30 Second Brain – The 50 Most Mind-blowing Ideas in Neuroscience Edited by Anil Seth, Foreword by Chris Frith
Reviewed by Gunnel Minett
Neuroscience is a new and very exciting area of research that looks at the brain and its central role, particularly for human beings who rely on a versatile brain to survive. The human brain is the most sophisticated and complex entity we’ve ever encountered. It is our ‘central processor’, the part that coordinates just about everything we do and who we are. Not only can neuroscience help explaining psychology, it is also involved in ‘operating’ the mind. Understanding the brain may, therefore, contribute to answer the eternal question of consciousness, what it is, where it comes from and why we have it.
Research in this area has gone through a veritable explosion in the last decades. The development of technology that can scan the ‘live’ brain has enabled a lot of new discoveries, opening the road to far more sophisticated studies. The mapping of our genome has also contributed to a whole new area of brain research.
To keep up with all the new developments may be beyond most of us. The literature is generally very technical and demands a certain level of previous knowledge. So to find a book that offers short, accessible explanations to a number of concepts in neuroscience is a real find. Although the explanation of each concept is limited to one page, they are written by experts in each field and in a language accessible to all. Each chapter also has a page of glossary that can be used as a quick reference and reminder when reading other books on the brain.
The various chapters cover; how the brain is built, the most important brain theories, the mapping of the brain, consciousness, perception and cognition. There are also short presentations of the main scientists in this field. The book is nicely presented in hard cover with a number of illustrations. But to be true to its modern ‘bullet-point-approach’, it should perhaps have been an e-book or come with its own app. This would have been more appropriate for its modern twitter style presentation of data. Still it is a very good source of information for anyone interested in getting updated on the latest development in this field.