The actor's brain: Exploring the cognitive neuroscience of free will by Sean SpenceThe actor's brain: Exploring the cognitive neuroscience of free will by Sean Spence

The actor's brain: Exploring the cognitive neuroscience of free will

bySean Spence

Hardcover | July 1, 2009

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Is free will just an illusion? What is it within the brain that allows us to pursue our own actions and objectives? What is it about this organ that permits the emergence of seemingly purposeful behaviour, giving us the impression that we are 'free'? This book takes a journey through theanatomy and physiology, the structures and processes, of the human brain to demonstrate what is known about the control of voluntary behaviour, when it is 'normal' and when it breaks down. It starts by taking the reader from the basic 'hard' anatomy supporting simple hand and finger movement, through to the 'higher' structures of the human brain supporting the timing and selection of voluntary acts, and on towards a consideration of the complex distributed systems supporting voluntarybehaviour (volition). Conditions elaborated upon along the way include the curious case of Dr Strangelove and his anarchic, wayward limb, the belief in alien control experienced by sufferers of schizophrenia, the seemingly inexplicable paralyses encountered in hysterical conversion patients, and the biological processesthat enable us to lie to each other and engage in violence. The book concludes by examining some of the many varied attempts that human actors have made to expand such a volitional space, to enhance their own self-control and creativity. Written in an engaging and accessible style, but with its roots in hard science, the book will make fascinating reading for psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, and anyone who has ever wondered whether we are really free.
Sean A Spence is Professor of General Adult Psychiatry at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, where he is consultant to the Homeless Assessment and Support Team. He has previously held a De Witt-Wallace visiting research fellowship at Cornell University, New York ...
Title:The actor's brain: Exploring the cognitive neuroscience of free willFormat:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.05 inPublished:July 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198526660

ISBN - 13:9780198526667


Table of Contents

Prologue - Against freedom1. Moving a finger2. Assembling a 'will'3. The timing of intentions4. Volitional architectures5. Losing control6. Failing to act7. Hysterical agents8. Deceivers all9. Harming others10. Human response spaceEpilogue - Raising a fist