Agency is a central psychological phenomenon that must be accounted for in any explanatory framework of human action. According to the diverse group of scholars, researchers, and clinicians who have contributed chapters to this book, psychological agency is not a fixed entity that conforms to traditional definitions of free will but an affective, embodied, and relational processing of human experience. Agency is dependent on the biological, social, and cultural contexts that inform and shape who we are.
The now-popular idea that emotions have an intelligent core (and the reverse, that intelligence has an emotional core) comes from the neurosciences and psychology. Similarly, the fundamental sexualization of the brain—the new interest in "essential differences" in male and female brains and behaviors—is based on neuroscience research and neuroimages of emotions.
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 explanatory power of economic theory is tested by the phenomenon of irrational consumption, examples of which include such addictive behaviors as disordered and pathological gambling. Midbrain Mutiny examines different economic models of disordered gambling, using the frameworks of neuroeconomics (which analyzes decision making in the brain) and picoeconomics (which analyzes patterns of consumption behavior), and drawing on empirical evidence about behavior and the brain.
This collection of foundational papers on sex differences in the brain traces the development of a much-invoked, fast-growing young field at the intersection of brain and behavior. The reader is introduced to the meaning and nature of sexual dimorphisms, the mechanisms and consequences of steroid hormone action, and the impact of the field on interpretations of sexuality and gender.
Although fatigue has been actively investigated for more than 100 years, we have progressed little in either its theoretical or practical understanding. Fatigue has been considered to be both a symptom and an illness. Fatigue is a primary reason for patient visits to the physician's office, but it is difficult to measure and offers doctors little important information for diagnosis.
Some neurological patients exhibit a striking tendency to confabulate—to construct false answers to a question while genuinely believing that they are telling the truth. A stroke victim, for example, will describe in detail a conference he attended over the weekend when in fact he has not left the hospital. Normal people, too, sometimes have a tendency to confabulate; rather than admitting "I don't know," some people will make up an answer or an explanation and express it with complete conviction.
Why do we divide our world into contraries? Why do we perceive and interpret so many of life's contraries as mutually exclusive, either/or dichotomies such as individual~collective, self~other, body~mind, nature~nurture, cooperation~competition? Throughout history, many have recognized that truth may well lie in between such polar opposites.
Interest in status epilepticus—the most extreme form of epilepsy, involving continuous seizures—has surged in the last 20 years. Since 1979 there have been over 4,000 publications on the subject, including more than 1,700 in the last five years. No other text provides such a comprehensive review of the recent advances in the field of status epilepticus.