Consciousness and the Social Brain

Paperback | August 6, 2015

byMichael S. A. Graziano

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What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitrythat allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X. In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others alsoattributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory. Now in an affordable paperback edition!

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What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitrythat allows it to be socially intelligent. T...

Michael S. A. Graziano, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Princeton University, is an internationally renowned scientist and an award-winning novelist. His books include the popular science title God, Soul, Mind, Brain and the short novels The Divine Farce, The Love Song of Monkey, and Death My Own Way.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:August 6, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190263199

ISBN - 13:9780190263195

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Theory1. The magic trick2. Introducing the theory3. Awareness as information4. Being aware versus knowing that you are aware5. The attention schema6. Illusions and myths7. Social attention8. How do I distinguish my awareness from yours?9. Some useful complexitiesPart II: Comparison to previous theories and results10. Social theories of consciousness11. Consciousness as integrated information12. Neural correlates of consciousness13. Awareness and the machinery for social perception14. The neglect syndrome15. Multiple interlocking functions of the brain area TPJ16. Simulating other minds17. Some spiritual matters18. Explaining the magic trick

Editorial Reviews

"In most scientific theories, awareness emerges from the physical functioning of the brain, almost like heat rising from circuits. Laid out in his recent book...Graziano's theory takes a completely different approach to explaining consciousness. 'In this theory, the brain is aninformation-processing device. It doesn't produce non-physical essences -- it computes information,' Graziano said. Graziano has given consciousness a more solid footing in the real, tangible world even if it remains a creation of the brain, Schurger said. 'If anything, his theory stands todemystify consciousness, in the same way that our understanding of genetics and self-organizing systems has begun to demystify 'life,' which was once thought to depend on an unseen force.'" --Morgan Kelly, Princeton University News