I’m going to talk about some of the science that seeks answers to many human issues, including also bipolar disorder. I got a really interesting book on neuroscience, long time since the last one. (Books are my weakness 🙂 Running 752 pages, the sixth edition of Michael Eysenck and Mark T. Keane’s “Cognitive psychology” is an interesting pack.
I’m having cognitive science in university so this subject interests me – and the interest is a long-lasting one. Cognitive psychology (or cognitive science, many names for basically the same thing) is about the science of human nature. It is actually approached by many kinds of scientists, because cognitive psychology aims to make a holistic understanding of our mental processes.
I thought to myself, ‘how does this subject differ from ordinary, humanistic psychology’? I think the answer is that cognitive science is a little bit more technical and based on observable or numeric evidence – and I say this with all respect to both disciplines. Whereas psychology might take a bit more ‘individualistic’ approach, cognitive science presumes that our species shares many mechanisms with each other – ie. we don’t differ “that much” – and thus many outcomes can be explained by the somewhat mechanistic features of the human brain and body: humans have two eyes, ears, mouth, etc. You get the point. 🙂
What’s the book about, in detail?
The introductory section gives a nice definition for cognitive psychology: “…is conserned with the internal processes involved in making sense of the environment, and deciding what action might be appropriate. These processes include attention, perception, learning, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning, and thinking.”
Eysenck’s book is both of introductory nature, but it seems very fresh with new research publications, too. The initial chapter overviews the whole field of neuroscience. It also gives some fundamental methods of study, including ACT-R model and connectionist models in general. These models form the formal, mechanistic tools (also available as computer programs) used to verify and simulate the human mind.
Then comes visual perception and attention. These two are of immense importance to humans in the practical sense of living: without visual perception we’d be much more in danger, always prone to collide and get into trouble. With visual perception chapters one starts to really appreciate the level of detail in neuroscience; there’s often a sense of amazement when reading about the whole picture, from propagation of light to finally the interpretation of the shapes and movement. Fascinating points again; our nervous system is trained to perceive shapes, thus the ability of vision is not “clear-cut ready” when we are infants.