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).
Each edition of this classic reference has proved to be a benchmark in the developing field of cognitive neuroscience. The fourth edition of The Cognitive Neurosciences continues to chart new directions in the study of the biologic underpinnings of complex cognition—the relationship between the structural and physiological mechanisms of the nervous system and the psychological reality of the mind. The material in this edition is entirely new, with all chapters written specifically for it.
It has long been known that aspects of behavior run in families; studies show that characteristics related to cognition, temperament, and all major psychiatric disorders are heritable. This volume offers a primer on understanding the genetic mechanisms of such inherited traits. It proposes a set of tools--a conceptual basis--for critically evaluating recent studies and offers a survey of results from the latest research in the emerging fields of cognitive genetics and imaging genetics.
Cognitive electrophysiology concerns the study of the brain’s electrical and magnetic responses to both external and internal events. These can be measured using electroencephalograms (EEGs) or magnetoencephalograms (MEGs). With the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), another method of tracking brain signals, the tools and techniques of ERP, EEG and MEG data acquisition and analysis have been developing at a similarly rapid pace, and this book offers an overview of key recent advances in cognitive electrophysiology.
In recent decades, empathy research has blossomed into a vibrant and multidisciplinary field of study. The social neuroscience approach to the subject is premised on the idea that studying empathy at multiple levels (biological, cognitive, and social) will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of how other people’s thoughts and feelings can affect our own thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Dyslexia research has made dramatic progress since the mid-1980s. Once discounted as a “middle-class myth,” dyslexia is now the subject of a complex--and confusing--body of theoretical and empirical research. In Dyslexia, Learning, and the Brain, leading dyslexia researchers Roderick Nicolson and Angela Fawcett provide a uniquely broad and coherent analysis of dyslexia theory.
The publication of the second edition of this handbook testifies to the rapid evolution of developmental cognitive neuroscience as a distinct field. Brain imaging and recording technologies, along with well-defined behavioral tasks—-the essential methodological tools of cognitive neuroscience—are now being used to study development. Technological advances have yielded methods that can be safely used to study structure-function relations and their development in children's brains.
The ultimate goal of the cognitive sciences is to understand how the brain works--how it turns "matter into imagination." In Imagination and the Meaningful Brain, psychoanalyst Arnold Modell claims that subjective human experience must be included in any scientific explanation of how the mind/brain works. Contrary to current attempts to describe mental functioning as a form of computation, his view is that the construction of meaning is not the same as information processing.
The role of genetic inheritance dominates current evolutionary theory. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, several evolutionary theorists independently speculated that learned behaviors could also affect the direction and rate of evolutionary change. This notion was called the Baldwin effect, after the psychologist James Mark Baldwin.
Since Darwin we have known that evolution has shaped all organisms and that biological organs—including the brain and the highly crafted animal nervous system—are subject to the pressures of natural and sexual selection. It is only relatively recently, however, that the cognitive neurosciences have begun to apply evolutionary theory and methods to the study of brain and behavior. This landmark reference documents and defines the emerging field of evolutionary cognitive neuroscience.