interaction. In true communication (which Bara distinguishes from the mere transmission of information), all the actors must share a set of mental states.

A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action
Edited by Brian Bruya

This is the first book to explore the cognitive science of effortless attention and action. Attention and action are generally understood to require effort, and the expectation is that under normal circumstances effort increases to meet rising demand. Sometimes, however, attention and action seem to flow effortlessly despite high demand. Effortless attention and action have been documented across a range of normal activities—ranging from rock climbing to chess playing—and yet fundamental questions about the cognitive science of effortlessness have gone largely unasked.

A Tribute to Michael S. Gazzaniga

These essays on a range of topics in the cognitive neurosciences report on the progress in the field over the twenty years of its existence and reflect the many groundbreaking scientific contributions and enduring influence of Michael Gazzaniga, "the godfather of cognitive neuroscience"—founder of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, founding editor of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and editor of the major reference work, The Cognitive Neurosciences, now in its fourth edition (MIT Press, 2009).

Intention was seen traditionally as a philosophical concept, before being debated more recently from psychological and social perspectives. Today the cognitive sciences approach intention empirically, at the level of its underlying mechanisms. This naturalization of intention makes it more concrete and graspable by empirical sciences. This volume offers an interdisciplinary integration of current research on intentional processes naturalized through action, drawing on the theoretical and empirical approaches of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

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