Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience

The Brain Book by Rita Carter

Cover Image from The Brain BookWow. What a book.
I’m not sure what I expected from The Brain Book, but it surpassed any expectations I might have had. What looks on the outside like a fun book about the brain for mid to late teens is actually intensely packed full of very detailed information – particularly anatomy – wonderfully laid out and illustrated. The scope of this book and the quality of the coverage make this an absolute must for someone who wants to learn, in great detail, about how the brain functions. I am attending university this year for Psychology and I am certain that I will be referring back to this book regularly for the brain anatomy and neurology lessons! The book, however, is probably not suited to teens at all unless they have a very specific interest in the brain, since the information is so detailed.

The Brain Book starts with 20 or so pages of MRI scans, showing cross-sections right through the brain to help you build up a real understanding of the internal anatomy and relate later discussions of brain parts (everything from the corpus callosum to the globus pallidus) back to a real brain. The illustration diagrams, again particularly of the anatomy of the brain, are clearer and easier to understand than any I have seen in any of the many psychology textbooks I have looked at.

The book is broken into the following sections, making up the circa 240 large-format pages of the book:

  • Introduction
  • The Brain and the Body
  • Brain Anatomy
  • The Senses
  • Movement and Control
  • Emotions and Feeling
  • The Social Brain
  • Language and Communication
  • Memory
  • Thinking
  • Consciousness
  • The Individual Brain
  • Development and Aging
  • Disease and Disorders

All in all this is a truly fantastic book, put together with amazing attention to detail to create something that is almost as much a piece of art as it is an informative resource! The glossy pages, high quality illustrations, and simple to read show once again the DK rule the roost when it comes to publishing the best non-fiction resources around!

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