publicity at mit.edu
Fri Sep 13 12:44:55 EST 1996
This is a book which readers of bionet.neuroscience might find of
interest. For more information, please see:
The Cerebral Code
Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind
William H. Calvin
The Cerebral Code is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes
could operate in the brain to shape mental images in only seconds,
starting with shuffled memories no better than the jumble of our
nighttime dreams, but evolving into something of quality, such as a
sentence to speak aloud. Jung said that dreaming goes on continuously
but you can't see it when you are awake, just as you can't see the
stars in the daylight because it is too bright. Calvin's is a theory
for what goes on, hidden from view by the glare of waking mental
operations, that produces our peculiarly human type of consciousness
with its versatile intelligence.
As Piaget emphasized in 1929, intelligence is what we use when we
don't know what to do, when we have to grope rather than using a
standard response. Calvin tackles a mechanism for doing this
exploration and improvement offline, as we think before we act or
practice the art of good guessing.
Surprisingly, the subtitle's mosaics of the mind is not a literary
metaphor. For the first time, it is a description of a mechanism of
what appears to be an appropriate level of explanation for many mental
phenomena, that of hexagonal mosaics of electrical activity that
compete for territory in the association cortex of the brain. This
two-dimensional mosaic is predicted to grow and dissolve much as the
sugar crystals do in the bottom of a supersaturated glass of iced tea.
A Bradford Book
6 x 9 248 pp.
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