In article <pan.2003.11.23.23.43.30.808562 at innovateyour.com>,
Chris Brunner <newsaddy at innovateyour.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 22 Nov 2003 23:54:06 +0000, HCN wrote:
> > You might try here:
> > http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/introb.html> >
> > It is geared towards middle school, but it does have several references
> > and links that you might find helpful.
>> Anything that I didn't already know helps. Thanks for this!
Chris, the big topics of neuroscience need a fair bit of background to
really "get" (imagine trying to understand a joke in a language you
don't speak). But what you can do now is to feed the fire of your
interest, and that will make the duller parts of the learning process
much more bearable.
Some books which have really fascinated me include:
"Phantoms of the Brain" by Ramachandran and Blakeslee
"The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks
"Broca's Brain" by Carl Sagan
and almost anything by Steven Jay Gould (evolution is important!)
The key to these kinds of things is to really soak them up - read a
little, and sit back somewhere quiet and try to figure out what you
think is going on in the situations / cases / phenomena described. Ask
yourself what makes sense, and what surprises you. Then - the hard part
- ask youself why you were surprised, and what assumptions you need to
Also, and I think this is very important, always try to see the brain as
a biological product, and as a survival enhancing organ that makes the
individual cope better with its environment. So ask yourself what the
survival advantage of any trait or system would be.
That way, you gain an understanding of the properties of the brain, but
you also understand their context. That gives you a deeper
understanding and makes you never forget the "big picture".
If you can, photocopy a picture of the nervous system's major anatomical
structures and keep it handy when you read. If you're anything like me,
it helps to connect the dots when you can see what's being discussed.
If you contact me by e-mail I can supply some introductory material I
give out to students here - it starts from the early basics and goes as
far as you want! You'll have to edit my e-mail address, thanks to the
viruses that have plagued Usenet.
Good luck in your quest - your interest in the subject is the one thing
that nobody can teach you, and the one thing you need most!