Jay Schulkin

Jay Schulkin is Research Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University, where he is also a member of the Center for the Brain Basis of Cognition.

  • Missed Information

    Missed Information

    Better Information for Building a Wealthier, More Sustainable Future

    David Sarokin and Jay Schulkin

    How better information and better access to it improves the quality of our decisions and makes for a more vibrant participatory society.

    Information is power. It drives commerce, protects nations, and forms the backbone of systems that range from health care to high finance. Yet despite the avalanche of data available in today's information age, neither institutions nor individuals get the information they truly need to make well-informed decisions. Faulty information and sub-optimal decision-making create an imbalance of power that is exaggerated as governments and corporations amass enormous databases on each of us. Who has more power: the government, in possession of uncounted terabytes of data (some of it obtained by cybersnooping), or the ordinary citizen, trying to get in touch with a government agency? In Missed Information, David Sarokin and Jay Schulkin explore information—not information technology, but information itself—as a central part of our lives and institutions. They show that providing better information and better access to it improves the quality of our decisions and makes for a more vibrant participatory society.

    Sarokin and Schulkin argue that freely flowing information helps systems run more efficiently and that incomplete information does just the opposite. It's easier to comparison shop for microwave ovens than for doctors or hospitals because of information gaps that hinder the entire health-care system. Better information about such social ills as child labor and pollution can help consumers support more sustainable products. The authors examine the opacity of corporate annual reports, the impenetrability of government secrets, and emerging techniques of “information foraging.” The information imbalance of power can be reconfigured, they argue, with greater and more meaningful transparency from government and corporations.

    • Hardcover $19.95 £15.99
    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99
  • Rethinking Homeostasis

    Rethinking Homeostasis

    Allostatic Regulation in Physiology and Pathophysiology

    Jay Schulkin

    An overview of allostasis, the process by which the body maintains overall viability under normal and adverse conditions.

    Homeostasis, a key concept in biology, refers to the tendency toward stability in the various bodily states that make up the internal environment. Examples include temperature regulation and oxygen consumption. The body's needs, however, do not remain constant. When an organism is under stress, the central nervous system works with the endocrine system to use resources to maintain the overall viability of the organism. The process accelerates the various systems' defenses of bodily viability, but can violate short-term homeostasis. This allostatic regulation highlights our ability to anticipate, adapt to, and cope with impending future events.

    In Rethinking Homeostasis, Jay Schulkin defines and explores many aspects of allostasis, including the wear and tear on tissues and accelerated pathophysiology caused by allostatic overload. Focusing on the concept of motivation and its relationship to the central nervous system function and specific hormonal systems, he applies a neuroendocrine perspective to central motive states such as cravings for water, sodium, food, sex, and drugs. He examines in detail the bodily consequences of the behavioral and neuroendocrine regulation of fear and adversity, the endocrine regulation of normal and preterm birth, and the effects of drug addiction on the body. Schulkin's presentation of allostasis lays the foundation for further study.

    • Hardcover $11.75 £9.99
    • Paperback $45.00 £38.00
  • Roots of Social Sensibility and Neural Function

    Roots of Social Sensibility and Neural Function

    Jay Schulkin

    We are social animals, with evolved mechanisms to discern the beliefs and desires of others. This social reason is linked to the concept of intentionality, the ability to attribute beliefs and desires to others. In this book Jay Schulkin explores social reason from philosophical, psychological, and cognitive neuroscientific perspectives. He argues for a pragmatist approach, in which the role of experience—that is, interaction with others—is central to any consideration of action in the social world. Unlike some philosophers of mind, Jay Schulkin considers social reason to be a real feature of the information processing system in the brain, in addition to a useful cognitive tool in predicting behavior. Throughout the book, he incorporates neurobiological evidence for a domain-specific system for social cognition.

    Topics covered include the centrality of intentional attribution to social cognition, the rise of cognitive science in the twentieth century, the functional argument for the role of experience, intentional understanding in nonhuman primates, theory of mind and natural kinds in children, autism as a disorder of theory of mind, and the integration of emotions into theory of mind.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00

Contributor

  • Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions

    Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions

    Envisioning Health Care 2020

    Gerd Gigerenzer and J.A. Muir Gray

    How eliminating “risk illiteracy” among doctors and patients will lead to better health care decision making.

    Contrary to popular opinion, one of the main problems in providing uniformly excellent health care is not lack of money but lack of knowledge—on the part of both doctors and patients. The studies in this book show that many doctors and most patients do not understand the available medical evidence. Both patients and doctors are “risk illiterate”—frequently unable to tell the difference between actual risk and relative risk. Further, unwarranted disparity in treatment decisions is the rule rather than the exception in the United States and Europe. All of this contributes to much wasted spending in health care.

    The contributors to Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions investigate the roots of the problem, from the emphasis in medical research on technology and blockbuster drugs to the lack of education for both doctors and patients. They call for a new, more enlightened health care, with better medical education, journals that report study outcomes completely and transparently, and patients in control of their personal medical records, not afraid of statistics but able to use them to make informed decisions about their treatments.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00