"Perception is not something that happens to us, or in us," writes Alva Noë. "It is something we do." In Action in Perception, Noë argues that perception and perceptual consciousness depend on capacities for action and thought—that perception is a kind of thoughtful activity. Touch, not vision, should be our model for perception. Perception is not a process in the brain, but a kind of skillful activity of the body as a whole. We enact our perceptual experience.
This groundbreaking monograph offers a mechanistic theory of the representation and use of semantic knowledge, integrating the strengths and overcoming many of the weaknesses of hierarchical, categorization-based approaches, similarity-based approaches, and the approach often called "theory theory." Building on earlier models by Geoffrey Hinton in the 1980s and David Rumelhart in the early 1990s, the authors propose that performance in semantic tasks arises through the propagation of graded signals in a system of interconnected processing units.
In Seeing and Visualizing, Zenon Pylyshyn argues that seeing is different from thinking and that to see is not, as it may seem intuitively, to create an inner replica of the world. Pylyshyn examines how we see and how we visualize and why the scientific account does not align with the way these processes seem to us "from the inside." In doing so, he addresses issues in vision science, cognitive psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive neuroscience.
In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain—that sensations are brain processes—and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness.
This pioneering study looks at the effects of prenatal testosterone on postnatal development and behavior. Hormonal effects on behavior have long been studied in animals; the unique contribution of this book is to suggest a connection between human fetal hormones and later behavior. It details for the first time testosterone's effect on social and language development, opening a new avenue of research for cognitive neuroscience.
The cognitive disorders that follow brain damage are an important source of insights into the neural bases of human thought. This second edition of the widely acclaimed Patient-Based Approaches to Cognitive Neuroscience offers state-of-the-art reviews of the patient-based approach to central issues in cognitive neuroscience by leaders in the field.
How did the human brain evolve so that consciousness of art could develop? In The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain, Robert Solso describes how a consciousness that evolved for other purposes perceives and creates art. Drawing on his earlier book Cognition and the Visual Arts and ten years of new findings in cognitive research (as well as new ideas in anthropology and art history), Solso shows that consciousness developed gradually, with distinct components that evolved over time.
The event-related potential (ERP) technique in cognitive neuroscience allows scientists to observe human brain activity that reflects specific cognitive processes. In An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique, Steve Luck offers the first comprehensive guide to the practicalities of conducting ERP experiments in cognitive neuroscience and related fields, including affective neuroscience and experimental psychopathology.
The mainstays of brain imaging techniques have been positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and event-related potentials (ERPs). These methods all record direct or indirect measures of brain activity and correlate the activity patterns with behavior.
Head direction cells—neurons that fire only when an animal orients its head in a certain direction—are found in several different brain areas, with different neurons selective for different head orientations; they are influenced by landmarks as well as motor and vestibular information concerning how the head moves through space. These properties suggest that head direction cells play an important role in determining orientation in space and in navigation.