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Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence

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Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence Cover

ISBN13: 9781403979780
ISBN10: 1403979782
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Our big brains, our language ability, and our intelligence make us uniquely human.

But barely 10,000 years ago (a mere blip in evolutionary time) human-like creatures called "Boskops" flourished in South Africa. They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50% larger than ours, and estimated IQs to match: far surpassing our own. Many of these huge fossil skulls have been discovered over the last century, but most of us have never heard of this scientific marvel.

Prominent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger compare the contents of the Boskop brain and our own brains today, and arrive at startling conclusions about our intelligence and creativity. Connecting cutting-edge theories of genetics, evolution, language, memory, learning, and intelligence, Lynch and Granger show the implications of large brains for a broad array of fields, from the current state of the art in Alzheimer's and other brain disorders, to new advances in brain-based robots that see and converse with us, and the means by which neural prosthetics (replacement parts for the brain) are being designed and tested. The authors demystify the complexities of our brains in this fascinating and accessible book, and give us tantalizing insights into our humanity; its past, and its future.

Review:

"[A] fascinating and provocative account of the human brain's recent past." Joseph LeDoux, author of The Emotional Brain

Review:

"A much needed book on big brains....Big Brain is a popular account of how brains enlarge, in both evolutionary and developmental terms. The strength of the book lies in the neuroscience, especially its treatment of neural plasticity and the 'association areas' of the brain." William H. Calvin, New Scientist

Review:

"The Lynch and Granger combination is like mixing gas with fire. In this book there are big, explosive ideas by two ingenious brain scientists." Michael Gazzaniga, author of The Ethical Brain

Review:

"On a planet in which everything seems to be getting bigger (the internet), hotter (our climate), or more numerous (the world's population), Gary Lynch and Rick Granger reveal the intriguing possibility that people with larger brains than us may have been around a few thousand years ago. Their account of the mysteries of the brain and intelligence challenges conventional views in a scholarly yet wonderfully accessible manner." Richard Morris, Director of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh, and President, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, and Former Chair, Brain Research Association of the United Kingdom

Review:

"Riveting...the book tracks the evolutionary development of the human brain." Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe

Synopsis:

A radical and groundbreaking look at our potential to enhance cognition

Synopsis:

Our big brains, our language ability, and our intelligence make us uniquely human. 

But barely 10,000 years ago (a mere blip in evolutionary time) human-like creatures called "Boskops" flourished in South Africa. They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50% larger than ours, and estimated IQs to match--far surpassing our own. Many of these huge fossil skulls have been discovered over the last century, but most of us have never heard of this scientific marvel.

Prominent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger compare the contents of the Boskop brain and our own brains today, and arrive at startling conclusions about our intelligence and creativity. Connecting cutting-edge theories of genetics, evolution, language, memory, learning, and intelligence, Lynch and Granger show the implications of large brains for a broad array of fields, from the current state of the art in Alzheimer's and other brain disorders, to new advances in brain-based robots that see and converse with us, and the means by which neural prosthetics-- replacement parts for the brain--are being designed and tested. The authors demystify the complexities of our brains in this fascinating and accessible book, and give us tantalizing insights into our humanity--its past, and its future.

Synopsis:

In this groundbreaking look at the evolution of our brains, eminent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger uncover the mysteries of the outsize intelligence of our ancestors, who had bigger brains than humans living today. Weaving together history, science, and the latest theories of artificial intelligence, Lynch and Granger demystify the complexities of our brains, and show us how our memory, cognition, and intelligence actually function, as well as what mechanisms in the brain can potentially be enhanced, improving on the current design. Author of The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux praised it as "provocative and fascinating," and, writing in the New Scientist, Willian Calvin called it "a popular account of how brains enlarge, in both evolutionary and developmental terms" and "a much needed book."

About the Author

Gary Lynch is a professor at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of more than 550 scientific publications that are among the most cited in the field of neuroscience. He is the co-inventor of a novel family of cognition-enhancing drugs called "ampakines", is co-founder of three technology companies (Cortex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: COR), Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA), and Thuris Corporation), has served as advisor to multiple professional entities including the Society for Neuroscience and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and has been featured in major television networks, newspapers, and magazines ranging from the Los Angeles Times to Popular Science.

Richard Granger is W.H. Neukom Distinguished Professor of Computational Science and of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth. He has been the principal architect of a series of advanced computational systems for military, commercial and medical applications, and co-inventor of FDA-approved devices and drugs. He is a consultant, co-founder, and board member of numerous technology corporations such as Thuris Corporation and Cortex Pharmaceuticals, and government research agencies including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. His work has been highlighted in numerous popular press and television features, including recent stories in Forbes, Wired, and on CNN.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

t.magnuson, July 17, 2008 (view all comments by t.magnuson)
Lynch and Granger do a great job bringing us up to date on the development of the brain. Where do we go from here? Public TV has a special on 'The World Wide Mind,' that speaks event today of blind people being able to see by having a camera hooked up to their optical nerves and the paralyzed being able to think words onto pages...Ted Magnuson, author The Moses Probe.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Taylor, July 11, 2008 (view all comments by Taylor)
In Big Brain, two neuroscientists offer up an intriguing argument about the size of brains and how that size corresponds to evolutionary advancements. They also shed light on the politics that sometimes informs how scientists present or obscure information.

I found this book interesting, but beyond their argument about bigger brains, I didn't find anything startlingly new. Most of what they presented is information about how the brain is believed to work and how it allows us to think and learn. They did focus on some intriguing mutations that are found in the occasional person where said person has gifts some of us don't have while also having disabilities that we don't have.

The book is an interesting read and does provide some solid information for people who are just learning about neuroscience. It's perspective on evolution is also intriguing, but there are other works that provide more insight into how the brain works than this book will.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781403979780
Author:
Gary Lynch and Richard Granger
Publisher:
Palgrave MacMillan
Illustrator:
Cotman, Cheryl
Author:
Lynch, Gary
Author:
Granger, Richard
Subject:
Human Physiology
Subject:
Intellect
Subject:
Brain
Subject:
Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution - Human
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Neurosciences
Subject:
Life Sciences/Human Anatomy
Subject:
Physiology
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Anatomy and Physiology
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
MacSci
Publication Date:
March 2008
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 29 black-and-white illustration
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.3 x 0.92 in

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Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology

Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.75 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Palgrave Macmillan - English 9781403979780 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating and provocative account of the human brain's recent past."
"Review" by , "A much needed book on big brains....Big Brain is a popular account of how brains enlarge, in both evolutionary and developmental terms. The strength of the book lies in the neuroscience, especially its treatment of neural plasticity and the 'association areas' of the brain."
"Review" by , "The Lynch and Granger combination is like mixing gas with fire. In this book there are big, explosive ideas by two ingenious brain scientists."
"Review" by , "On a planet in which everything seems to be getting bigger (the internet), hotter (our climate), or more numerous (the world's population), Gary Lynch and Rick Granger reveal the intriguing possibility that people with larger brains than us may have been around a few thousand years ago. Their account of the mysteries of the brain and intelligence challenges conventional views in a scholarly yet wonderfully accessible manner." Richard Morris, Director of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh, and President, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, and Former Chair, Brain Research Association of the United Kingdom
"Review" by , "Riveting...the book tracks the evolutionary development of the human brain."
"Synopsis" by ,
A radical and groundbreaking look at our potential to enhance cognition
"Synopsis" by ,
Our big brains, our language ability, and our intelligence make us uniquely human. 

But barely 10,000 years ago (a mere blip in evolutionary time) human-like creatures called "Boskops" flourished in South Africa. They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50% larger than ours, and estimated IQs to match--far surpassing our own. Many of these huge fossil skulls have been discovered over the last century, but most of us have never heard of this scientific marvel.

Prominent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger compare the contents of the Boskop brain and our own brains today, and arrive at startling conclusions about our intelligence and creativity. Connecting cutting-edge theories of genetics, evolution, language, memory, learning, and intelligence, Lynch and Granger show the implications of large brains for a broad array of fields, from the current state of the art in Alzheimer's and other brain disorders, to new advances in brain-based robots that see and converse with us, and the means by which neural prosthetics-- replacement parts for the brain--are being designed and tested. The authors demystify the complexities of our brains in this fascinating and accessible book, and give us tantalizing insights into our humanity--its past, and its future.

"Synopsis" by ,

In this groundbreaking look at the evolution of our brains, eminent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger uncover the mysteries of the outsize intelligence of our ancestors, who had bigger brains than humans living today. Weaving together history, science, and the latest theories of artificial intelligence, Lynch and Granger demystify the complexities of our brains, and show us how our memory, cognition, and intelligence actually function, as well as what mechanisms in the brain can potentially be enhanced, improving on the current design. Author of The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux praised it as "provocative and fascinating," and, writing in the New Scientist, Willian Calvin called it "a popular account of how brains enlarge, in both evolutionary and developmental terms" and "a much needed book."

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