Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind (Hardcover)

Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind Cover Image
Email or call for price.


An examination of the stunning beauty of the brain's cellular form, with many color illustrations, and a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

The human brain is often described as the most complex object in the universe. Tens of billions of nerve cells-tiny tree-like structures—make up a massive network with enormous computational power. In this book, Giorgio Ascoli reveals another aspect of the human brain: the stunning beauty of its cellular form. Doing so, he makes a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

If each nerve cell enlarged a thousandfold looks like a tree, then a small region of the nervous system at the same magnified scale resembles a gigantic, fantastic forest. This structural majesty—illustrated throughout the book with extraordinary color images—hides the secrets behind the genesis of our mental states. Ascoli proposes that some of the most intriguing mysteries of the mind can be solved using the basic architectural principles of the brain. After an overview of the scientific and philosophical foundations of his argument, Ascoli links mental states with patterns of electrical activity in nerve cells, presents an emerging minority opinion of how the brain learns from experience, and unveils a radically new hypothesis of the mechanism determining what is learned, what isn't, and why. Finally, considering these notions in the context of the cosmic diversity within and among brains, Ascoli offers a new perspective on the roots of individuality and humanity.

About the Author

Giorgio A. Ascoli is University Professor in the Molecular Neuroscience Department and founding Director of the Center for Neural Informatics, Structure, and Plasticity at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University.

Praise For…

Ascoli has provided a very readable, insightful, often entertaining, and thought-provoking discussion of what we should know about axons and dendrites.—PsycCRITIQUES

This unusual book is a hybrid of neuroscience, art, and dendrology. It is reminiscent of the works of Victorian era philosopher-scientists in that it melds the beauty of the natural world with the complexity of the nervous system. Highly recommended.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780262028981
ISBN-10: 0262028980
Publisher: The MIT Press
Publication Date: April 10th, 2015
Pages: 248
Language: English