Encyclopedia of the Human Brain (pdf) by V. S. Ramachandran
The functions of the human brain are the last major challenge to science. Despite having made rapid strides in understanding the cosmos, subatomic particles, molecular biology, and genetics, we still know very little about the organ that made these discoveries possible. How does the activity of 100 billion nerve cells—mere wisps of protoplasm that constitute the brain—give rise to the broad spectrum of abilities that we call consciousness, mind, and human nature?
There is now, more than ever before, a real need for a standard reference source covering all aspects of the human brain and nervous system, and the Encyclopedia of the Human Brain is the most up-to-date and comprehensive coverage to date. It is a compendium of articles contributed by many of the world’s leading experts in neuroscience and psychology. These essays will be of interest to a wide range of individuals in the behavioral and health sciences.
Written in an engaging, accessible style, the encyclopedia not only is an important major reference work but also can be browsed informally by anyone who seeks answers about the activities and effects of the brain, such as why and how we dream, what parts of the brain are involved in memory, how we recognize human faces and other objects, what are the brain mechanisms involved in cognition and language, what causes phantom limb pain, what are the implications of left-handedness, or what current treatments are available for Parkinson’s disease. Here in the Encyclopedia of the Human Brain will be found brief yet comprehensive summaries on all of these topics and some 200 more.
Many of the articles will appeal equally to a student preparing an essay for class, a novice researcher looking for new fields to conquer, a clinician wanting to become up-to-date on recent research in his or her field, or even an interested lay reader.
Each of the articles has been through a long process of author nomination, peer review, revision, and copyediting. Most of the entries were written by acknowledged experts in the field. Given the nature and scope of this enterprise, a degree of overlap among the articles was not only inevitable but also desirable, since our goal was to ensure that each article was a self-contained summary of one specific aspect of the human brain. Given space limitations, each author was encouraged to provide a broad overview of an area of research rather than an exhaustive review. The result is a stimulating and informative compilation of material.
The eighties were dubbed the “decade of the brain,” an apt term given the subsequent progress made in understanding the structure, function, and development of this mysterious organ. This encyclopedia should prove to be an invaluable resource on this fascinating subject and would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of more than 350 authors. 12 associate editors, 150 peer reviewers, and the following Academic Press personnel: Nikki Levy, Barbara Makinster. Christopher Morris, Carolan Gladden. Joanna Dinsmore, and Jocelyn Lofstrom.
V. S. Ramachandran
University of California, San Diego
Size: 84 Mb
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