Introduction to Cognitive Science
Computational Theories of Consciousness


Last Update: Friday, 18 April 2014

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

  1. Humor:

    "I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." —Emo Phillips

    (Illustration by Jerry Van Amerongen, ©1985 Cowles Syndicate Inc.
    From postcard #40-P0290, Argus Communications, Allen, TX)


  2. Two good books:

    1. O'Shea, Michael (2005), The Brain: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    2. Baars, Bernard J.; & Gage, Nicole M. (eds.) (2007), Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness: Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (London: Academic Press).

  3. A good graphic on brain development (by XKCD's cartoonist); click for full size:

  4. The next two items were found on: "Neuroscience and Behavior" (UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Division of Anatomy and Cell Biology).

    1. Stewart, Patricia; Wilson-Pauwels, Linda; & Cameron, Teddy, Neurons: Animated Cellular and Molecular Concepts (University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine).

        See especially:
      1. Ch. 1: Anatomy of a Neuron:

        1. §3: Functional components of neurons
        2. §6: Dendrites (esp.: incoming signals)
        3. §8: Axon (esp.: branch extensively)
        4. §9: (synapse)

      2. Ch. 2, §1: Axonal Transport

      3. Ch. 5, §7: Action Potential

      4. Ch. 7, §1: Postsynaptic Mechanisms

    2. Vilis, T. (2004), "Meds 1 Neurophysiology" (University of Western Ontario Department of Physiology & Pharmacology).

  5. Brain lobes

  6. McCulloch & Pitts neural nets

  7. Thagard, Paul (2005), Ch. 9: "Brains", from Paul Thagard, Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science, 2nd Edition (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press):147-160.

  8. Is the Brain a Computer?

  9. Fields, R. Douglas (2008), "White Matter Matters", Scientific American (March): 54-61.

  10. Choi, Charles Q. (2008), "Do You Need Only Half Your Brain?", Scientific American (March): 104.

  11. Clabby, Catherine (2010), "Hiding in Plain Sight: New Technology Allows Us to See Neural Networks More Clearly", American Scientist 98(5) (September-October): 420–421.

  12. Zuger, Abigail (2010), "An Odyssey through the Brain, Illuminated by a Rainbow", New York Times (30 November): D1, D3.

  13. The Enteric Brain (or the brain in the gut):

    1. The "enteric brain" is a cluster of neurons in the gut that has sometimes been considered as a second "brain". Here's an article that makes that argument:

      1. Gershon, Michael D. (1999), "The Enteric Nervous System: A Second Brain", Hospital Practice 34(7) (July 15): 31-52.

        • Here is one quote that I found especially interesting:

            "The vagus nerve [which starts in the brainstem and goes to the abdomen] is normally responsible for commanding gthe vast microcircuits of the E[nteric]N[ervous]S[ystem] to carry out their appointed tasks. What it cannot tell them *how* to carry them out. That is strictly an inside job, and one that the gut is marvelously capable of performing." (p. 32)

          That makes it sound as if the ENS is a "module", which, if Baars is right, also renders it unconscious.

    2. Martone, Robert (2011), "The Neuroscience of the Gut", Scientific American online (19 April).

      • Not about the enteric brain, but about bacteria that live in our gut and that modify our brains.

  14. NEW
    Haynes, John-Dylan & Rees, Geraint (2006), "Decoding Mental States from Brain Activity in Humans", Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7(7) (July): 523–534.

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