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.
Leo M. Chalupa is Vice President for Research and Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at George Washington University.
Barbara Chapman is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Houston.
Barry E. Stein is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. His previous books on this topic include The Merging of the Senses (MIT Press, 1993) and The Handbook of Multisensory Processes (MIT Press, 2004).
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).
Giacomo Rizzolatti is Professor of Human Physiology at the University of Parma.
The twenty-two chapters are grouped under four main headings : I. Functional Morphology of the Acetylcholine Innervation in Cerebral Cortex (Including Hippocampus); II. Modes of Action of Acetylcholine in the Cerebral Cortex; III. Cortical Properties and Functions Modulated by Acetylcholine, and IV. Clinical, Pathological and Therapeutic Implications. This broad perspective updates the reader on recent advances and future trends in the study of a major neuromodulatory system in brain.
In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.
This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.