The CEN has a new book out, written by CEN Director Michael Thomas and Simon Green, entitled ‘How the brain works: What psychology students need to know’. It provides an accessible overview of how the brain works useful to psychology students and to educators.
Michael says: “We wanted to write an accessible book on how the brain works. When psychology students or educators are introduced to the brain, the material often focuses on the Latin names for different structures, or how brain scanners work. As one student said to us, ‘I wanted to know why neurons communicate both electrically and chemically. I wanted to know why the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. But whenever I asked these sorts of ‘why’ questions, the teacher kept saying, just learn it, it’s in the textbook’. Simon and I set out to write a book that gives an overall gist of how the brain works and why it works that way, which ultimately led us to placing the brain in its evolutionary context; and then showing how homo sapiens has subsequently stepped out of this context – in the main, through a cultural focus on education. The book shows how our minds have the peculiar properties they do because of how the brain works (including the way we learn); that the brain works the way it does because of biology; and that biology works the way it does because of evolution.”