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Brains: How They Seem to Work
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Brains: How They Seem to Work

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  151 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
For 50 years, the world's most brilliant neuroscientists have struggled to understand how human brains really work. Today, says Dale Purves, the dominant research agenda may have taken us as far as it can--and neuroscientists may be approaching a paradigm shift. In this highly personal book, Purves reveals how we got to this point and offers his notion of where neuroscienc ...more
Hardcover, 1st edition, 304 pages
Published April 9th 2010 by FT Press Science (first published November 24th 2009)
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Bernard Kripkee
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brains
This book is part biography, part history of neuroscience, and part brain theory. The author, Dale Purves, was a participant in some of the essential movements in current brain science, and worked with, or otherwise knew, many of the leading figures of contemporary brain science. His accounts of the work and personalities of these people are vivid and insightful.

In the later parts of the book, he advances a theoretical approach to perception that explains perceptual phenomena (such as illusions)
Ibrahim Almosallam
Nov 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Misleading title!!!

I haven't rushed into buying this book at all. After I was attracted by the title I took a look into the TOC and read a part of the first chapter and skimmed through the rest.

If you are a person in the neuroscience field then you will definitely enjoy this book, but might not find it greatly useful though. The first part of the book is the author's personal journey in the field, the people he enteracted or worked with and the main events that took place in the neuroscience fi
May 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
I received this on the free books list at Kindle, and as a neuropsychologist I think I paid too much. I read through this on the plane to Greece, and most of it reads like an introductory to psych text (it dropped some big names, talked about neurons, and discussed sensation and perception), but with more personal pictures. It was needlessly complex to read in areas, I thought. If you have a sudden desire to know how brains work, skip this author's explanation.
Dee Renee  Chesnut
This book was free when I downloaded it to my Nook from Barnes and Noble.

I have a general interest in neuroscience. For the first six chapters, this book was an entertaining memoir of Purves' career and other scientists exploring the function and anatomy of nerve cells and brain cells. Then he switches his outlook to an empirical study of vision and perception. This part seemed more difficult to read and even boring. "Accordingly our perceptions never correspond to physical reality despite the
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
The author is gentle in guiding us to understand his point about the need to reconceptualize how brain works, through progressively more complex examples. Overall, pretty easy to read for an informative book outside my general field of interests, though some passages /sentences are (unavoidably?) dense. The enjoyable personal / historical parts of the book also helped in giving me some breather in between the denser, slower-going explanatory sections. Left me with more questions than answers - a ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book describes the history of research into the processing of vision in the human brain. The author makes a very good case for the evolutionary development of visual perceptions as they relate to survivabilty. The reasoning is compelling. Diagrams are included. The research is far from finished, but the progress as of 2010 is explained very clearly. The associated Web site has graphics with animation that are very helpful to understanding the concepts being presented. I enjoyed this scienti ...more
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is autobiography first and neuroscience second. There are several chapters describing experiments undertaken to support his hypothesis about the empirical nature of how the brain works that are fundamental to his argument. Yet I found them tedious. I was more interested in the implications which are profound. But he gives us only the tiniest bit of thinking about those implications. The best thing about the book was that it informed me sufficiently to make me hungry for more on the top ...more
Rachel C.
DNF at 20%. Unsuitable for general reading. The writing is very jargon-y and technical. Furthermore, it struck me as egotistical that the author couldn't seem to stop talking about himself and his august alma mater, Haaahvahd. Perhaps this book should have been marketed as a scientific memoir instead?

(Kindle freebie)
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Overall, the book provides some indications of Purves' personal research interests and some overview of major developments in the field of neuroscience, but the focus of the book is Purves' own career and his relationships with his colleagues, not on brains.
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this to be more an autobiography of Purves rather than specifically on how brains work. However, it was still an interesting book on neuropsychology and I did learn a few new things.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i'm interested in the science of the brain and was hoping for some new insights, but this book was just so, so dull in its delivery, I struggled to get through it.
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Dale Purves (born March 11, 1938) is Geller Professor of Neurobiology Emeritus in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences where he remains Research Professor with additional appointments in the department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, and the department of Philosophy at Duke University. He earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1960 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1964.
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