The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience 3rd Edition
The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience
Reflecting recent changes in the way cognition and the brain are studied, this thoroughly updated third edition of the best-selling textbook provides a comprehensive and student-friendly guide to cognitive neuroscience. Jamie Ward provides an easy-to-follow introduction to neural structure and function, as well as all the key methods and procedures of cognitive neuroscience, with a view to helping students understand how they can be used to shed light on the neural basis of cognition.
The book presents an up-to-date overview of the latest theories and findings in all the key topics in cognitive neuroscience, including vision, memory, speech and language, hearing, numeracy, executive function, social and emotional behavior and developmental neuroscience, as well as a new chapter on attention. Throughout, case studies, newspaper reports and everyday examples are used to help students understand the more challenging ideas that underpin the subject.
In addition each chapter includes:
• Summaries of key terms and points
• Example essay questions
• Recommended further reading
• Feature boxes exploring interesting and popular questions and their implications for the subject.
Written in an engaging style by a leading researcher in the field, and presented in full-color including numerous illustrative materials, this book will be invaluable as a core text for undergraduate modules in cognitive neuroscience. It can also be used as a key text on courses in cognition, cognitive neuropsychology, bio – psychology or brain and behavior. Those embarking on research will find it an invaluable starting point and reference.
The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience, Third Edition is supported by a companion website, featuring helpful resources for both students and instructors.
Jamie Ward is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of a number of books on social and cognitive neuroscience and on synaesthesia, and is the Founding Editor of the journal Cognitive Neuroscience
The motivation for writing this book came out of my experiences of teaching cognitive neuroscience. When asked by students which book they should buy, I felt that none of the existing books would satisfactorily meet their needs. Other books in the market were variously too encyclopedic, too advanced, not up-todate or gave short shrift to explaining the methods of the field. My brief for writing this textbook was to provide a text that presents key ideas and findings but is not too long, that is up-to-date, and that considers both method and theory. I hope
that it will be useful to both lecturers and students.
In writing a book on cognitive neuroscience I had to make a decision as to how much would be “cognitive” and how much would be “neuroscience.” In my opinion, the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive neuroscience lie within the cognitive psychology tradition. Some of the most elegant studies using methods such as fMRI and TMS have been motivated by previous research in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. The ultimate aim of cognitive neuroscience is to provide a brain-based account of cognition, and so the methods of cognitive neuroscience must necessarily speak to some aspect of brain function. However, I believe that cognitive neuroscience has much to learn from cognitive psychology in terms of which theoretically interesting questions to ask. In Chapter 1, I discuss the current status of cognitive neuroscience as I see it. Some of the topics raised in this chapter are directly aimed at other researchers in the field who are skeptical about the merits of the newer methodologies. I suspect that students who are new to the field will approach the topic with openmindedness rather than skepticism, but I hope that they will nevertheless be able
to gain something from this debate. Chapter 2 is intended primarily as a reference source that can be referred back to. It is deliberately pitched at a need-to-know level. Chapters 3 to 5 describe in detail the methods of cognitive neuroscience. The aim of an undergraduate course in cognitive neuroscience is presumably to enable students to critically evaluate the field and, in my opinion, this can only be achieved if the students fully understand the limitations of the methods on which the field is based. I also hope that these chapters will be of use to researchers who are starting out in the field. This third edition has been updated to include the latest research tools (such as tDCS, transcranial direct current stimulation) and the latest research methodology (such as multi-voxel pattern analysis, MVPA, in fMRI research).
Chapters 6 to 16 outline the main theories and findings in the field. I hope that they convey something of the excitement and optimism that currently exists.
Although no new chapters have been added, this third edition represents a substantial update. Chapter 7 is now rewritten to focus specifically on attention, rather than spatial cognition more generally. The content relating to working memory now appears in Chapter 9, “The Remembering Brain,” rather than in the chapter on executive functions, and the “cognitive map” theory of the hippocampus (place cells, etc.) is integrated within the memory chapter, too. The hot-topic of embodied cognition is introduced in more detail and critically evaluated, notably in Chapter 10 (e.g. motor theories of speech perception), Chapter 11 (e.g. sensorimotor grounding of semantic features), and Chapter 15 (e.g. understanding others via simulation). Chapter 14, “The Executive Brain,” has been substantially rewritten and reorganized to take into account newer theories concerning the organization of control systems in the prefrontal cortex.
Brighton, UK, July 2014
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