Wolf Singer

Wolf Singer is Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Founding Director of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in cooperation with the Max Planck Society, where he is also Senior Research Fellow. He is the coauthor of Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience (MIT Press).

  • The Neocortex

    Wolf Singer, Terrence J. Sejnowski, and Pasko Rakic

    Experts review the latest research on the neocortex and consider potential directions for future research.

    Over the past decade, technological advances have dramatically increased information on the structural and functional organization of the brain, especially the cerebral cortex. This explosion of data has radically expanded our ability to characterize neural circuits and intervene at increasingly higher resolutions, but it is unclear how has this informed our understanding of underlying mechanisms and processes.

    In search of a conceptual framework to guide future research, leading researchers address in this volume the evolution and ontogenetic development of cortical structures, the cortical connectome, and functional properties of neuronal circuits and populations. They explore what constitutes “uniquely human” mental capacities and whether neural solutions and computations can be shared across species or repurposed for potentially uniquely human capacities.

    Contributors Danielle S. Bassett, Randy M. Bruno, Elizabeth A. Buffalo, Michael E. Coulter, Hermann Cuntz, Stanislas Dehaene, James DiCarlo, Pascal Fries, Karl J. Friston, Asif A. Ghazanfar, Anne-Lise Giraud, Joshua I. Gold, Scott T. Grafton, Jennifer M. Groh, Elizabeth A. Grove, Saskia Haegens, Kenneth D. Harris, Kristen M. Harris, Nicholas G. Hatsopoulos, Tarik F. Haydar, Takao K. Hensch, Wieland B. Huttner, Matthias Kaschube, Gilles Laurent, David A. Leopold, Johannes Leugering, Belen Lorente-Galdos, Jason N. MacLean, David A. McCormick, Lucia Melloni, Anish Mitra, Zoltán Molnár, Sydney K. Muchnik, Pascal Nieters, Marcel Oberlaender, Bijan Pesaran, Christopher I. Petkov, Gordon Pipa, David Poeppel, Marcus E. Raichle, Pasko Rakic, John H. Reynolds, Ryan V. Raut, John L. Rubenstein, Andrew B. Schwartz, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Nenad Sestan, Debra L. Silver, Wolf Singer, Peter L. Strick, Michael P. Stryker, Mriganka Sur, Mary Elizabeth Sutherland, Maria Antonietta Tosches, William A. Tyler, Martin Vinck, Christopher A. Walsh, Perry Zurn

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00
  • Beyond the Self

    Beyond the Self

    Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience

    Matthieu Ricard and Wolf Singer

    Converging and diverging views on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, perception, meditation, and other topics.

    Buddhism shares with science the task of examining the mind empirically; it has pursued, for two millennia, direct investigation of the mind through penetrating introspection. Neuroscience, on the other hand, relies on third-person knowledge in the form of scientific observation. In this book, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—close friends, continuing an ongoing dialogue—offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity.

    Ricard and Singer's wide-ranging conversation stages an enlightening and engaging encounter between Buddhism's wealth of experiential findings and neuroscience's abundance of experimental results. They discuss, among many other things, the difference between rumination and meditation (rumination is the scourge of meditation, but psychotherapy depends on it); the distinction between pure awareness and its contents; the Buddhist idea (or lack of one) of the unconscious and neuroscience's precise criteria for conscious and unconscious processes; and the commonalities between cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation. Their views diverge (Ricard asserts that the third-person approach will never encounter consciousness as a primary experience) and converge (Singer points out that the neuroscientific understanding of perception as reconstruction is very like the Buddhist all-discriminating wisdom) but both keep their vision trained on understanding fundamental aspects of human life.

    • Hardcover $29.95 £24.00
    • Paperback $17.95 £13.99
  • Dynamic Coordination in the Brain

    Dynamic Coordination in the Brain

    From Neurons to Mind

    Christoph von der Malsburg, William A. Phillips, and Wolf Singer

    An examination of how widely distributed and specialized activities of the brain are flexibly and effectively coordinated.

    A fundamental shift is occurring in neuroscience and related disciplines. In the past, researchers focused on functional specialization of the brain, discovering complex processing strategies based on convergence and divergence in slowly adapting anatomical architectures. Yet for the brain to cope with ever-changing and unpredictable circumstances, it needs strategies with richer interactive short-term dynamics. Recent research has revealed ways in which the brain effectively coordinates widely distributed and specialized activities to meet the needs of the moment. This book explores these findings, examining the functions, mechanisms, and manifestations of distributed dynamical coordination in the brain and mind across different species and levels of organization. The book identifies three basic functions of dynamic coordination: contextual disambiguation, dynamic grouping, and dynamic routing. It considers the role of dynamic coordination in temporally structured activity and explores these issues at different levels, from synaptic and local circuit mechanisms to macroscopic system dynamics, emphasizing their importance for cognition, behavior, and psychopathology.

    Contributors Evan Balaban, György Buzsáki, Nicola S. Clayton, Maurizio Corbetta, Robert Desimone, Kamran Diba, Shimon Edelman, Andreas K. Engel, Yves Fregnac, Pascal Fries, Karl Friston, Ann Graybiel, Sten Grillner, Uri Grodzinski, John-Dylan Haynes, Laurent Itti, Erich D. Jarvis, Jon H. Kaas, J.A. Scott Kelso, Peter König, Nancy J. Kopell, Ilona Kovács, Andreas Kreiter, Anders Lansner, Gilles Laurent, Jörg Lücke, Mikael Lundqvist, Angus MacDonald, Kevan Martin, Mayank Mehta, Lucia Melloni, Earl K. Miller, Bita Moghaddam, Hannah Monyer, Edvard I. Moser, May-Britt Moser, Danko Nikolic, William A. Phillips, Gordon Pipa, Constantin Rothkopf, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Steven M. Silverstein, Wolf Singer, Catherine Tallon-Baudry, Roger D. Traub, Jochen Triesch, Peter Uhlhaas, Christoph von der Malsburg, Thomas Weisswange, Miles Whittington, Matthew Wilson

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
  • Better Than Conscious?

    Better Than Conscious?

    DECISION MAKING, the HUMAN MIND, and IMPLICATIONS FOR INSTITUTIONS

    Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer

    Experts discuss the implications of the ways humans reach decisions through the conscious and subconscious processing of information.

    Conscious control enables human decision makers to override routines, to exercise willpower, to find innovative solutions, to learn by instruction, to decide collectively, and to justify their choices. These and many more advantages, however, come at a price: the ability to process information consciously is severely limited and conscious decision makers are liable to hundreds of biases. Measured against the norms of rational choice theory, conscious decision makers perform poorly. But if people forego conscious control, in appropriate tasks, they perform surprisingly better: they handle vast amounts of information; they update prior information; they find appropriate solutions to ill-defined problems.

    This inaugural Strüngmann Forum Report explores the human ability to make decisions, consciously as well as without conscious control. It explores decision-making strategies, including deliberate and intuitive; explicit and implicit; processing information serially and in parallel, with a general-purpose apparatus, or with task-specific neural subsystems. The analysis is at four levels—neural, psychological, evolutionary, and institutional—and the discussion is extended to the definition of social problems and the design of better institutional interventions. The results presented differ greatly from what could be expected under standard rational choice theory and deviate even more from the alternate behavioral view of institutions. New challenges emerge (for example, the issue of free will) and some purported social problems almost disappear if one adopts a more adequate model of human decision making.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £8.95

Contributor

  • Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Philosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century

    Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt

    A unique interdisciplinary collection of papers and commentaries by leading researchers and rising scholars, representing the latest research on consciousness, mind, and brain.

    This collection offers the most comprehensive collection on consciousness, brain, and mind available. It gathers 39 original papers by leaders in the field followed by commentaries written by emerging scholars and replies by the original paper's authors. Taken together, the papers, commentaries, and replies provide a cross-section of cutting-edge research in philosophy and cognitive science. Open MIND is an experiment in both interdisciplinary and intergenerational scholarship.

    Open MIND grows out of the MIND Group, an independent, international body of young philosophers and scientists with a strong interest in the mind, consciousness, and cognition. The original and supporting materials are available online at open-mind.net.

    Authors include Michael L. Anderson, Andreas Bartels, Tim Bayne, Christian Beyer, Ned Block, Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Carl S. Craver, Holk Cruse, Daniel C. Dennett, Jérôme Dokic, Chris Eliasmith, Kathinka Evers, Vittorio Gallese, Philip Gerrans, Rick Grush, John-Dylan Haynes, Heiko Hecht, J. Allan Hobson, Jakob Hohwy, Pierre Jacob, J. Scott Jordan, Victor Lamme, Bigna Lenggenhager, Caleb Liang, Richard Menary, Albert Newen, Alva Noë, Gerard O'Brien, Elisabeth Pacherie, Jesse Prinz, Joëlle Proust, Antti Revonsuo, Adina Roskies, Jonathan Schooler, Anil K. Seth, Wolf Singer, Evan Thompson, Ursula Voss, Kenneth Williford

    • Hardcover $285.00 £220.00
  • Cerebral Plasticity

    Cerebral Plasticity

    New Perspectives

    Leo M. Chalupa, Nicoletta Berardi, Matteo Caleo, Lucia Galli-Resta, and Tommaso Pizzorusso

    A survey of the latest research, covering such topics as plasticity in the adult brain and the underlying mechanisms of plasticity.

    The notion that neurons in the living brain can change in response to experience—a phenomenon known as "plasticity"—has become a major conceptual issue in neuroscience research as well as a practical focus for the fields of neural rehabilitation and neurodegenerative disease. Early work dealt with the plasticity of the developing brain and demonstrated the critical role played by sensory experience in normal development. Two broader themes have emerged in recent studies: the plasticity of the adult brain (one of the most rapidly developing areas of current research) and the search for the underlying mechanisms of plasticity—explanations for the cellular, molecular, and epigenetic factors controlling plasticity. Many scientists believe that achieving a fundamental understanding of what underlies neuronal plasticity could help us treat neurological disorders and even improve the learning capabilities of the human brain.

    This volume offers contributions from leaders in the field that cover all three approaches to the study of cerebral plasticity. Chapters treat normal development and the influences of environmental manipulations; cerebral plasticity in adulthood; and underlying mechanisms of plasticity. Other chapters deal with plastic changes in neurological conditions and with the enhancement of plasticity as a strategy for brain repair.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99