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Introducing Mind and Brain: A Graphic Guide [Paperback]

Angus Gellatly , Oscar Zarate
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Sep 2007 Introducing...
"Introducing Mind and Brain" examines a profound and mysterious puzzle: how does the biological tissue that makes up the brain give rise to the activities that our culture refers to as 'the mind'? How does the three pounds of electric sponge stowed in the top of your head allow you to experience enchantment in front of an evening landscape, and then make you remember the shopping, say 'Damnl' and head off to the supermarket? This book explains what the sciences have to say about planning and action, language, memory, attention, emotions and vision. It traces the historical development of ideas about the brain and its function from antiquity to the age of neuro-imaging. Through a clear combination of words and images, writer Angus Gellatly and award-winning artist Oscar Zarate invite the reader to take a fresh look at the nature of mind, consciousness and personal identity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; New Ed edition (6 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840468548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840468540
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Angus Gellatly was Professor of Psychology and Head of Department at Keele University and is now at the Open University. He used to write fiction in the days when he had the time. Oscar Zarate is a highly acclaimed graphic artist who has illustrated many Introducing titles. His prize-winning graphic novel A Small Killing is known throughout the world.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, good series, for beginners. 1 Nov 2000
"What good is a book without pictures?" said Alice.
The format of cartoons and text allow for an "easy" read, though I found that the structure of the book gets lost in it. Good if you're a complete beginner, don't need to _know_ everything, and it is quite memorable. But if it whets your appetite try The Human Brain by Susan Greenfield - covers the same topic, in more depth, but is still in the "easy" read category. Not so many nice pics, though!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin 9 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Pretty much everything you need to know about recent findings in brain physiology, perception, and psychology of consciousness, presented in easy-to-read cartoon form!
As an emotional intelligence trainer, I found it a lot better than many other books from this rather patchy series.
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By retro
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So very informative of the physical attributes of how the brain works, if you have ever queried why something is not working as the 'normal' perception then there many answers. A very enlightening book which could make anyone reading it more understanding of those who experience things differently.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Basic, but good. 3 Oct 2011
I liked the simplicity, it really was what is says on the tin - an introduction. Perhaps there was a bit too much focus on history and not enough focus on modern developments, but still a good book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction. 24 Aug 1999
By "alien115" - Published on
The book is short, illustrated and aimed at the general audience. It's not in-depth but does cover quite a bit of ground. It's no replacement for the various case studies by Oliver Sacks, Pinker' _How The Mind Works_ or even Dennett's _Consciousness Explained_, but it does have material worth reading. On the negative side, it's not quite as easy to follow as some other illustrated guides, but I'd still recommend it to anyone interested in neurology.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise book on difficult area 10 Mar 2004
By magellan - Published on
The area of the mind and brain is a difficult one to present to the non-specialist, since on the one hand, it requires an understanding of traditional philosophical areas like epistemology, and modern scientific areas such as perception, psychophysics, and neurobiology. This makes it a formidable area to try to read and get some background in for the layman, but there is no more fascinating and important subject than the understanding of our own minds, brains, and selves, and yet few people, even those trained in the sciences, have a knowledge of it.
This book presents this difficult and technical area in a clear, concise and even engaging and witty way, using a cartoon-like style to illustrate and elaborate on the concepts of the text. If there is an easier way to get a basic grasp of the issues I haven't seen it, and I enjoyed reading this book although this is my own specialty and I can read the more technical literature too, because it gave me many ideas about how to explain the concepts better myself in my own conversations with people.
I just wanted to make one other comment. A long-standing and still controversial issue in the mind-brain field is the problem of psychophysical reductionism. This is the idea that the mind can ultimately be reduced to the actions of individual neurons, and to brain physiology in general. Although there is now a great amount of research to support this idea now, I didn't want to discuss idea so much as people's usual reactions to it.
The main problem here is that as human beings we seem to have an aversion to being reduced to our biology, as if this makes us some sort of machine, or at least a "biological machine." For many people, our new understanding of the brain doesn't seem to leave much room for phenomena such as consciousness, let alone the soul. Human beings are a very creative and resourceful species. Our imaginations take flight so easily, both as individuals and as a species, that we shudder at the thought that the mind can be reduced to mere matter, to "ordinary" biology.
This biology, however, is far from "ordinary." Your brain contains 60 trillion neurons, which are connected to anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 other neurons. This is a lot of interconnections. To calculate how many connections this is, is very interesting. Mathematically, this is known as a "combinatorial explosion" problem because of the large numbers generated.
In practical terms, this means that the number of interconnections in a human brain is greater than the number of atoms in the Milky Way galaxy, which contains 80 billion stars. Another way of saying it is that your brain is the equivalent of millions of the most powerful computer chips. Your brain is thousands, probably millions, of times more complex than the most powerful computer we can build-- not bad for a blob of "mere matter" that weighs only 3 pounds.
This having been said, is it really so bad to have one's consciousness reduced to neuronal mechanisms?"
Anyway, I just wanted to make a few comments on that, since it's relevant to the subject of this book. Overall, this is a fine introductory book on the mind-body problem that should give you the background to undertake more technical books in the area.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was MUCH more than I ever expected 12 Aug 2004
By M. Perez - Published on
I stumbled upon this book while searching for books on philosophical theory of consciousness. I figured it wouldn't hurt (obviously) to learn first about the more basic, concrete functions of the brain and the brain/mind relationship. However, this book totally opened up new areas of interest for me. I quickly became interested in the subject for its own sake. I always knew the brain was interesting to study, but reading about actual biological theories/discoveries was definitely a lot more fascinating than I ever imagined. This book really illustrates how truly remarkable the mind is, and yet, how much more there is to learn. I am still interested in learning about the philosophical perspective of consciousness, however, this is a whole new topic I am definitely going to take on in addition to it.

This book really does a great job covering all important aspects: people that historically played important roles in the development of the theories, explanation of theories themselves, how complex functions and "simple" functions are executed, questions about the existence of "mind" vs. biological brain, introduces a variety mental/physical conditions and its explanations, the list goes on and on (there are MANY more interesting topics I'm leaving out). There are SOOOO MANY interesting things covered in this book and it is done so well, you can't help but to become interested in further reading, whether it be philosophical, biological, or psychological.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple and digestable, but haphazard and scant 23 May 2013
By hijodeganas - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great, simple book for anyone who is interested in understanding the mind and the brain more. If you already have a rudimentary understanding of them, however, it is not worth the purchase. Besides not having anything profound or especially insightful to add, the book tends to focus on the medical or physiological aspects of the brain, and is rather skim on the philosophical questions (what is a "mind", exactly?) and psychological aspects of human cognition; two topics I am quite interested in and was a bit vexed to discover there wasn't information on.

On the good side, the illustrations are very useful, especially to someone like myself who is still a beginner when it comes to science, and the writing itself is succinct and clear.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable book to read when wanting to learn about the brain 20 Sep 2012
By Gert Bo Thorgersen - Published on
Back in 2006 I bought and read this book, but now I just have finished reading it again, this time for getting a refreshing concerning the brain. Now because my wife in the next week are going to have a scanning of her brain because of headache and lost feeling in part of one leg, and besides before I start on some of my more hard books concerning the brain.

I owe 31 of these "Introducing" books, of which I back in 2005 discovered the first of these in a shop for used books, out here in Thailand, and after that then bought the other at Amazon. There are a few more of these which I would like to buy but it looks as Amazon now only are having them in the smaller dimension, and as I only can use my left hand, and always use speed marker, they for me are to hard to work with. As we see in Amazon they are having the dimensions 4.3 * 6.5 Inches, but all of mines, except one I bought by a mistake, are having the dimensions 5.5 * 8.5 Inches. The price for the bigger ones were 3 $ higher. But all of the writings and drawings inside are precisely equal either being big or small.

But back to the writing and drawing concerning these "Introducing" books I have been reading that for example in high school some of these books are used in the first half year when starting on a new subject. In Denmark, for a subject, this would be for the first section (modul) of 120 hours. And the contents in these books are good fitting for this, as they are written by experts.

When we in Amazon are looking into this book we first see that there is no "Table of Contents", while there are none in the book, and beside we read that the sides 82 - 156 are not in "Preview". But on these sides there are most about how the brains function in the normal daily life, and opposite to this in the cases of different sicknesses - abnormalities.

In the "Introducing Mind and Brain" we trough out the book learn about many of the persons who during time, from starting in Greece and during the continuing Western culture, came with ideas and discoveries concerning the brain. And we are getting many good drawings of the brain with remarks on the part in brain connected to the writing and drawings of person's different kind of behaviors.

For example we on the side 106 learn about "Motion blindness", caused by damage to part V5 in the brain, and that the persons having this failure are seeing the world around them as series of still photographs (no continuing film) and the resulting problem in for example safely just crossing the traffic road.

And for example on the side 105 we are having writings and a drawing about the "Loss of Colour". And here we also learn about the possibility with unilateral damage, which is having only the failure in one Hemisphere, either for only the right or left side of the brain, instead of in the total brain. So one side of the brain seeing (recognizing) in color while the other side is seeing in black and white, and the resulting problems of this.

And concerning memory and mind we among other learn about Amnesia, resulting in no feeling, or sensing, of the movement in time. That is just minutes after something have happened not recall it as something which just has happened or happened years ago. With drawings showing a wife going out for shopping, and then when she after 5 minutes return back home her husband believing that it's years since he last saw her.

But in the book there are much more of interesting cases concerning normal and un normal cases for the brains working, and all together much information on only 180 sides. But again drawings helps to shorten the needed writings, and for many persons also results in quicker learning and understanding.
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