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Making Up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World Paperback – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405160225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405160223
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.9 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

" Making up the Mind is an excellent ′big picture′ book. Exactly as its subtitle indicates, this book describes how our brains construct an internal model of the world that enables us to successfully interact with others and generally navigate a complex world." ( Psychology Learning and Training, Autumn 2008)

"Neuroscience and psychology often struggle to answer the really interesting questions about the mind, but in this fascinating book, Chris Frith shows that science can finally start explaining how and why we experience the world as we do. Anyone interested in human nature – not just the nuts and bolts of neural circuits – will find his storytelling compelling. Frith delves into topics such as delusions, illusions, imagination and imitation, bringing clarity and insight to the simplest abservations and most complex experiments alike." (New Scientist)


"Making up the Mind is an interesting book to everybody who wants to learn more about how the brain gives rise to our mental experiences...As Frith himself depicts in a sort of framing story, you will easily find yourself talking about these ideas at your next dinner party, as well as use it for serious considerations on the brain or as a toolbox for next term′s essay. A stimulating new book by a distinguished scientist who knows what he is talking about." ( Metapsychology Online Reviews)

"Frith has produced an enthralling discussion on the subtle links between mind and brain, sometimes with humorous liaisons between himself, as narrator, and others who might be labelled as sceptics, unbelievers."(Psychologist)

Stands apart from many that have been written lately For those who have time to read only one book this should be it. Essential. (Choice Reviews)

Review

Oliver Sacks"Making up the Mind is a fascinating guided tour through the elusive interface between mind and brain written by a pioneer in the field. The authors obvious passion for the subject shines through every page."
V. S. Ramachandran

"I soon made up my mind that this is an excellent, most readable and stimulating book. The author is a distinguished neuroscientist working especially on brain imaging."
RL Gregory, Experimental Psychology

"Chris Frith, one of the pioneers in applying brain imaging to study mental processes, has written a brilliant introduction to the biology of mental processes for the general reader. This superb book describes how we recreate in our brains a representation of the external world. Clearly and beautifully written, this book is for all who want to learn about how the brain gives rise to the mental phenomenon of our lives. A must read!"
Eric R. Kandel, M.D.

"Important and surprising. The brain will never seem the same again."
Lewis Wolpert, University College London

"Frith s luminously intelligent book...raises interesting questions about how it is possible to make serious scientific progress, on the borders of metaphysics, while still thinking inside a framework that is an ontological and epistemological muddle."
Raymond Tallis, Brain

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Hanna Suskind on 12 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This incredibly well-written book is a clear, concise introduction to the state-of-the art in neuroscience. The journey into the mystery of the brain requires no prior knowledge. Step by step, in a warm, humorous tone, we learn how much what we take to be an effortless daily experience is based upon the sophisticated, hidden ability of the brain to construct models of reality. Even our senses of agency and self-control - those issues that perplexed philosophers for millennia - are shown to be dependent on the brain's ability to link experiences and make inferences about the world. The evidence is a beautiful series of crystallized examples from the behaviour of patients with brain damage, and from behavioural and brain imaging experiments.

This book is unique because while highly appropriate and illuminating for complete novices in neuroscience, it is also detailed and deep enough to captivate readers with expertise in the field. Both types of readers will be enriched by the coherent picture this book draws of cognitive neuroscience, and what implications brain research has for our understanding of interpersonal interactions and the development of human culture.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Driver on 20 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant book on the human mind and brain, by a wise and influential researcher, who unusually is also a very charismatic and entertaining writer. It manages to be simultaneously serious/funny ;
questioning/didactic; philosophical/scientific; and to be forward-looking
yet while also giving a succinct historical overview of highlights from the past 30 years of research in neuropsychology and neuroscience, through to the latest breakthroughs in brain imaging. Essential reading for novices and experts alike.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 18 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
It's hard to resolve where the best place to encounter Chris Frith might be - a classroom, a pub, or a party. In this book, the last is set as a means of providing exchanges between a working cognitive neuroscientist and people from the humanities and other sciences - English and physics, in this case. Frith goes to some effort to show how many misconceptions about how the mind works still exist in our society. He wants to set those right, and does so splendidly in this book on the workings of the brain. With a style one might almost describe as jocular, Frith reveals how the brain deals with the world outside and within us.

Frith had the good fortune to enter the field as the new, non-intrusive methods of brain imaging were emerging. Big, cumbersome and expensive, these tools, the PET, fMRI and CAT scanning devices soon came into more widespread use. These machines could map the living brain, while patients could be queried or given tests to assist in determining which brain areas were active at a given time. Frith describes these tools as moving brain studies from a "soft" science to a "hard" science in which detailed measurements could be made. Previously, it was either guess-work, or brains could be analysed only after a patient's death.

What has emerged from these studies is a very serious challenge to what we call "reality" and our perception of it. The brain does many things without our realising it. Apart from the obvious ones like keeping the heart and lungs pumping, there is the issue of what we "see". We like to think that when we "look" at something or somebody, we are seeing a continuous image. That's simply not the case. Beyond the fact that the eye undergoes a rapid shifting motion called "saccading", it's also converting photons into electrical signals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Bor on 2 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
This popular science book, written by one of the most prominent cognitive neuroscientists in the world, explores the current evidence of how our brains generate our mental image of ourselves and the world. He first outlines how our brains give us an image of ourselves and the world that can deviate frighteningly from reality. Sometimes this is simply because our heavily embedded ideas of our perceptions and beliefs are wrong, but sometimes problems arise due to brain damage. In the second second section, he centres on the brain as a prediction machine, which gives us the power to understand ourselves, our bodies and each other. The book is written extremely clearly, largely without the use of jargon, and although a tad dry in places, includes sufficiently exciting content to keep the reader engaged. Some attempts to make the book more popular worked well, such as occasional idiosyncratic and funny footer notes. I wished these would have taken a more prominent role, and he would have felt more at ease to make far more of these kinds of comments. However, Frith's imaginary conversations with a cynical and anti-scientific English professor feel more like an afterthought, and he could easily have made far more of the idea, had he wished. As a cognitive neuroscience researcher myself, I didn't really learn anything new, as Frith is largely reluctant to speculate on any ideas that haven't already been very firmly established, but I was nevertheless able to appreciate the coherence and intelligence of his explanations, which at times did allow me to view a well-trodden topic afresh. For a layperson, however, I can't think of a better introduction to the interface between the mind and brain than this book.
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