Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quicklink: What Makes the Human Mind?

Harvard Magazine ran a short but interesting piece this week about what makes the human mind unique.  The article's not terribly in-depth, but at least they point out the complexity of the human/animal cognition problem.  Too often, we simply see the claim that human intelligence isn't unique superficially substantiated by pointing out chimpanzee tool use or bee dances--Harvard's piece points out that the issue isn't nearly that simple.  If you're interested in exploring this topic further, I'd recommend Michael Gazzaniga's newest book, Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique.  It's written in reasonably accessible language, but still has enough hard science to interest those with more technical backgrounds.


Derek James said...

I read some bits of Gazzaniga's new book in B&N the other day, and the tone was so pop-sciency it made me blanch in places. Still, there is some good, and very up-to-date information in the book, so it is worth having a look at. We used Gazzaniga's Cognitive Neuroscience book for a class in my PhD program, and I thought it was a very nice book as well.

Jon said...

Yeah, it's written very informally, which can grate on those who are used to reading hard academic writing. Still, I think it's ultimately a good thing--that kind of tone means that more people who aren't normally exposed to that sort of thing might pick it up.