Today we talk to John E. Dowling, who is professor emeritus at Harvard University, and has done extensive research into the neurobiology of vision and is somewhat a pioneer in neuroscience research. We got to chat to him about his new book Understanding the Brain: From Cells to Behavior to Cognition.
An examination of what makes us human and unique among all creatures—our brains.
No reader curious about our “little grey cells” will want to pass up Harvard neuroscientist John E. Dowling’s brief introduction to the brain. In this up-to-date revision of his 1998 book Creating Mind, Dowling conveys the essence and vitality of the field of neuroscience—examining the progress we’ve made in understanding how brains work, and shedding light on discoveries having to do with aging, mental illness, and brain health. The first half of the book provides the nuts-and-bolts necessary for an up-to-date understanding of the brain. Covering the general organization of the brain, early chapters explain how cells communicate with one another to enable us to experience the world. The rest of the book touches on higher-level concepts such as vision, perception, language, memory, emotion, and consciousness. Beautifully illustrated and lucidly written, this introduction elegantly reveals the beauty of the organ that makes us uniquely human.
Understanding the Brain delivers a great review of the neurobiology, systems, and frontiers of cognitive neuroscience…. Dowling is a master teacher, having collected quips, stories, and illustrations over 30 years…. You can see why freshmen could be captivated by these illustrations of the complex physiology of the synapse. And for the practitioner, Dowling provides teaching stories for our clinical encounters…. I recommend this book to physicians interested in the brain, and in thinking about thinking, as it provides a rich review that we might leverage for our patients, and our own aging and dynamic brains and minds.
- Family Medicine
[O]ffers a comprehensive look at how the brain functions. . . . From the source of emotions to the possible absence of mirror neurons in people with autism, Dowling’s book is a marvelous and fascinating journey through the human brain.
- Psych Central
You can read more about Prof John Dowling here https://www.mcb.harvard.edu/directory/john-dowling/
This was a great discussion of linking neuroscience and therapy and the comments about how important envirnoment is to addiction.
I am always a bit scared when I hear about legalizing drugs when we know so much about the negative effects of alcohol/drug use and the effects to the brain. The pod cast on Attachment and addictions really spelled it out how there is a fine line to the vulnerability of addiction with early brain development. Giving addicts drugs seems to prolong the suffering. We need more research on neuroscience and drug therapy to decrease craving,stop addiction. I liked Johns comments about how drug therapy and psychotherapy work well together in the treatment of mental health disorders and addiction. Thanks.