Neurobiology, Third edition Paperback – 21 Jul 1994
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About the Author
Gordon M. Shepherd is Professor of Neuroscience at Yale University. He is the author of The Synaptic Organization of the Brain (Oxford University Press, 1979).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Shepherd does a wonderful job in explaining core concepts in neuroscience, ranging from the cell, to brain systems, to behavior.
Many of the chapters, especially in molecular and cellular neurobiology, will clarify certain 'dark' concepts, essential not only for neuroscience, but for physiology, pharmacology and immunology as well.
This should be one of the standard texts for every student interested in the nervous system, and in integrative science in general.
I bought it to help give me some background when I joined a neuroscience lab as an undergrad. I have never taken a pure neuroscience class so this book helped tremendously in building my foundation for more advanced topics.
This book is not exhaustive by any means and is heading towards the out-of-date side given of the advancements in the field to date. Probably great for an undergrad or beginning grad student.
He states in the Preface to this 1994 edition, "The primary aim of this book continues to be to make this vast and expanding world of knowledge intelligible to students by presenting a unified view of the principles of nervous organization... This edition emphasizes two of the major themes in current neurobiology, the roles of synapses and of active membrane properties in shaping the input-output functions of neurons and neural networks... A second new area of emphasis is development. Increasingly the analysis of nervous organization is focusing on how it arises as development proceeds... (T)his edition attempts to 'see the brain steadily and see it whole,' with a comprehensive coverage of brain functions that includes material both for the introductory and the more advanced student."
Here are some representative quotations from the book:
"Much the same applies to the experiments we do in biology: we can begin to believe in results only if we have an adequate grasp of the theories that seek to explain the nature of the systems we study." (Pg. 67)
"However, the enthusiasm of neuroscientists for this task must always be tempered by the reminder that identifying the neural basis for a specific behavior is one of the most difficult challenges in all biology." (Pg. 515)
"The neurobiological study of these types of emotions has been rather limited. On the one hand, most complex behaviors are simply too complex to analyze, particularly when their emotional component is not obvious." (603-604)
"When you converse with someone, you are using working memory to hold 'on line' the other person's speech in segments of several seconds to scan the words and obtain their meaning, while continuing to receive the next segment of words for subsequent scanning. Some feel that this close association of working memory and language may come the closest to defining the special basis for human intelligence." (Pg. 677)
"(I)t further appears that the right hemisphere is specialized for handling procedural information, and the left hemisphere for declarative information. No matter now one characterizes the two hemispheres it is important to realize that neither one is 'dominant' in the absolute sense; each constellation of functions is of adaptive value, and the human brain attempts to optimize both by letting the hemispheres specialize in these two directions." (Pg. 679)
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