The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology

The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology

The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology

The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology


This important book, by the most distinguished Soviet psychologist of our time, is the product of almost forty years of extensive research aimed at understanding the cerebral basis of human psychological activity. The main part of the book describes what we know today about the individual systems that make up the human brain and about the role of the individual zones of the cerebral hemispheres in the task of providing the necessary conditions for higher forms of mental activity to take place. Finally, Luria analyzes the cerebral organization of perception and action, of attention and memory, or speech and intellectual processes, and attempts to fit the facts obtained by neuropsychological studies of individual brain systems into their appropriate place in the grand design of psychological science.


Over the decades psychologists have studied the course of the mental processes: of perception and memory, of speech and thought, of the organization of movement and action. Hundreds of courses for university students have been prepared and thousands of books published during this period of intense activity to teach and. describe the character of man's gnostic processes, speech and active behaviour. Their close study, in the context of the behavioural sciences, has yielded information of inestimable value and has given important clues to the nature of the scientific laws which govern these processes.

However, one very important aspect of this problem has remained unexplained: what are the brain mechanisms on which these processes are based? Are man's gnostic processes and motivated actions the result of the work of the whole brain as a single entity, or is the 'working brain' in fact a complex functional system, embracing different levels and different components each making its own contribution to the final structure of mental activity? What are the real brain mechanisms which lie at the basis of perception and memory, of speech and thought, of movement and action? What happens to these processes when individual parts of the brain cease to function normally or are destroyed by disease?

Not only would the answers to these questions be of great help to the analysis of the cerebral basis of human psychological activity, but they would also bring us much closer to the understanding of the internal structure of mental activity, assist with the study of the components of every mental act, and in this way enable a start to be made with the long but rewarding task of rebuilding psychological science on new and realistic foundations.

The purpose of this book is to bring this task to the reader's attention. It attempts to describe as succinctly as possible the results . . .

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