Cognitive Neuroscience 4th Edition
THE FOURTH EDITION of this book, although extensively revised, retains the spirit, organization, and many of the features of the first three editions. Like the earlier editions, it provides a systematic introduction to the neural basis of mental function. It includes state-of-the-art research from experimental work performed with humans and animals, as well as findings from clinical populations. The goal, as before, is to provide a balanced, synthesized, and integrated view of what we know both about the brain and about cognition. Simultaneously, the text aims to provide these views in accessible prose that will excite students to think critically about the potential of cognitive neuroscience to yield new insights.
While the entire text has been revised and updated, two sets of major changes are especially notable. First, the content of the book has been modified in line with the changing nature of the field. The introductory chapters have been reorganized to provide an integrated overview of the nervous system at both cellular and neuroanatomical levels in Chapter 1, followed by a new chapter on the historical development of cognitive neuroscience (Chapter 2). Two new chapters have been included, one on Social Cognition (Chapter 13) and another on Cognitive Neuroscience and Society (Chapter 17). The inclusion of these chapters reflects rapid expansions in new research in these subfields combined with awareness of the need for cognitive neuroscientists to address questions of societal interest. In addition, material on hemispheric specialization from prior editions has been integrated with coverage throughout the text, rather than parceled into a separate chapter as in prior editions. Second, the book has been revised to make the content more accessible to students. It has been rewritten to focus on major concepts and to present them, and the experiments that support them, in a way that makes the critical ideas clear to students without bogging them down in detail. Finally, recognizing the importance of visual elements in learning, the four-color art program has been completely revised with an expanded set of figures in every chapter.
In addition to these major changes, every chapter has been thoroughly updated to reflect current findings in the fast-growing field of cognitive neuroscience. While the current edition still includes findings from traditional methods, such as the study of brain-damaged patients, which have provided foundational knowledge to the field, we pay special attention to the integration of findings from a variety of newer approaches, including transcranial magnetic stimulation, diffusion tensor imaging, multi-voxel pattern analysis, and studies examining functional connectivity. Throughout, our intention is to provide students with a thorough and solid grounding in the basic principles and findings of cognitive neuroscience, tools that they can then use to further understand applied and clinical problems.
Text Organization and Features
The book’s soul remains very much the same as in the first three editions, as the following main features have been retained.
■ The book provides a systematic survey of the neural bases of a wide variety of mental functions
The overall organization of the book is divided into three main sections: fundamentals (Chapters 1–3), neural bases of specific mental functions (Chapters 4–13), and broader applications (Chapters 14–17). The first part of the book, comprising the first three chapters, provides students with a basic foundation for the exploration of cognitive neuroscience. The first chapter provides information about the basic parts and divisions of the central nervous system and the fundamentals of neural transmission. This chapter may be unnecessary for students who have already completed a course in physiological psychology, but will be of use to students who have not. The second chapter outlines the historical milestones in the development of the field, with special attention to methodological and conceptual developments that advanced the field in different eras. The third chapter acquaints students with the myriad of burgeoning techniques, both standard and novel, that are available to scientists and clinicians in their quest to understand the neural bases of mental function.
The second part of the book, Chapters 4 through 13, provides a survey of the neural bases of mental function, with each chapter devoted to a distinct mental function. The chapter topics discussed are, in order, motor processes, early perceptual processing, object recognition, spatial cognition, language, memory, attention, executive function, emotion, and social cognition.
The last part of the book, comprising the last four chapters, examines broad-based applications in cognitive neuroscience, including development, aging, clinical syndromes, and the interface between neuroscience and society. Instructors may view these chapters as more discretionary than earlier ones, in the sense that they cover more advanced issues. In our teaching, we’ve found that these advanced, applied, and clinical issues are of special interest to many students, as they find it very rewarding to use the knowledge that they have gained earlier in the text to approach these broader applications. Chapter 14 examines mental conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Chapter 15 examines neural plasticity from a lifespan perspective, including developmental changes during childhood, adolescence, and aging. In addition, it discusses recovery of function in children and in adults, and the neural bases of developmental disabilities. Chapter 16 examines syndromes that are characterized by generalized cognitive disorders (rather than the more localized and specific disorders discussed in Chapters 4 through 13), including closed head injury, dementia, demyelinating diseases, and epilepsy. Finally, the text ends with Chapter 17, Cognitive Neuroscience and Society, which critically examines the ways in which cognitive neuroscience knowledge can be applied to domains of broad societal concern such as education, social inequality, the law, and morality.
■ The sequence of the chapters is designed for progressive learning
The chapters have been carefully sequenced so that information in later chapters builds upon information in earlier ones. Notably, the processes most linked to motoric and sensory functions are presented earlier, and those that depend on more integrative aspects of brain function, such as executive function and emotion, are presented later. For example, the chapter on object recognition directly precedes that on spatial processing, so that the student is introduced to the ventral and dorsal visual processing streams in consecutive chapters. The chapter on memory is preceded by the language and object-recognition chapters so that the distinction between generalized memory disorders and the “memory” problems that are specific to certain domains (e.g., anomia in language or agnosia with regard to objects) is clear. Yet, despite the intentional progression of ideas across chapters, chapters are written to be self-contained so that instructors may alter the order of material depending on specific syllabus needs.
■ The book is designed to actively engage students in the process of learning
Most chapters begin with an opening case history to pique the students’ interest and preview issues that are discussed later in the chapter. For example, the opening case history in Chapter 4 discusses how Muhammad Ali’s boxing career led him to have a Parkinsonian disorder, and the opening case history in Chapter 16 discusses the mental decline of Marie’s maternal grandmother due to dementia. The text is written in a conversational tone rather than in a technical style, to grab the students’ interest and retain it. We use analogies extensively so that difficult conceptual issues can be presented in a tractable manner. Each chapter includes an “In Focus” box that explores in depth a specific applied issue in cognitive neuroscience, helping students to see the implications of research for everyday life.
To keep students oriented to terminology, key terms are introduced in boldface and defined in a glossary at the back of the book. Chapter summaries allow students to review the material learned or preview what is to be discussed, and outlines at the beginning of each chapter provide a clear conceptual structure of the contents. All these features are designed to make this book as user-friendly as possible.
■ State-of-the-art knowledge in the field is presented without sacrificing accuracy or oversimplifying the material
As researchers who maintain highly active and visible research programs, we are in a position to ensure that the book contains not only a discussion of the “classic” findings in the field, but also the cutting-edge portion of our knowledge. Never, however, are students overwhelmed with a laundry list of findings or with overly technical arcane issues. Rather, representative studies are used to highlight the nature of current debates, so that students can understand, and think critically about, the conceptual issues under consideration and how researchers attempt to reason based on experimental evidence. Our extensive work in both research and teaching in cognitive neuroscience allows us to present issues in a manner that is precise and sophisticated, yet also accessible and integrative.
What’s New in This Edition
While the approach of the prior editions has been retained, this fourth edition has nevertheless been extensively revamped. The main new additions are as follows.
■ The use of an integrated four-color art program
With this edition, we have thoroughly revised the art program, emphasizing systematic depiction of information across the figures, so as to enhance students’ ability to understand the material. All figures from earlier editions have been redrawn, and many new figures have been added. Some figures highlight regions of the brain so the reader can quickly see “where” and “what” in the brain are important. Other figures present data from representative studies in the field, so that students can gain experience in viewing and interpreting data; still others depict important experimental paradigms so that students can quickly grasp how a key study was conducted.
■ Addition of two new chapters
Two chapters have been added to the text to reflect growing areas of research over the last decade. A new stand-alone chapter covering social cognitive neuroscience (Chapter 13) is now included due to the burgeoning growth of research in this area. In the previous edition of the text, this material was relegated to a relatively short section of the chapter on Emotion. The new Social Cognition chapter addresses how new knowledge from neuroscience expands our understanding of how we perceive the mental states of other people, categorize people into social groups, and control our behavior to align with social norms.
In addition, completely new to this edition is Chapter 17, Cognitive Neuroscience and Society. This chapter, which concludes the book, covers issues of broader societal significance to which the field can speak. For example, the chapter addresses research on how laypeople view neuroscience research, what neuroscience may add to our understanding of the effects of social inequality on development, and how neuroscience knowledge is being used in criminal justice settings. As students of cognitive neuroscience enter a wide range of professions, such as law, education, and business, it is crucial for them to be able to critically evaluate what neuroscience can and cannot add to discussions of issues in these arenas.
■ Extensive updating of the material to incorporate the acceleration of knowledge in the field
The field of cognitive neuroscience continues to explode with new discoveries. As a result, all of the chapters of the book were extensively rewritten to incorporate this vast amount of additional knowledge, which is reflected in hundreds of new references from studies using diverse methodologies.
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