Helpful Sources for Neuroscience

The following are five sources that I have found helpful for enlarging a layperson's knowledge of neuroscience:

Bear, Mark F., Barry W. Connors, and Michael A. Paradiso. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. Baltimore MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1996. This large book was created as a textbook for an undergraduate course in neuroscience at Brown University. Because it is designed for undergraduates, it presumes no previous knowledge. It is, however, very, very detailed, and I think it is best used in this seminar as a reference book.

Bownds, M. Deric. The Biology of Mind: Origins and Structures of Mind, Brain, and Consciousness. Bethesda MD: Fitzgerald Science, 1999. This is also designed for undergraduate courses in neuroscience, but it is, I think, more manageable, indeed, the best all-around introductory textbook I know. It is the text I am asking you to purchase.

Kalat, James W. Biological Psychology. Belmont CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2001. This is another textbook, this time focused on physiological psychology courses in psychology departments. It is midway between Bear and Bownds so far as difficulty is concerned. It, too, is best used in this course as a reference work.

Glynn, Ian. An Anatomy of Thought: The Origin and Machinery of the Mind. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. This is a trade book, not a textbook, but it packs a great deal of information. Glynn adopts a historical and often anecdotal approach that makes his exposition somewhat longer than needful.

Sapolsky, Robert M. Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality. 4 Audio Tapes. Springfield VA: The Teaching Company, 1998. 8 lectures; 6 hrs. These were designed for an adult education course and presume no prior knowledge. Sapolsky is a superb lecturer who emphasizes the role of neurotransmitters and hormones (his specialty).

The following four are standard textbooks, running to more than a thousand pages, very technical. They would require (I'd say) a medical student's scientific knowledge for full comprehension. They can be useful as reference texts, however, and as pointers to relevant papers.

Gazzaniga, Michael S., ed. The Cognitive Neurosciences. Cambridge MA: MIT P, 1995.

Kandel, Eric R., et al., eds. Principles of Neural Science. 4th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Mesulam, M-Marsel, ed. Principles of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology. 2nd Ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

Zigmond, Michael J., et al., eds. Fundamental Neuroscience. San Diego: Academic, 1999.

The Medical School at the University of Washington provides some excellent brain images: In addition, the College of Medicine at UF provides a series of "Neuroanatomy Movies." These are online animated films of brain anatomy. They can be found at You will need a password--ask me about that.

I know of no published books directly on our topic, the application of neuroscience to literature, only a special issue of a periodical and a manuscript in circulation. Please, oh please, if you find anything let me know.
On the Origin of Fictions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Ed. H. Porter Abbot. SubStance 94/95 (2001). This has a number of interesting articles, but they are from the perspective of evolutionary psychology. I'd recommend the articles by Tooby & Cosmides, Mithen, Young & Saver, Dissanayake, Hogan, and Spolsky.

Hogan, Patrick Colm. "The Mind and its Stories: Narrative Universals and Human Feeling." Unpub. ms.