Book Announcement

Publicity 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:

<http://weber.u.washington.edu/~wcalvin/>
<http://www-mitpress.mit.edu/mitp/recent-books/cog/calch.html>

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
October 1996
6 x 9 ‹ 248 pp.
ISBN 0-262-03241-4 
$22.50



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