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Our drive to consume—our desire for food, clothing, smart phones, and megahomes—evolved from our ancestors’ drive to survive. But the psychological and neural processes that originally evolved to guide mammals toward resources that are necessary but scarce may mislead us in modern conditions of material abundance. Such phenomena as obesity, financial bubbles, hoarding, and shopping sprees suggest a mismatch between our instinct to consume and our current environment.

A Historical Introduction

This introduction to neuroscience is unique in its emphasis on how we know what we know about the structure and function of the nervous system. What are the observations and experiments that have taught us about the brain and spinal cord?

An Intermediate Phenotype Approach

Although there is scientific consensus that genetic factors play a substantial role in an individual’s vulnerability to drug or alcohol addiction, specific genetic variables linked to risk or resilience remain elusive. Understanding how genetic factors contribute to addiction may require focusing on intermediary mechanisms, or intermediate phenotypes, that connect genetic variation and risk for addiction. This book offers a comprehensive review of this mechanistic-centered approach and the most promising intermediate phenotypes identified in empirical research.

Evolution and Synthesis

Despite major advances in methodology and thousands of published studies every year, treatment outcomes in schizophrenia have not improved over the last fifty years. Moreover, we still lack strategies for prevention and we do not yet understand how the interaction of genetic, developmental, and environmental factors contribute to the disorder. In this book, leading researchers consider conceptual and technical obstacles to progress in understanding schizophrenia and suggest novel strategies for advancing research and treatment.

Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Emil du Bois-Reymond is the most important forgotten intellectual of the nineteenth century. In his own time (1818–1896) du Bois-Reymond grew famous in his native Germany and beyond for his groundbreaking research in neuroscience and his provocative addresses on politics and culture. This biography by Gabriel Finkelstein draws on personal papers, published writings, and contemporary responses to tell the story of a major scientific figure.

From Laboratory to Theory

Vision is one of the most active areas in biomedical research, and visual psychophysical techniques are a foundational methodology for this research enterprise. Visual psychophysics, which studies the relationship between the physical world and human behavior, is a classical field of study that has widespread applications in modern vision science. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, this textbook provides a comprehensive treatment of visual psychophysics, teaching not only basic techniques but also sophisticated data analysis methodologies and theoretical approaches.

Visual science is the model system for neuroscience, its findings relevant to all other areas. This essential reference to contemporary visual neuroscience covers the extraordinary range of the field today, from molecules and cell assemblies to systems and therapies. It provides a state-of-the art companion to the earlier bookThe Visual Neurosciences(MIT Press, 2003). This volume covers the dramatic advances made in the last decade, offering new topics, new authors, and new chapters. 

From Interactions to Integration

The idea that a specific brain circuit constitutes the emotional brain (and its corollary, that cognition resides elsewhere) shaped thinking about emotion and the brain for many years. Recent behavioral, neuropsychological, neuroanatomy, and neuroimaging research, however, suggests that emotion interacts with cognition in the brain. In this book, Luiz Pessoa moves beyond the debate over functional specialization, describing the many ways that emotion and cognition interact and are integrated in the brain.

Detection and Interpretation of Animacy, Agency, and Intention

As we enter a room full of people, we instantly have a number of social perceptions. We have an automatic perception of others as subjective agents with their own points of view, thoughts, and goals, and we can quickly interpret minimal visual information to infer that something is animate. This book explores the perceptual and cognitive processes that allow humans to perceive and understand this social information quickly and apparently effortlessly.

This volume offers a comprehensive overview of the latest neuroscientific approaches to the scientific study of creativity. In chapters that progress logically from neurobiological fundamentals to systems neuroscience and neuroimaging, leading scholars describe the latest theoretical, genetic, structural, clinical, functional, and applied research on the neural bases of creativity. The treatment is both broad and in depth, offering a range of neuroscientific perspectives with detailed coverage by experts in each area.