The cerebral cortex, occupying over 70 percent of our brain mass, is key to any understanding of the workings--and disorders--of the human brain. offering a comprehensive account of the role of the cerebral cortex in perception, this monumental work by one of the world's greatest living neuroscientists does nothing short of creating a new subdiscipline in the field: perceptual neuroscience.
For this undertaking, Vernon Mountcastle has gathered information from a vast number of sources reaching back through two centuries of investigation into the intrinsic operations of the cortex. His survey includes phylogenetic, comparative, and neuroanatomical studies of the neocortex; studies of the large-scale organization of the neocortex, of neuronal histogenesis and the specification of cortical areas, of synaptic transmission between neurons in cortical microcircuits, and of rhythmicity and synchronization in neocortical networks; and inquiries into the binding problem--how activities among the separate processing nodes of distributed systems coalesce in a coherent activity that we call perception.
The first book to summarize what is known about the physiology of the cortex in perception, Perceptual Neuroscience will be a landmark in the literature of neuroscience.
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Vernon B. Mountcastle, M.D., was University Professor of Neuroscience, Emeritus, at the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute of Johns Hopkins University and winner of the 1998 National Academy of Sciences Award in Neurosciences.Review:
Perceptual Neuroscience is a superb, if rather selective, survey of the phylogeny, ontogeny, anatomy, physiology, and organization of the cerebral cortex. Emphasizing the role of the cortex in perceptual processing, this well-written, well-produced volume draws on over 1100 citations. What is particularly valuable about this book is the insights it provides into the thinking of one of our most active senior neuroscientists. (Charles Gross Nature Neuroscience)
Erudite, encyclopedic, a fascinating overview by a founder and major contributor to the field. (Michael V.L. Bennett, Albert Einstein College of Medicine)
Vernon Mountcastle's contributions to brain science are singular. Over the years he has tackled only the toughest problems and brought us understanding of the basic cortical unit involved in computational processes underlying perception, and for that matter probably all cognitive functions. He now brings us a lucid summary of what is known about the neural basis of perception in a beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated work. It will be the benchmark book well into the next century. (Michael Gazzaniga, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College)
This is a remarkable book by one of the most distinguished of modern neurophysiologists. It presents in a very clear light material that forms the foundations of neurophysiology but which rarely appears in textbooks today. This book will be of enormous value to all neuroscientists. (Edward G. Jones, President-Elect, Society for Neuroscience, and Director, Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis)
While I welcomed the advent of 'cognitive neuroscience', a lot of cognitive neuroscience is perceptual neuroscience. This is a topic we know a lot about from years of research. I can think of no better person to write about this topic than Vernon Mountcastle. Everything I expected is in this volume, and more. The topics are those that I want my students to know. While the basics are clearly presented, we also are treated to the important conceptual advances of Mountcastle himself. The style is bold and the text is informative. No other text covers the topic of the cerebral cortex so well. (Jon H. Kaas, Centennial Professor, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University)
It takes a certain audacity to make the leap from mundane physiology and anatomy to perception, but no one is better qualified than Professor Mountcastle to make that leap. This book will be a rich resource for those of us who view the cerebral cortex at an integrative systems level. A particular strength of the book is its quantitative approach. There is little or no computational heavy lifting, but there is a consistent effort to back up description and assertion with numbers. This is a work that that sparks the creative imagination. (John C. Middlebrooks, Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan)
No practicing neuroscientist has devoted more time and energy to understanding the cerebral cortex than Vernon Mountcastle. Based on this wealth of experience, Mountcastle has now completed an authoritative synthesis that will be of great value to students and professionals alike. (Dale Purves, Department of Neurobiology, Duke University)
This book must surely be the definitive source on the structure and function of the mammalian neocortex, and it comes from an intrepid explorer. Vernon Mountcastle provided the first evidence for the columnar organization of the neocortex by making systematic recordings from single neurons in the somatosensory cortex, which was a tour de force for its time (mid-1950s). This was the first glimpse of the cell-wise modular organization of mammalian neocortex; cortical columns were later found to be the organizing principle not only for other sensory modalities, but also for the motor cortex. Neuroscientists of all stripes, as well as clinicians and advanced students, will welcome this vast and authoritative perspective from one of the authentic 'greats' of cellular neurophysiology. (Ron Hoy, Cornell University)
Vernon Mountcastle has written a magnificent overview of our present understanding of perception and the cerebral cortex. The book is exactly what we have come to expect from Mountcastle--thorough, precise and rigorous. The book will have a long shelf-life and be the 'bible' for generations of both students and researchers interested in cortical mechanisms. (John E. Dowling, Harvard University)
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