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Book Recommendations

Neuroletter, Volume 2 Issue 1

1. Models of the Mind: How Physics, Engineering and Mathematics have shaped our understanding of the brain by Grace Lindsay

Lindsay elegantly describes the utility and the problems faced by the ideas of computational and mathematical models of the brain and their co-evolution with Neuroscience. The useful analogies and examples from research ease into breaking down the quantitative approaches to cognition, information theory, graph theory, and the infamous Bayesian theory. This book seamlessly bridges the gap between academic textbooks and science nonfiction to parse out a wonderful narrative of the history of modeling in Neuroscience.

2. Other minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey Smith

"When you dive into the sea, you are diving into the origin of us all," says Smith in this book, in addition to other bold and enthusiastic takes on consciousness and cognition. The cephalopod (and other invertebrate) brain unravels into our own brain in a way that preludes the generous speculation of how consciousness takes shape in other life forms. Along the way, he highlights the contrast and divide between vertebrate and invertebrate brains, with exceptions taking centre stage– squids are friendly! Once again, Smith engages frequently with open-ended questions and reflections on the nature of consciousness- effectively making the reader a part of this open conversation.

If you enjoyed reading Metazoa from our last edition, this is a great follow-up!

3. Sentient by Jackie Higgins

This fascinating book contains a dozen unique accounts of human and animal sensation and the underlying neuroscientific explanation. Higgins tries to decouple the sensory ‘hardware’, a medium through which our brain makes sense of the inputs, and the ‘software’, which is the process by which the brain perceives the input and processes it. Most of the focus is on the “hardware, " which makes an understated contrast to what puzzles us about how the brain senses what it senses. It presents the world as we sense it, but in ways we haven’t seen before.

By Madhuri Srinivasan

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