In the Palaces of Memory: How We Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads

George Johnson, Author Alfred A. Knopf $22.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-394-58348-8
How does the brain create memories? It seems that under the impact of experience, the brain actually changes its structure, filing away patterns of newly connected neurons for future recollection. But the exact mechanisms remain a mystery. Johnson ( Machinery of the Mind ) focuses on three experts who attack this enigma from the vantage of their different disciplines. Biologists Gary Lynch puts forth a controversial hypothesis which holds that the breakup of a single type of molecule inside cerebral neurons makes possible memory formation. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Cooper uses computer simulations to show that memory is inseparable from perception and logic. Philosopher Patricia Churchland depicts the brain as a ``Rube Goldberg machine,'' an assemblage of evolutionary tricks for translating sensory data into mental constructs--memories--that help ensure survival. This elegantly written report is science on the cutting edge--messy, intuitive and exciting. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-28583-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-679-73759-9
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