Brain Arousal and Information Theory
Neural and Genetic Mechanisms
By (author) Donald W. Pfaff
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Brain Arousal and Information Theory by Donald W. Pfaff
Book DescriptionArousal is fundamental to all cognition. It is intuitively obvious, absolutely necessary, but what exactly is it? In "Brain Arousal and Information Theory," Donald Pfaff presents a daring perspective on this long-standing puzzle. Pfaff argues that, beneath our mental functions and emotional dispositions, a primitive neuronal system governs arousal. Employing the simple but powerful framework of information theory, Pfaff revolutionizes our understanding of arousal systems in the brain.Starting with a review of the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and neurochemical components of arousal, Pfaff asks us to look at the gene networks and neural pathways underlying the brain's arousal systems much as a design engineer would contemplate information systems. This allows Pfaff to postulate that there is a bilaterally symmetric, bipolar system universal among mammals that readies the animal or the human being to respond to stimuli, initiate voluntary locomotion, and react to emotional challenges. Applying his hypothesis to heightened states of arousal--sex and fear--Pfaff shows us how his theory opens new scientific approaches to understanding the structure of brain arousal.A major synthesis of disparate data by a preeminent neuroscientist, Brain Arousal and Information Theory challenges current thinking about cognition and behavior. Whether you subscribe to Pfaff's theory or not, this book will stimulate debate about the nature of arousal itself.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674019201
(235mm x 155mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 2-Dec-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Donald W. Pfaff
Neuroscientist Looks at Robots, Paperback (December 2015)
The book, written for a general educated public, compares the most important elements of the human nervous system to the corresponding capacities of robots.
Altruistic Brain, Hardback (December 2014)
The Altruistic Brain uses language accessible to non-scientists so as to present an elegant theory of how human beings are "wired" to produce altruistic behavior in the first instance.
From the Couch to the Lab, Hardback (May 2012)» View all books by Donald W. Pfaff
Can the psychodynamics of the mind be correlated with neurodynamic processes in the brain? The book revisits a question that scientists and psychoanalysts have been asking for more than a century. It brings together experts from Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Neurology to consider this question.
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Author Biography - Donald W. Pfaff
Donald Pfaff is Professor of Neurobiology and Behaviour at The Rockefeller University in New York City.
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