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—from the x-ray and CT scan to the PET scan and MRI—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.

 

Two for Tuesday – The Musical Mind & Shaping Jazz

Music is universal but what makes it so special? Why do some jazz songs become standards and others not? We are pleased to announce the publication of two new books to explore these questions and more. We invite you to read sample chapters online.

j10027reflections
Reflections on the Musical Mind:
An Evolutionary Perspective
by Jay Schulkin
With a foreword by Robert O. Gjerdingen

Read the introduction online:
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i10027.pdf

What’s so special about music? We experience it internally, yet at the same time it is highly social. Music engages our cognitive/affective and sensory systems. We use music to communicate with one another–and even with other species–the things that we cannot express through language. Music is both ancient and ever evolving. Without music, our world is missing something essential. In Reflections on the Musical Mind, Jay Schulkin offers a social and behavioral neuroscientific explanation of why music matters. His aim is not to provide a grand, unifying theory. Instead, the book guides the reader through the relevant scientific evidence that links neuroscience, music, and meaning.

Jay Schulkin is Research Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and member at the Center for the Brain Basis of Cognition, both at Georgetown University. He is the author of numerous books, including Roots of Social Sensibility and Neural Function, Bodily Sensibility: Intelligent Action, Cognitive Adaptation: A Pragmatist Perspective, and Adaptation and Well-Being: Social Allostasis.

 
j10026jazzShaping Jazz:
Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form
by Damon J. Phillips

Read the introduction online:
http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i10026.pdf

There are over a million jazz recordings, but only a few hundred tunes have been recorded repeatedly. Why did a minority of songs become jazz standards? Why do some songs–and not others–get rerecorded by many musicians? Shaping Jazz answers this question and more, exploring the underappreciated yet crucial roles played by initial production and markets–in particular, organizations and geography–in the development of early twentieth-century jazz.

Damon J. Phillips is the James P. Gorman Professor of Business Strategy at Columbia University and a faculty affiliate of Columbia’s Center for Jazz Studies and the Center for Organizational Innovation.

 

HP & PUP: Ravenclaw’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Ravenclaw house. What would a Ravenclaw read? Chances are, a Ravenclaw would want to read everything due to their devotion to intelligence, knowledge, and wit. Here we have some books on philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and mathematics that would interest any Ravenclaw.

1. Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman- Ravenclaw students would sink their teeth into a biography about one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.

3-27 worldly philosopherWorldly Philosopher chronicles the times and writings of Albert O. Hirschman, one of the twentieth century’s most original and provocative thinkers. In this gripping biography, Jeremy Adelman tells the story of a man shaped by modern horrors and hopes, a worldly intellectual who fought for and wrote in defense of the values of tolerance and change.

Born in Berlin in 1915, Hirschman grew up amid the promise and turmoil of the Weimar era, but fled Germany when the Nazis seized power in 1933. Amid hardship and personal tragedy, he volunteered to fight against the fascists in Spain and helped many of Europe’s leading artists and intellectuals escape to America after France fell to Hitler. His intellectual career led him to Paris, London, and Trieste, and to academic appointments at Columbia, Harvard, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was an influential adviser to governments in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, as well as major foundations and the World Bank. Along the way, he wrote some of the most innovative and important books in economics, the social sciences, and the history of ideas.

Throughout, he remained committed to his belief that reform is possible, even in the darkest of times.

This is the first major account of Hirschman’s remarkable life, and a tale of the twentieth century as seen through the story of an astute and passionate observer. Adelman’s riveting narrative traces how Hirschman’s personal experiences shaped his unique intellectual perspective, and how his enduring legacy is one of hope, open-mindedness, and practical idealism.

2. The Golden Ticket: P, NP and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow- The Ravenclaw house would be most likely to produce the P-NP problem without magic.

3-25 Fortnow_GoldenTicketThe P-NP problem is the most important open problem in computer science, if not all of mathematics. Simply stated, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by computer can also be quickly solved by computer. The Golden Ticket provides a nontechnical introduction to P-NP, its rich history, and its algorithmic implications for everything we do with computers and beyond. In this informative and entertaining book, Lance Fortnow traces how the problem arose during the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and gives examples of the problem from a variety of disciplines, including economics, physics, and biology. He explores problems that capture the full difficulty of the P-NP dilemma, from discovering the shortest route through all the rides at Disney World to finding large groups of friends on Facebook. But difficulty also has its advantages. Hard problems allow us to safely conduct electronic commerce and maintain privacy in our online lives.

The Golden Ticket explores what we truly can and cannot achieve computationally, describing the benefits and unexpected challenges of this compelling problem.

3. Invisible in the Storm: The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather by Ian Roulstone & John Norbury- Their aptitude for mathematics would draw Ravenclaws to this book.

3-27 invisible in the stormInvisible in the Storm is the first book to recount the history, personalities, and ideas behind one of the greatest scientific successes of modern times–the use of mathematics in weather prediction. Although humans have tried to forecast weather for millennia, mathematical principles were used in meteorology only after the turn of the twentieth century. From the first proposal for using mathematics to predict weather, to the supercomputers that now process meteorological information gathered from satellites and weather stations, Ian Roulstone and John Norbury narrate the groundbreaking evolution of modern forecasting.

The authors begin with Vilhelm Bjerknes, a Norwegian physicist and meteorologist who in 1904 came up with a method now known as numerical weather prediction. Although his proposed calculations could not be implemented without computers, his early attempts, along with those of Lewis Fry Richardson, marked a turning point in atmospheric science. Roulstone and Norbury describe the discovery of chaos theory’s butterfly effect, in which tiny variations in initial conditions produce large variations in the long-term behavior of a system–dashing the hopes of perfect predictability for weather patterns. They explore how weather forecasters today formulate their ideas through state-of-the-art mathematics, taking into account limitations to predictability. Millions of variables–known, unknown, and approximate–as well as billions of calculations, are involved in every forecast, producing informative and fascinating modern computer simulations of the Earth system.

4. The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide by William H. Waller- Ravenclaws would want to know everything about the wizarding world, the muggle world, and beyond.

This book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy’s structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems–some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species.

William Waller vividly describes the Milky Way as it appears in the night sky, acquainting readers with its key components and telling the history of our changing galactic perceptions. The ancients believed the Milky Way was a home for the gods. Today we know it is but one galaxy among billions of others in the observable universe. Within the Milky Way, ground-based and space-borne telescopes have revealed that our Solar System is not alone. Hundreds of other planetary systems share our tiny part of the vast Galaxy. We reside within a galactic ecosystem that is driven by the theatrics of the most massive stars as they blaze through their brilliant lives and dramatic deaths. Similarly effervescent ecosystems of hot young stars and fluorescing nebulae delineate the graceful spiral arms in our Galaxy’s swirling disk. Beyond the disk, the spheroidal halo hosts the ponderous–and still mysterious–dark matter that outweighs everything else. Another dark mystery lurks deep in the heart of the Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole has produced bizarre phenomena seen at multiple wavelengths.

5. Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom by Daphne J. Fairbairn- On their quest for knowledge, learning about all types of animals is pertinent- sadly, magical creatures are not covered in this book.

While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can’t compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae–even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. From the fields of Spain to the deep oceans, evolutionary biologist Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristics–in size, behavior, ecology, and life history–that exist in these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn describes how male great bustards aggressively compete to display their gorgeous plumage and large physiques to watching, choosey females. She investigates why female elephant seals voluntarily live in harems where they are harassed constantly by eager males. And she reveals why dwarf male giant seadevils parasitically fuse to their giant female partners for life. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world.

Keep coming back to get your reading list for your Hogwarts house!

New Cognitive Science Catalog

We invite you to browse and download our 2013 Cognitive Science Catalog:
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/cog13.pdf

Will we see you at the Society of Neuroscience’s annual meeting? We are pleased to announce we’ll be there in New Orleans! Look for us at booth #135.

More from from Eric I. Schwartz, Sociology & Cognitive Science Editor:

It is with great pleasure that, on behalf of my colleagues at
Princeton University Press, I introduce the 2013 cognitive
science catalog
. The books in this catalog exemplify the
quality of scholarship that we prize. They reflect the genuinely
interdisciplinary approach that we take to developing
our publishing programs, and to this end, cognitive science
an interdisciplinary field connecting research within the
humanities, social science, and science is a natural representation
of the mission of the Press.

This year’s catalog features three major works worthy of
special notice. William Bialek’s Biophysics is a landmark
textbook that crosses disciplinary boundaries to teach
advanced students about this important subject. In Cells to
Civilization
, Enrico Coen provides the first unified account
of how life transforms itself, from single cells to self-understanding.
With The Behavioral Foundations of Public
Policy
, Eldar Shafir and colleagues examine the important
nexus of human behavior and economic decision making,
and how this should inform public policy.

And not to be missed are several works new in paperback
this year, including Patricia Churchland’s Braintrust, Robert
Kurzban’s Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite, Nicholas
Humphrey’s Soul Dust, Paul Thagard’s The Brain and the
Meaning of Life
, and Max H. Bazerman and Ann E.
Tenbrunsel’s Blind Spots.

Finally, this year Princeton University Press begins exhibiting
at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
We hope to see you there, and look forward to continuing
to share this intellectually engaging journey with you.
Thank you for your support.

Eric I. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Editor, Sociology & Cognitive Science

Paul Seabright on the Relationship Between the Sexes

 

Women occupy fewer positions of power in business than men. Why is that? What explains the types of relationships that men have with women and the different ways in which men and women network with friends and acquaintances? In this Social Science Bites podcast, Paul Seabright, author of ‘The War of the Sexes‘, combines an economist’s perspective with insights from biology and evolutionary science to give answers to just these questions.

Filmmaker and personality Jason Silva finds inspiration awe in Nicholas Humphrey’s SOUL DUST in film short

Check it out!

BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “According to the archaeological record, the cranial capacity of humans living 250,000 years ago was roughly the same as ours (about 1300-1500 cubic centimeters), granting individual variation then, as now. (For comparison, chimpanzee brains are about 400 cc, and the Homo erectus brain was only about 800-1100 cc, based on cranial size.) Whether the details of neural anatomy were the same is of course unknown, since the brain rapidly decays after death.”

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
by Patricia S. Churchland

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the “neurobiological platform of bonding” that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality.

Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals—the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves—first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider “caring” circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality.

A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9399.pdf