In the spirit of Halloween: 5 facts from Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep

j10305[1]Are you a Halloween costume enthusiast who gives the best costumed trick-or-treater the most candy? Do you plan on being a zombie this Halloween? Are you afraid you might not be able to distinguish between real zombies and fake ones? If you answered yes to any of those questions, read on! Below is a list of five facts from Timothy Verstynen and Bradley Voytek’s book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain.

  1. According to Verstynen and Voytek, all zombies suffer from CDHD, or Consciousness Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder. Subjects with CDHD suffer from “a lack of intentional movements, lethargic and fatigued movements (akinesthesia), loss of a sense of pleasure (anhedonia), general language dysfunction (aphasia),” and much more.
  2. Ever wonder why some zombies are easily outrun and others are surprisingly quick on their feet? Verstynen and Voytek believe this phenomenon has to do with the time it takes a dead body to resurrect itself as a zombie. They call this “time-to-resurrection,” and the longer the process takes, the slower the zombie will move.
  3. CDHD seems to affect the amygdala and hypothalamus regions of the brain while leaving the primary sensory areas, cortical motor areas and basal ganglia, thalamus, and brainstem regions intact.
  4. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has been used in patients with Parkinson’s to help alleviate them of their symptoms. Our authors wonder if similar kinds of therapy could be used on zombies.
  5. “Survival Tip #6: Mimic them. ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’…If confronted with a herd of undead with no clear avenue of escape…act like a zombie.” Zombies have difficulty recognizing facing, so as long as you’ve been practicing your zombie walk and growl, you should be fine!

Whatever your motives are, hopefully these five facts will help you better identify zombies this Halloween.

 

Halloween prize pack sweepstakes includes Zombies & Calculus and Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep!

zombies.jpgIn honor of all things spooky and scary, Tor.com is sponsoring a Halloween Prize Pack Sweepstakes. Five winners will be presented with six books to get you in that Halloween spirit.

To win, all you have to do is comment on this post, here! Good luck and happy Halloween!

 

 

Clear and Simple as the Truth has author Steven Pinker’s seal of approval

simple truthSteven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, was recently featured in The New York Times Sunday Book Review to, well, review books (among other things). Pinker covers everything from the current books sitting beside his bed on his nightstand to his dream literary dinner party, but one question and answer caught the Press’s attention in particular.

When asked if there were “any unexpected gems you came across” while researching his latest book “The Sense of Style,” Pinker names Mark Turner and Francis Noël Thomas’s Clear and Simple as the Truth. “Their model of ‘classic prose’ — the writer directs the reader’s gaze to something in the world — elegantly captures the differences between vigorous and turgid writing,” explains Pinker in the interview.

Not long after the Times interview (literally one day later) Pinker was published in The Chronicle Review of Higher Education for his explanation of why academics stink at writing. Here, Pinker turns to Turner and Thomas for help framing his argument. “In a brilliant little book called Clear and Simple as the Truth, the literary scholars Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner argue that every style of writing can be understood as a model of the communication scenario that an author simulates in lieu of the real-time give-and-take of a conversation.”

“They distinguish, in particular, romantic, oracular, prophetic, practical, and plain styles, each defined by how the writer imagines himself to be related to the reader, and what the writer is trying to accomplish…Among those styles is one they single out as an aspiration for writers of expository prose. They call it classic style, and they credit its invention to 17th-century French essayists such as Descartes and La Rochefoucauld.”

For the New York Times Sunday Book Review, click here, and to read the rest of Pinker’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, click here.

 

 

The official zombie diagnosis, courtesy of Nerdist and Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep

k10305Have you and your friends ever sat around the TV after watching the most recent episode of The Walking Dead and wondered what caused the infection or virus to spread? If you have, you’re not the only one.

Kyle Hill of Nerdist recently shared the “official zombie diagnosis,” from Bradley Voytek and Timothy Verstynen’s book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain. It turns out zombies are actually suffering from “Consciousness Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder ,” or CDHD. How is CDHD transmitted? Hill concludes the bacteria in a zombie’s bite and the lack of proper medical care are the most likely explanations for the zombie epidemic.

Voytek and Verstynen describe the symptoms of CDHD: “lack of intentional control over their actions, lethargic and fatigued movements (akinesthesia), loss of pleasure (anhedonia), general language dysfunction (aphasia), memory impairments (amnesias), and an inability to suppress appetitive actions such as eating or aggressive ‘fight-or-flight’ behaviors.”

In the book, Voytek and Verstynen also theorize as to why some zombies are slow and other are fast. Hill sums up their theory succinctly. “They call it the time-to-resurrection hypothesis. It goes like this. The longer the brain goes without oxygen or nutrients, the more damaged it gets. Therefore, the longer it takes for a zombification to reboot your body, the more brain damage that zombie will have. Fast zombies, which traditionally ‘turn’ very quickly then can move the way they do because they have less brain damage than the slow zombies.”

To read the rest of Hill’s article, click here. Below is a 4-minute video of Hill explaining his Walking Dead theory. Who knows, he might be right!

 

Read this exclusive excerpt from the winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has gone to John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser. To celebrate, we are offering a free excerpt from The Future of the Brain, a collection of cutting edge neuroscience articles edited by Gary Marcus. In “Understanding the Cortex through Grid Cells,” May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser write:

 

One of the ultimate goals of neuroscience is to understand the mammalian cerebral cortex, the outermost sheet of neural tissue that covers the cerebral hemispheres. All mammalian brains have a cortex, but during evolution, the size of the cortex has expanded enormously, and in the largest brains the growth has resulted in extensive folding, with much of the cortical surface getting buried in deep grooves, or sulci and fissures. The cortex is the site where most cognition and intellectual activity takes place. Thinking, planning, reflection, and imagination depend on it. Memories are stored there, and the cortex takes care of language interpretation as well as language production. Moreover, although the cortex can be found across the whole range of mammalian species, the expansion of this brain structure is thought to underlie the amplification of the intellectual repertoire in humans.

Continue reading here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s2_10306.pdf

 

 

Infected: World Science Festival interviews Bradley Voytek, author of Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep

While zombies are running (or should I say, “staggering?”) around spreading their infections in Hollywood movies and TV shows, Bradley Voytek, author of Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain, is spreading knowledge about the field of neuroscience, the brain, and how it can all be better understood through the study of the undead.

In this new interview with the World Science Festival, Voytek discusses need-to-know matters such as zombie symptoms and probable causes, why some zombies are slow and others fast, and his general approach to writing the book with co-author Timothy Verstynen.

World Science Fair: What consequences are there when a zombifying agent brings a dead brain back to life?

Bradley Voytek: Neurons start to die off within minutes when there’s a lack of oxygen—especially neurons in the hippocampus, this seahorse-shaped area a couple inches in from your temple, which is pretty important for forming memories. So if, as in The Walking Dead, the zombie infection takes hold after someone dies and reanimates them, if there’s that couple minutes of delay before restarting, there’s going to be some brain areas dying off.

In the book, we call this the “time to resurrection” hypothesis. If you look at “fast zombies,” like in the movie 28 Days Later, the infection there takes just seconds to transform somebody from a normal person into this rage-fueled monster. We argue that because you’re only dead for a few seconds, there hasn’t been much damage to the physical substrate of the brain, so you’re still coordinated. But in Night of the Living Dead, the undead may have been dead for weeks or months, so they would have decayed quite a bit.

Source: http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/2014/09/smart-reads-zombie-dream/

Ultimately, Voytek hopes Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? will appeal to “people who don’t normally care about [the principles of neuroscience],” and they will “end up accidentally learning something about the brain.”


 

bookjacket

Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?
A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain
Timothy Verstynen & Bradley Voytek

A look within — MRI technology in action

It’s 2014, and although we don’t have flying cars or teleportation, we do have some truly amazing technologies. The video of a live birth posted below has been making the social media rounds in recent weeks, and it is a wonderful glimpse of the imaging possible through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

To fully understand the history and future challenges of imaging technology, we recommend Denis Le Bihan’s book Looking Inside the Brain: The Power of Neuroimaging. Le Bihan is one of the leading scientists and developers of MRI technology, so who better to guide readers through the history of imaging technology from the x-ray and CT scan to the PET scan and MRI. He also explains how neuroimaging uncovers afflictions like stroke or cancer and the workings of higher-order brain activities, such as language skills and also takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey through NeuroSpin, his state-of-the-art neuroimaging laboratory.


 

bookjacket

Looking Inside the Brain
The Power of Neuroimaging
Denis Le Bihan
Translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

Under the knife with a zombie

Why do zombies act the way they do? Why, for instance, are they always looking to bite someone’s face off? Would a Snickers bar make them any less angry or violent? These are just some of the questions Tim Verstynen and Bradley Voytek try to answer in their new book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain.

In the video above, Verstynen and Voytek explain the nature of the relationship between the brain and emotions, but don’t let the animation and mumbling zombie fool you! These authors provide viewers with a glimpse into the field and history of neuroscience and how studying and stimulating the brain allows us to better understand complicated emotions. If you’re interested in the science behind what makes a zombie a zombie, or if you’re a grad student willing and ready to examine a zombie brain, check out the video as well as the book, Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep.

 


bookjacket Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?
A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain
Timothy Verstynen & Bradley Voytek 


We’re not the only ones obsessed with Zombies

imagesSure, we might not completely understand neuroscience, but knowing it has to do with the scientific study of the nervous system is good enough for most of us. We’re all also familiar with zombies, and I mean, how could we not be? AMC’s hit TV-show “The Walking Dead” has over 13 million viewers and countless zombie-based box office hits such as “Zombieland,” “I Am Legend,” and “World War Z,” suggest that while zombies are not taking over the world just yet, they are capturing our imagination. So what happens when we combine the field of neuroscience with the phenomenon that is “zombies?”

Enter Bradley Voytek, a UC San Diego neuroscientist whose “mutual love of zombies and brains has lead him to formalize the theoretical neuroanatomy of the zombie brain,”  according to the Zombie Research Society.

Wait a minute — zombies have a research society? Yes, it turns out the Zombie Research Society (ZRS) is an organization, founded by Matt Mogk, that dedicates itself to the “historic, cultural, and scientific study of the living dead.” On its website you will find zombie survival strategies, theories on historical outbreaks, and scientific articles on various subjects such as vaccines and Ebola. There’s even a list of the top 10 safest countries to live in during a world-wide zombie outbreak. (The US ranks 3rd just behind Canada and Australia)

Keen-eyed readers will also discover that Bradley Voytek is on the advisory board of the ZRS and that he will soon publish Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain, a popular science book that references zombie popular culture to help answer neuroscientific questions regarding brain function during sleep, the nature of sensory perception, and much more. You can sample some of this unique book here.

This is not the first zombie book we have published, nor will it be the last. You may wish to check out our other undead titles below.


 

bookjacket Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?
A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain
Timothy Verstynen & Bradley Voytek
bookjacket Zombies and Calculus
Colin Adams
bookjacket Zombie Economics:
How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us
John Quiggin
bookjacket Theories of International Politics and Zombies
Daniel W. Drezner

Throwback Thursday #TBT: Selected Letters of C. G. Jung, 1909-1961

Jung, Selected Letters, 1909-1961

Hello everybody! It’s Thursday again, and for this week’s Throwback (#TBT), we’re celebrating the Selected Letters of C. G. Jung, 1909-1961. The letters collected in this volume chronicle the founder of analytical psychology’s correspondence with friends, colleagues, and the people who came to him with problems. They also provide crucial insights into the beginnings of his theories and trace their development over the years.

Originally published in 1984, Selected Letters is one of many texts brought back by the Princeton Legacy Library series. It is also part of Princeton University Press’s esteemed Bollingen Series, named after the very Swiss village where Jung maintained a personal retreat.

That’s all for now, folks. See you next Thursday!

 

Gary Marcus to give public lecture: Towards a Theory of How the Brain Works

Marcus_Future_jktYou’re invited to a public lecture by Gary Marcus, co-editor of the forthcoming The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists, on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in McCosh 50 at Princeton University.

The basic parts list of the brain is relatively well understood, but the logic of its operation remains almost entirely elusive, despite enormous technical advances. Even as our tools for understanding the brain become finer and finer grained, our theoretical apparatus for characterizing what we observe remains weak. In this talk, Professor Marcus will focus what we know about the six-layered sheet known as the neocortex, and will argue that two of the most dominant paradigms in theoretical neuroscience are inadequate. He will outline an alternative framework that aims to better bridge neuroscience with behavior, computation, development and evolutionary biology.

Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology at NYU and Visiting Cognitive Scientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, is the author of four books including the NYTimes Bestseller Guitar Zero and frequently blogs for the The New Yorker. His research on language, evolution, computation and cognitive development has been published widely, in leading journals such as Science and Nature.

This event, sponsored by the Vanuxem Lecture Series, is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit http://lectures.princeton.edu/2013/gary-marcus-nyu-professor-of-psychology/.

Neuro

Neuro by Nikolas Rose & Joelle M. Abi-Rached “The ‘neurofication’ of the humanities, social sciences, public policy, and the law has attracted promoters and detractors. What we have lacked until now is a critical but open-minded look at ‘neuro.’ This is what Rose and Abi-Rached have given us in this thoughtful and well-researched book. They do not jump on the neuro bandwagon, but instead offer a clear accounting of its appeal, its precedents in psychology and genetics, its genuine importance, and ultimately its limitations. A fascinating and important book.”–Martha J. Farah, University of Pennsylvania

Neuro:
The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind
by Nikolas Rose & Joelle M. Abi-Rached

The brain sciences are influencing our understanding of human behavior as never before, from neuropsychiatry and neuroeconomics to neurotheology and neuroaesthetics. Many now believe that the brain is what makes us human, and it seems that neuroscientists are poised to become the new experts in the management of human conduct. Neuro describes the key developments–theoretical, technological, economic, and biopolitical–that have enabled the neurosciences to gain such traction outside the laboratory. It explores the ways neurobiological conceptions of personhood are influencing everything from child rearing to criminal justice, and are transforming the ways we “know ourselves” as human beings. In this emerging neuro-ontology, we are not “determined” by our neurobiology: on the contrary, it appears that we can and should seek to improve ourselves by understanding and acting on our brains.

Neuro examines the implications of this emerging trend, weighing the promises against the perils, and evaluating some widely held concerns about a neurobiological “colonization” of the social and human sciences. Despite identifying many exaggerated claims and premature promises, Neuro argues that the openness provided by the new styles of thought taking shape in neuroscience, with its contemporary conceptions of the neuromolecular, plastic, and social brain, could make possible a new and productive engagement between the social and brain sciences.

Endorsements

Table of Contents

Watch Nikolas Rose describe how the recent developments in the neurosciences are changing the way individuals consider their identity in health and disease

Sample this book:

Introduction [PDF]

Request an examination copy.