cover image The Creative Loop: How the Brain Makes a Mind

The Creative Loop: How the Brain Makes a Mind

Erich Harth. Addison Wesley Publishing Company, $21 (196pp) ISBN 978-0-201-57079-3

Rejecting computer-based models of the brain as flawed, Syracuse physics professor Harth sets forth a provocative alternative model according to which simple neural mechanisms account for creativity and imagination. If Harth ( Windows on the Mind ) is correct, the mental image of a rose or a rabbit occurs near the beginning of the sensory pathways, not in a higher ``command center'' of the brain. In his model, the cerebral cortex creates these images using the thalamus as a ``sketchpad'' on which it projects the image and modifies it, drawing on previous sensory input. Similar ``creative loops'' exist for all the senses, combining to form a system of neural networks between the brain and the body that generates messages about the world. Consciousness, in this view, wells up through a reactivation of images, and selfhood arises from a deliberately assembled self-image grounded in experience encoded as neural memory. Based on the author's two decades of research, this elegantly written treatise will challenge neuroscientists, psychologists and students of the mind. Illustrated. (Oct.)