Author(s): Kathleen Stein
This work is an enlightening examination of the center of our entire mental universe, the prefrontal cortex, or PFC. The prefrontal cortex is taking center stage in the evolving drama of our discoveries about the brain. It is the source of impulse control, the site of working memory, and the locus of reason, perception, and emotional processing: all the functions that make up our unique human genius. In this fascinating volume, Kathleen Stein looks at the cutting-edge research being done on the PFC and explains how it channels our actions and abilities. She helps us understand what happens when the PFC fails to function correctly how mere anger can turn into violence, passion can overwhelm logic, and attention deficits can usurp focused thought, foresight, and long-range planning. Kathleen Stein (New York, NY) has written about science and technology for more than 20 years. She was Omni's Neuroscience Editor for more than a decade.
As neuroscientists refine their understanding of how the human brain works, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been shown to play a powerful role. As the brain's "central executive," the PFC is responsible for handling all kinds of thought processes, from sorting through short-term memories to understanding jokes.Stein, the former neuroscience editor for Omni, uses interviews with a wide array of brain researchers as the foundation for her overview, explaining the significance of their research. While the ramifications of each line of study-establishing the PFC's role in everything from emotional intelligence to the suppression of violence-are significant, Stein has difficulty bringing them all together into a dynamic, involving story. And while she does provide a few pictures of the prefrontal and cerebral cortices at the beginning of the book, the lack of illustrations in the text makes it harder to understand the relationships among the areas of the brain she discusses. The science is solid, but the account lacks the welcoming quality of recent works by other brain specialists such as Steven Johnson and John Horgan. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, November 27, 2006)
KATHLEEN STEIN has written about science and technology for more than twenty years and was Omni's neuroscience editor for more than a decade. She has also written for the New York Times, Biotechnology Newswatch, and UPI, and has taught literature and writing at the college level at Rutgers.
Acknowledgments. Brain Maps and Matrices Diagram. Introduction. 1. Memory: The DNA of Consciousness. 2. Reason: Logic, Laughter, and Looking Within. 3. Passion: In Cold Blood? 4. Violence: Morality and the Minds of the Killers. 5. Creativity: Art as a Window into the Brain. 6. Silicon Minds: The Rise of Machine Genius. Notes. Index.