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Hardcover | Out of Print | 376 pp. | 6 x 9 in | March 1999 | ISBN: 9780262194068
Paperback | $31.00 X | £25.95 | 376 pp. | 6 x 9 in | February 2000 | ISBN: 9780262692366
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The Mind within the Net

Models of Learning, Thinking, and Acting


How does the brain work? How do billions of neurons bring about ideas, sensations, emotions, and actions? Why do children learn faster than elderly people? What can go wrong in perception, thinking, learning, and acting? Scientists now use computer models to help us to understand the most private and human experiences. In The Mind Within the Net, Manfred Spitzer shows how these models can fundamentally change how we think about learning, creativity, thinking, and acting, as well as such matters as schools, retirement homes, politics, and mental disorders.

Neurophysiology has told us a lot about how neurons work; neural network theory is about how neurons work together to process information. In this highly readable book, Spitzer provides a basic, nonmathematical introduction to neural networks and their clinical applications. Part I explains the fundamental theory of neural networks and how neural network models work. Part II covers the principles of network functioning and how computer simulations of neural networks have profound consequences for our understanding of how the brain works. Part III covers applications of network models (e.g., to knowledge representation, language, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease) that shed new light on normal and abnormal states of mind. Finally, Spitzer concludes with his thoughts on the ramifications of neural networks for the understanding of neuropsychology and human nature.


“Spitzer ... has written a highly readable introduction to 'traditional' neural-net models....”—Nature
“Seductive on-screen views of brain activity open up a closed realm by rendering the mind visible. A new enlightenment beckons. A new stupidity, too, a new confusion of the moral and mechanical, if we don't listen carefully to sane and discriminating voices like Spitzer's.”—Daily Telegraph