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In a world full of science, the balance of power between sciences is changing. Advances in physics, chemistry, and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. Now the younger sciences of brain and mind are applying the scientific method not only to our environments, but to us. In recent years funding and effort poured into brain research. We are entering the era of the brain supremacy. What will the new science mean for us, as individuals, consumers, parents and citizens? Should we be excited, or alarmed, by the remarkable promises we read about in the media – promises of drugs that can boost our brain power, ever more subtle marketing techniques, even machines that can read minds? What is the neuroscience behind these claims, and how do scientists look inside living human brains to get their astonishing results?
The Brain Supremacy is a lucid and rational guide to this exciting new world. Using recent examples from the scientific literature and the media, it explores the science behind the hype, revealing how techniques like fMRI actually work and what claims about using them for mindreading really mean. The implications of this amazingly powerful new research are clearly and entertainingly presented. Looking to the future, The Brain Supremacy sets current neuroscience in its social and ethical context, as an increasingly important influence on how all of us live our lives.
The Way We Live Now
1: Introducing the brain supremacy
2: The many powers of science
3: Could we read minds?
4: Bring on the designer minds?
The Keys to Power
5: Seeing the brain through many eyes
6: To physics, with thanks
7: When science meets journalism
8: The subatomic chorus
9: When currents flow
10: Neuroscience goes quantum
11: Poke it and see what happens
12: Poking people
13: Chemical control
14: Tweaking genes
Neuroscience and the Future
15: The problems of neurotech
16: Creating the brain supremacy
List of websites
Kathleen Taylor is a freelance writer as well as a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford. In 2002 she won two writing competitions run by the Times Higher Education Supplement, one for science writing and one for an essay in the humanities/social sciences. Her books include Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (longlisted for an Aventis Prize and translated into eight languages) and Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain.
"Neuroscience is suddenly one of the hottest subjects out there, and this single volume tells you why in accessible language. An invaluable survey with plenty of illustrations and a glossary of terms."
– Oxford Today Vol. 25 No. 2
"The book shines in presenting a thorough and illuminating analysis of neuroscience methods, past and present. Taylor's explanation is thoughtful, engaging and provides readers with a valuable understanding of what different approaches can offer to both science and society as a whole."
– New Scientist
"Well-written and thought-provoking, this book will help scientifically literate readers understand the science behind a potentially unsettling future."
– Library Journal
"[Taylor] crafts an elegant guidebook on current technologies and methods for studying the brain [...] This comprehensive guide to the powers and limitations of neuroscience has much to offer."
– Scientific American MIND