The Cerebral Code
The Cerebral Code is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes could operate in the brain to shape mental images in only seconds, starting with shuffled memories no better than the jumble of our nighttime dreams, but evolving into something of quality, such as a sentence to speak aloud. Jung said that dreaming goes on continuously but you can't see it when you are awake, just as you can't see the stars in the daylight because it is too bright. Calvin's is a theory for what goes on, hidden from view by the glare of waking mental operations, that produces our peculiarly human type of consciousness with its versatile intelligence.
As Piaget emphasized in 1929, intelligence is what we use when we don't know what to do, when we have to grope rather than using a standard response. Calvin tackles a mechanism for doing this exploration and improvement offline, as we think before we act or practice the art of good guessing.
Surprisingly, the subtitle's mosaics of the mind is not a literary metaphor. For the first time, it is a description of a mechanism of what appears to be an appropriate level of explanation for many mental phenomena, that of hexagonal mosaics of electrical activity that compete for territory in the association cortex of the brain. This two-dimensional mosaic is predicted to grow and dissolve much as the sugar crystals do in the bottom of a supersaturated glass of iced tea.
A Bradford Book
About the Author
William H. Calvin is Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle. His books include The Cerebral Code (MIT Press, 1996).
—David G. King, Anatomy, School of Medicine, and Zoology, College of Science Southern Illinois University
—Theodore H. Bullock, Professor, Department of Neurosciences, University of California
—V.S. Ramachandran M.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, UCSD
—Walter J. Freeman, Professor of the Graduate School, University of California at Berkeley
—Richard Cooper, The Times Higher Education Supplement