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The Great Brain Debate: Nature or Nurture?

By: John E Dowling

189 pages, Figs

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Aug 2007 | #168794 | ISBN-13: 9780691133102
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £21.99 $29/€25 approx

About this book

Whether our personality, intelligence, and behavior are more likely to be shaped by our environment or our genetic coding is not simply an idle question for today's researchers. There are tremendous consequences to understanding the crucial role that environment and genes each play. How we raise and educate our children, how we treat various mental diseases or conditions, how we care for our elderly - these are just some of the issues that can be informed by a better understanding of brain development.

In The Great Brain Debate, the eminent neuroscience researcher John Dowling looks at these and other important issues. The work that is being done on the connection between the brain and vision, as well as the ways in which our brains help us learn new languages, are particularly revealing. From this groundbreaking new research, Dowling explains startling new insights into how the brain functions and how it can (or cannot) be molded and changed. By studying the brain across the spectrum of our lives, from infancy through adulthood and into old age, Dowling shows the ways in which both nature and nurture play key roles over the course of a human lifetime.

[The Great Brain Debate] is an enjoyable primer on some of the most exciting areas of neuroscience research today. -- A. K. Prashanth, Times Higher Education Supplement Dowling does a masterful job... His eloquent essay provides solid examples of what elements of brain development and brain function are under genetic control and which are largely guided by experience. -- Charles A. Nelson and Irving I. Gottesman, Science [Dowling] writes authoritatively and covers the important stuff. -- San Diego Union Tribune The Great Brain Debate is a fine introduction to some of the key findings in contemporary neuroscience. In addressing the mechanisms of both nature and nurture, Dowling's book is clear and judicious, well articulating our current knowledge of both. -- Gary Marcus, American Journal of Psychology


Introduction 1 Part I: The Developing Brain Chapter 1: Building a Brain 7 Chapter 2: Maturing a Brain 33 Chapter 3: Developing Behaviors 57 Part II: The Adult Brain Chapter 4: Teaching Older Dogs New Tricks 83 Chapter 5: Controversies: New Neurons and Genes and Behavior 111 Part III: The Aging Brain Chapter 6: Is Aging of the Brain a Disease? 139 Conclusions (and Speculations) 161 Further Reading 175 Figure Credits 177 Index 179

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John E. Dowling is the Llura and Gordon Gund Professor of Neurosciences and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, including the Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research.

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