I'm taking a course at Oxford this summer on "The Brain and the Senses." So this is a little extra homework. I HAVE NOW COMPLETED BOTH THE COURSE AND KANDEL'S BOOK. The course, offered by Oxford tutor Gillie McNeill, combined descriptions of sensory processes with an explanation of the underlying molecular activity that integrates the incoming perceptions and what's already in memory to create a coherent narrative. This last quote is almost a synopsis of what the course at the Oxford Experience was about.
In the brain---hard cheese like consistencyeach cell is truly unique. We find how our responses gauge our reality at the time and what our brain retains. Noting well that this is a book review and not a report---and we take a voyage to Kristallnacht (1938) with Dr. Kandel and the transition of Vienna from being the center of culture to a place of oppression and humiliation.
But if you're a cognitive neuroscience dork (like me) and you love reading about the history of science (like me), and if you are reading this book on an e-reader, so you can pop back and forth between the text and web based resources e.g. Wikipedia etc. Lastly, this book serves a tacit function as an advice manual for young students who want to answer big questions (like what is consciousness), but really should begin by looking at small things (like neurons).
It was more of a study book from which I've learned about history, psychology, biology and genetics.
But every time Kandel approached what I thought would be that sudden wall in his scientific explanations, he switched neatly back to an episode of his own life, thus leading me through the whole book believing that I was quite clever.
When I read the synopsis: ''Nobel Prize winner Kandel intertwines cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology with his own quest to understand memory. As I said, the book is mixed with his life (marriage, nazi period, Nobel prize), his discoveries, other scientists discoveries and explanations about memory/the brain.
Kandel is an American neuropsychiatrist who was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works.