Israel Rosenfield and Edward B. Ziff’s most recent book is DNA: A Graphic Guide to the Molecule That Shook the World. They are completing a book about the brain. Rosenfield is also completing a graphic novel illustrated by Fiammetta Ghedini. (June 2012)

The Secret of Good Taste

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880–1881
The worlds we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste exist independently, but we know them only through the fabrications of our brains. The colors we see do not exist apart from our perception of them. The words and sentences we believe we are hearing are a jumble of sounds, whistles, …

How the Mind Works: Revelations

Jean-Pierre Changeux is France’s most famous neuroscientist. Though less well known in the United States, he has directed a famous laboratory at the Pasteur Institute for more than thirty years, taught as a professor at the Collège de France, and written a number of works exploring “the neurobiology of meaning.” …

Evolving Evolution

Despite much recent controversy about the theory of evolution, major changes in our understanding of evolution over the past twenty years have gone virtually unnoticed.[^1] At the heart of Darwin’s theory of evolution is an explanation of how plants and animals evolved from earlier forms of life that have long …

A New Vision of Vision

By the end of the nineteenth century neurologists were convinced that seeing and understanding were two distinct, anatomically separate brain functions; seeing was passive and understanding active. The evidence seemed clear: patients with damage in one part of the brain became blind, whereas patients with damage in another part of …

Mind-Reading

We are now beginning to understand the physical basis of normal and abnormal mental activity largely because of recent advances in the neurosciences. Among the concerns of The Oxford Companion to the Mind, edited by Richard L. Gregory and the late Oliver L. Zangwill, both well-known British psychologists, is to …

A Hero of the Brain

Nineteenth-century neurology was dominated by two opposing schools of thought. Early in the century the Austrian neuroanatomist Franz Gall and his disciples claimed that, to those practiced in the art, an examination of bumps on a person’s head revealed talents and psychological characteristics; traits of character, he held, were controlled …

The New Brain

In 1895 Freud wrote his last work on the physiology of the nervous system. For the rest of his life he paid little attention to developments in neurobiology, a neglect characteristic of most modern therapists and psychologists. But recent work in the neurosciences has begun to challenge the separation of …

Seeing Through the Brain

Most of us seeing the kettle upside down on the kitchen floor would react by saying, “How did that get there?” or, “The cat’s been at it again!” We would not wonder what we were seeing. But not everyone is so fortunate. In 1973, the English neurologist Elizabeth Warrington [^1] …