A Guide to the Mind

A Guide to the Mind

A Guide to the Mind

A Guide to the Mind


What is the mind? How can we study the mind? How did it emerge? What are the characteristics and capabilities that make us distinctly human? These questions and others are carefully examined in this clearly written and provocative guide to the most fascinating new frontier in psychology today. Whether used as an accompaniment to the WNET/13 telecourse or employed on its own, the Guide introduces the reader to new breakthroughs in a variety of disciplines as presented by eminent educators, scientists, and practitioners in the fields.


My desire to write a study guide for the mind telecourse arose primarily from my enthusiasm for the goals of the project: there was an opportunity to help bring before a large audience one of the most exciting areas of contemporary scientific research. Science is able to advance, and has a purpose, only when scientific knowledge is shared -- and not just among scientists. Scientific discoveries ultimately have an impact on us all; they alter the environment in which we live and change the way we think.

Recently, however, we have begun to acquire knowledge at such a rapid pace that it has become difficult for scientists to communicate the intricacies of research to each other, let alone explain that research to lay people. Most of us become aware of new discoveries through the news media, or as the result of new products and technologies, but it takes ever more specialized knowledge to comprehend scientific advances. Previously it was possible to understand modern science only by reading books or attending formal classes, but today modern communication technologies provide an efficient alternative means of education. the dramatic impact and convenient availability of television, supported by print materials, allow complex information to be disseminated to a wide audience.

One vital and rapidly expanding area of contemporary science is the study of the human brain. On the practical side, this research promises the exciting possibility of leading to more effective treatments for conditions such as stroke damage and mental deterioration. Even more important, understanding the brain may alter the way we think about the human condition.

The intense desire to understand ourselves may distinguish mankind most clearly from all other living creatures. This self-reflection has repeatedly raised questions about what the human mind is. Many answers have been proposed, but recent advances in our knowledge of the brain suggest that we may be closer to definitive answers than ever before. At the very least, I believe that the discoveries in this telecourse will be as exciting to you as they are . . .

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