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Mapping the Mind

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,267 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Today a brain scan reveals our thoughts, moods, and memories as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can actually observe a person's brain registering a joke or experiencing a painful memory. Drawing on the latest imaging technology and the expertise of distinguished scientists, Rita Carter explores the geography of the human brain. Her writing is clear, accessible, w ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by University of California Press (first published 1998)
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 ·  3,267 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Lewis Weinstein
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I am taking a one week course at Oxford (July 2012) ... The Brain and the Senses. This is one of the books to read in advance.

It is a fascinating journey through what is currently known (2010) about the way the brain receives information from the outside world, and how this information is categorized, stored and retrieved. There are many examples at an individual level to illustrate some of the experimental results. The graphics are brilliant.

The book is necessarily stronger on the receipt of in
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, health, favorites
Interesting and bold. Remarkable phrases:
"I also hope that the ability to modulate brains will be used more widely to enhance those mental qualities that give sweetness and meaning to our lives, and to eradicate those that are destructive. Such an idea reeks of hubris today but future generations, I think, will be less frightened of taking control of our minds as we now seek to control our bodies. Far from diminishing human existence, I believe that this could make our lives immeasurably better
May 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
LOVED it - great intro to neuroscience. As one my professor described it (compared to the other textbook option on neuroscience):

"It's USA Today for the brain."

He was indeed correct about the accessibility of the text itself, the colorful visuals, and the memorable case studies depicting some of the most unusual behaviors and beliefs which are a result of the brain and its dysfunctions.
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
'No dragons' here, huh? That's entirely too bad!
If one wants to learn about the basics of neuroscience or simply how the brain works, this book serves as a good introduction. It has wonderful, 3D illustrations, and the language is easy enough to understand. It (literally) copies the main ideas from the important thinkers such as Sacks, Ramachandran, Le Doux and others. (I'm not sure how science books deal with citing case studies and other important ideas, but although it mentions the names of these thinkers, it doesn't really cite them direc ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Little by little, I read through this carefully and intentionally. I enjoy learning about the mind, and I found that this reinforced other works I've recently read. By no means is it difficult; Carter's style and explanations are both challenging and accessible to laypeople who want to learn more about the human brain, our potential, and relatively new discoveries. Still, it's not a narrative, though, and I want to focus on learning effectively rather than quickly when I take up this and similar ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Our understanding of the brain has progressed somewhat since 1998, when this book was first published. Nonetheless, this book remains an accessible and fascinating introduction to the brain: how it works, how it goes wrong, and what it does that we don't yet understand. From autism to word deafness, from people who can't recognise faces to people who see their own face as a ghostly image floating in front of them, it covers both the normal and the weird, and attempts to explain it all in terms t ...more
What a trip! Gave me answers to a lot of questions about consciousness, the illusion of free will, and where solutions in deviancy and bad behavior should reside.
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: white
I bought this book in a bookstore called Waterstone's in London. I believe it sat in my "to be read someday" pile for about four years before I actually got around to it. What determines which books get read immediately and which languish for years? Nothing I can put my finger on exactly, certainly not anything related to how interesting it looks.

It's publication date, however, is 1998, so it was over a decade old before I read it. With a field as fast-moving as brain research, that could be fat
Mar 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delight of a book; it widens and exercises the mind: I bought this book two years ago. It is the only non-fiction text I have not ben able to put down. The subject itself is fascinating, but Rita Carter shares her own excitement with us. The text is daring in that it deals with difficult concepts and makes no concessions to those of us who gave up science more years ago than we care to dmit on public but Rita Carter has the gift of making clear in elegant ptrecise language concepts and process ...more
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain
I loved the comment from Liz’s review here where she says her professor described this book as “USA Today for the brain”. It sums up the book perfectly. The book is filled with awesome color, graphics, photos, and illustrations—just like USA Today.

This book is a technical manual (but written in everyday language) for understanding the workings of the brain and should be read in conjunction with Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Perfor
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: informational
This is very good,.. giving me the basics, which I certainly need more of this,.. but not as good as "The Other Brain, by Douglas Fields" because that has new info I never hear of since they just recently are using calcium to scan the brain with, a chemical brain scan, thus learning new info about the chemical mind,.. rather than the electrical imaging (CAT,PET,MRI,fMRI,NIRS,MEG,EEG,etc.) to scan the neurons. The glia cells have no electrical, only chemical, and people don't realize they are the ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I could see a bright eighth-grader getting a lot out of this book. The subject matter is fascinating, and the language is nothing if not accessible to a general audience.

That said, I was consistently annoyed at the numerous misprints and typesetting mistakes in my printing. Worse than a typo, the book refers to "Baysien" reasoning right after mentioning Thomas Bayes. For a detail-oriented person like me, this calls the whole text into question!
Laura Lam
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite non-fiction titles I've read this year. Really readable and fascinating.

The Kindle version, however, was unreadable on Kindle! The text was far too small and if I increased it, it was wider than the width of the screen so you'd have to scroll right to left. I had to download the Kindle app on my tablet and read it that way, which was fine, but I would have been well annoyed if I didn't have a tablet!
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is about how you work, from a neurological point of view. Knowing the underlying mechanisms of the mind helps you look at everything in a new light. I highly recommend it.

“In working out the meaning of a verbal message, for instance, the left hemisphere tends to root around in memory to see what the words are likely to signify, and then come up with what the person expects to hear. The right hemisphere, by contrast, is inclined to interpret the message in the context of the informatio
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neuroscience
A passable introduction, but only intermittently an engrossing one. The first hundred pages I found rough sledding, with little sense the author understood the facts being hauled out and stacked up. It got better. The last few chapters betray the common, poorly thought through materialist reductionism common in the field, no surprise, but the content of the final 200+ pages is mostly good. Autism, depression, and addiction come up, although the stock in trade is discussion of people with bizarre ...more
Sarah Wei
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm going to have to buy the physical version of this one day because it was that good and I wanted to read it with more detail. Easy to read and fascinating. I found it hard t put it down because every line was so interesting/
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great example of the science of the brain that is relatable and understandable for the lay-person.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A quick, good read for all writers. You will feel buoyed and validated in Goldberg’s hands.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is really cool.

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Josh Lindenberger
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The medical marvel of the miraculous mind. The final organ that is shrouded in mystery is the brain; due to its ever-changing job, the brain cannot be studied like other organs. Even today, very little is truly known about this organ´s function--and power.

First printed in 1999, ¨Mapping the Mind¨ is an examination of the inner workings of the mind. This book delivers great insight into many medical disorders. This includes alien-hand syndrome, schizophrenia, and autism. These are a few of the in
A fascinating Introduction to the Mind

This book opens up a series of new streams of analysis for me. Over the last 1 month, I have become keenly interested in wanting to know how the human mind works. Rita Mayer's book gives a detailed overview of this landscape. The book has opened up absolutely new territory for me and I have bought 10 other books that take me in the directions of consciousness, language faculty and ethics. This is a lean-forward book. It requires the non-specialised reader's
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read on Neuroscience. I'd like to say I gobbled it up, but that isn't what happened. I took a bite and digested as well as I might, then again. Carter provides a brilliant work, with great pictures and photos to illustrate how our brains work according to the latest data of this amazing science. Her simple to understand explanations create ease in the mind of the reader.
If there is one problem, it is that too much happens on each page. Perhaps a much longer book, with
Robin Redden
Rita Carter is an exceptional and award winning science writer and in this book she maps out the geography of the latest science on the "mind". Highly accessible science writing including many photos of actual imaging of the human brain, patient anecdotes and sidebar discussions from the best minds in the field today. She discusses current knowledge (much thanks to recent technology improvements like fMRI) on memory, consciousness, free will, abnormalities, obsessions, addictions, differences be ...more
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who'd interested in the strictly physiological and chemical reasons for behaviors
This is a fun book to read as there are many interesting illustrations and inserts. It's also fascinating to understand how much of our personalities are DIRECTLY related to brain functions and that no two brains are even remotely alike. A great "lay person" read with quite a bit of historical information about how we used to think this baffling organ went about its business. Although we know so much, Carter has it right when she wonders if the human mind is smart enough to ever understand itsel ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book has its scientific credentials trimmed to a publicly-readable level, but inevitably presents facets that are either partially or wholly facimilous. A secondary issue suffered by popular scientifics is to discuss matters pertaining to a rapidly expanding field with contradictory opinions, therefore ageing the book and dwindling its meaning with the progression of time.
Sadly, the book expostulates numerous interesting points without some or significant references to back up the statements
May 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I thought it would help with my neurology section of 335.
This is the only neuro book I would read because it doesn't require much concentration. Everything is easily laid out and I think even non bio students would appreciate it. It has a good section on the limbic system. Would recommend if you are studying neuro and want a broad overview before going through your notes
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book will change the way you think about the way you think. Your thoughts, feelings and, most importantly, your actions will make much more sense to you after understanding, and visualize, the actual "plumbing" of the brain in action. Emotions, motivations and, most of your life really, are actually the pretty simple result of the biological processes in your brain. Great book - may change your outlook on life.
Ishan Nag
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A must read non fiction , i still love to visit it time and again .
It updates you with what we now of our brain as in 2004 . It's fascinating , very accessible at the same time not over-simplifying in nature . Has lots of pics and cases , even the language is lucid and absorbing .

Rare are the books which add to your perspective , this definitely ranks high on my list , it reminds us of our abilities as well as limitations as humans . Must read , go grab it dada !!

Michelle Marvin
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomenal. It was everything I could've wanted in an introductory lay-person text about the brain, and it has inspired me to learn more. I was, and continue to be, completely engaged by the material. I found the anecdotal style to be stimulating and just the right amount of information. There are a couple of incomplete diagrams - for example on p.99 and p.161 some of the labels are missing. Other than that, I find no fault.I LOVED this book!
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