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Neuroscience Program

Recommended Reading

Recommended by Lindsay Halladay, Assistant Professor Psychology

Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures by Eric Kandel

Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano

Recommended by Laura Cocas, Assistant Professor, Biology

Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development by Christiane Nusslein-Volhard

Recommended by Eric Tillman, Fletcher Jones Professor and Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, by Leonard Mlodinow

A nice balance of popular science but also with some scientific depth.  Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist, which demonstrates how multidisciplinary the field of neuroscience is. 

Recommended by Nicholas Tran, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, by António Damásio

António Damásio, a neurologist, argues convincingly against the dichotomy of mind/body and provides case studies suggesting that they form a mutually interacting ensemble.  I found it quite surprising and interesting.

Recommended by Erick Ramirez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy

Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness, by Dan Dennett

Dennett is Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts, a trained philosopher with a niche for not writing like one. Kinds of Minds is very accessible, interdisciplinary, and a good introduction to issues on the nature of consciousness, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of mind. His most recent book, From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, is a little less accessible but more rigorous.

"The Biology of Desire, by Marc Lewis. 
Lewis is a professor of neuroscience at the Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands and has written a lot about the neuroscience of addition. The Biology of Desire is an admittedly controversial work wherein Lewis argues that nearly all addictions are not the result of brain disease but instead normal learning."

Some additional recommendations from Dr. Ramirez:

Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion, by Jesse Prinz

Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis, by Jesse Prinz

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Recommended by Patti Simone, Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Neuroscience Program

The Lab Rat Chronicles: A Neuroscientist Reveals Life Lessons from the Planets Most Successful Mammals, by Kelly Lambert, PhD.

This is a very readable book highlighting major findings from animal studies related to human behavior, such as neuroplasticity and learning, neuroeconomics and investments, and social diplomacy and family values.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carryrou

An amazing story. Hard to believe it’s true. 

How to Change your Mind, by Michael Pollan

Actually, he has many great books. This is the most recent and it’s about his exploration of the effects of different hallucinogenic drugs.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World, by Hans Rosling. 

A surprise on every page. This is a must read if you’re interested in public health and the true reality of the world, and even to be an informed citizen.

Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova

Actually, all of her books are outstanding.  Genova is trained in neuroscience, so even though her books are fiction, they are compelling stories that are not unrealistic.

Some additional recommendations from Dr. Simone:

Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Selves, by Patricia Churchland

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind, by Michio Kaku

Recommended by Christelle Sabatier, Senior Lecture in the Department of Biology and Assistant Director of the Neuroscience Program

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery, by Sam Kean

Sam Kean is an excellent science writer who manages to transport his readers across the ages as scientists struggled to understand the brain both in its intact state and when it is disrupted.  His stories highlight how much our concepts of how the mind works have changed across centuries and how much still remains to be uncovered.

Some additional recommendations from Dr. Sabatier:

Any book by Oliver Sacks.  Some of my favorites are

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

The Mind’s Eye

Contact Us

Patti Simone, Director

John Birmingham, Assistant Director