The Entangled Brain
How Perception, Cognition, and Emotion Are Woven Together
A new vision of the brain as a fully integrated, networked organ.
Popular neuroscience accounts often focus on specific mind-brain aspects like addiction, cognition, or memory, but The Entangled Brain tackles a much bigger question: What kind of object is the brain? Neuroscientist Luiz Pessoa describes the brain as a highly networked, interconnected system that cannot be neatly decomposed into a set of independent parts. One can't point to the brain and say, “This is where emotion happens” (or any other mental faculty). Pessoa argues that only by understanding how large-scale neural circuits combine multiple and diverse signals can we truly appreciate how the brain supports the mind.
Presenting the brain as an integrated organ and drawing on neuroscience, computation, systems theory, and evolution, The Entangled Brain explains how brain functions result from cross-cutting brain processing, not the function of segregated areas. Parts of the brain work in a coordinated fashion across large-scale distributed networks in which disparate parts of the cortex and the subcortex work simultaneously to bring about behaviors. Pessoa intuitively explains the concepts needed to formalize this idea of the brain as a complex system and how to unleash powerful understandings built with “collective computations.”
“It's all about complex, entangled networks. That's the theme of this superb book about the brain and its role in generating cognition and behavior. For anyone who wants to learn about the brain and its relationship to the mind, this book is essential reading.”
Evan Thompson, author of Mind in Life and Waking, Dreaming, Being; coauthor of The Embodied Mind
“In this ambitious book, Luiz Pessoa deftly argues the case that the brain is not a modular system that can be understood one region at a time—but rather a complex network of interconnected, interdependent parts. Drawing from comparative neuroanatomy, mathematical biology, and complex systems theory, he convincingly demonstrates that brain regions can participate in specific functions only when embedded within larger networks. In this highly readable work that will appeal to everyone from curious youths to seasoned neuroscientists, he takes on the age-old question: How does the brain work? It turns out, the answer is: It's complicated.”
Lucina Q. Uddin, Professor, University of California Los Angeles
Funding provided by: MIT Press Direct to Open