How does the brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before. In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind a conscious state. We can now pin down the neurons that fire when a person reports becoming aware of a piece of information and understand the crucial role unconscious computations play in how we make decisions. The emerging theory enables a test of consciousness in animals, babies, and those with severe brain injuries.A joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities, Consciousness and the Brain will excite anyone who is interested in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying consciousness.
©2014 Stanislas Dehaene (P)2014 Tantor
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
First, I guess I, unlike the other reviewer, did not find the narrator "cocky," nor could I imagine how that could influence the listening to a book on neurology... That aside, the book itself contains a lot of important, if basic, ideas about neurology and the current knowledge concerning human consciousness. It tends, perhaps, to be a bit on the computational side of things, but the theories presented here are pretty sound. (There is debate as to what extend the mind really works like a computer, and I am one who is more in the Jonathan Haidt camp, believing that the mind is more complex, and much more emotionally driven, than the computational model allows for--listen to a couple of books by Haidt after finishing with this one.) I would recommend this as a beginning or even as an intermediate book on consciousness and neurology. Michael Gazziniga or Rhawn Joseph (the latter not yet in audiobook) might be better advanced studies in this subject.
Parts of it I did indeed listen to.
Competent, clear, with some odd pronunciations that could have been looked up in dictionaries.
The stories about people in weird states of consciousness being brought back to the aware world.
The author has definitely identified where in the brain the experience of consciousness takes place, and explains well why most of what our brain does is unconscious. His global workspace theory is well explained, too. His only big mistake is that he dislikes qualia. (These are the raw "feelings" of an experience, like trying to explain what "green" is, or a bat trying to explain his perceptions when his sonar lets him zero in on insects and avoid hazards.) But qualia are real, and his denigration of them near the end of the book is disappointing.
A few hours into it, and it is hard going. The narrator talks too fast for me to be able to digest the scientific experiments that are being presented. His voice is like the narrator of a 1960's film strip. A very dated and radio-like presentation. The author comes off as a big smart ass who dismisses some of the work of others. I'm not enjoying this audiobook at all, even though I am interested in the subject and have a medical background.
Old fashioned AM radio voice. Speaks too fast. When run at a slower speed, the recording has an echo when played back on my current iPod Touch.
Reading the book might be okay. Listening, no.
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