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Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence

Popular Science

By: Gary Lynch and Richard Granger

272 pages, Figs

Palgrave

Paperback | Jan 2009 | #177901 | ISBN-13: 9781403979797
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £14.99 $19/€18 approx
Hardback | Mar 2008 | #172199 | ISBN-13: 9781403979780
Availability uncertain: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £20.99 $26/€25 approx

About this book

This title offers a radical and groundbreaking look at the future of brain engineering. The authors are forerunning scholars in the future of brain engineering, memory enhancement and the study of human intelligence. From them, we learn how far to take the new science of brain enhancement.

This title features beautiful representations of the brain in all of its complexity. Our big brains, our language ability, and our intelligence make us uniquely human. But barely 10,000 years ago human-like creatures called 'Boskops' flourished in South Africa. They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50 per cent 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.

'The Lynch and Grainger 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.

'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.' - Prof. Richard Morris, Director, Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh, UK, President, Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Former chair, Brain Research Association of the United Kingdom.


Contents

Two Strategies for Internalising the World; Genes and Evolution; Brains Arrive; Olfaction (Sense of Smell) Designs a Network; From Olfaction to Cognition; The Thinking Brain; Tools for Thinking; Individual Differences; A Short History of the Humans; The Origins of Intelligence; Giant Brains; Extrapolations; More than Human.

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Biography

GARY LYNCH is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, USA. 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_. He 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, USA. 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. His work has been highlighted in numerous popular press and television features, including recent stories in Forbes, Wired, and on CNN.

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