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Hardcover | $60.00 X | £49.95 | 424 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 100 b&w illus., 15 color plates | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262014694
Paperback | $38.00 Short | £31.95 | 424 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 100 b&w illus., 15 color plates | February 2016 | ISBN: 9780262528986
eBook | $27.00 Short | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262290272
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Networks of the Brain


Over the last decade, the study of complex networks has expanded across diverse scientific fields. Increasingly, science is concerned with the structure, behavior, and evolution of complex systems ranging from cells to ecosystems. In Networks of the Brain, Olaf Sporns describes how the integrative nature of brain function can be illuminated from a complex network perspective.

Highlighting the many emerging points of contact between neuroscience and network science, the book serves to introduce network theory to neuroscientists and neuroscience to those working on theoretical network models. Sporns emphasizes how networks connect levels of organization in the brain and how they link structure to function, offering an informal and nonmathematical treatment of the subject. Networks of the Brain provides a synthesis of the sciences of complex networks and the brain that will be an essential foundation for future research.

About the Author

Olaf Sporns is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Adjunct Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing, Codirector of the Indiana University Network Science Institute, a member of the programs in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and Head of the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Indiana University Bloomington.

Table of Contents

  • Networks of the Brain
  • Networks of the Brain
  • Olaf Sporns
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2011
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • For information about special quantity discounts, please email .edu
  • This book was set in Syntax and Times Roman by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Sporns, Olaf.
  • Networks of the brain / Olaf Sporns.
  •  p.; cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978–0-262–01469–4 (hardcover: alk. paper) 1. Neural networks (Neurobiology)  I. Title.
  • [DNLM: 1. Brain—physiology. 2. Nerve Net. WL 300 S764n 2011]
  • QP363.3.S56 2011
  • 612.8—dc22
  • 2010006957
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • For Anita
  • Contents
  • Preface ix
  • 1 Introduction:
  • Why Networks? 1
  • 2 Network Measures and Architectures 5
  • 3 Brain Networks:
  • Structure and Dynamics 31
  • 4 A Network Perspective on Neuroanatomy 51
  • 5 Mapping Cells, Circuits, and Systems 75
  • 6 The Brain’s Small World:
  • Motifs, Modules, and Hubs 101
  • 7 Economy, Efficiency, and Evolution 127
  • 8 Dynamic Patterns in Spontaneous Neural Activity 149
  • 9 Networks for Cognition 179
  • 10 Brain Network Disease 207
  • 11 Network Growth and Development 233
  • 12 Dynamics:
  • Stability and Diversity 255
  • 13 Neural Complexity 277
  • 14 Brain and Body 305
  • Network Glossary 327
  • Notes 331
  • References 347
  • Index 389


“[Networks of the Brain]'s most important contribution lies in connecting neuroscience with the science of networks.... This is where we should be looking for solutions to the great mysteries of life and the mind.”—American Scientist
Networks of the Brain is a unique resource. It defines the nature and scope of one of the newest and most exciting research programs in cognitive neuroscience.”—Minds & Machines
“If you have not discovered this book yet, take a look. Highly recommended. Fascinating.”— Complexity and Social Networks Blog


“In Networks of the Brain, Olaf Sporns synthesizes two of the most exciting topics in science today and links the latest breakthroughs to their deep historical roots. A graceful, authoritative, and fascinating book.”
Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and author of Sync
“Sporns's book is a very important and scholarly contribution to our understanding of brain function. It offers a view of neuroscience that is breathtakingly broad and provides just the sort of perspective needed if we are to integrate knowledge of form cells, social groups, and everything in between. It lays out the evidence for a real paradigm shift in how we must pursue our understanding of the brain’s workings.”
Marcus Raichle, Professor of Radiology, Neurology, Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
“This excellent book instills a sense of excitement about understanding the brain in terms of network theory. Despite the fact it does not contain a single equation, one comes away from Sporns's book with a sense of insight and perspective rarely attained by treatments of this sort. In short, this is a resource of conceptual treasures for anyone interested in a modern understanding of the brain. It will be appreciated by students and seasoned academics alike.”
Karl Friston, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London
“Written engagingly by a master at the top of his game, Sporns's book unites neural structure, function, connectivity, and dynamics into a single, quantitative, and coherent framework—brain network science that goes a long way toward understanding the dynamic patterns of the brain that underlie behavior and cognition. Essential for the transdisciplinary neuroscientist of the future.”
J.A. Scott Kelso, author of Dynamic Patterns: The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior and The Complementary Nature


Honorable Mention, 2010 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) in the Biomedicine and Neuroscience category.