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The Pinnacle of Life

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The unravelling of the nature of consciousness - the awareness of being alive - is the ultimate challenge to the enquiring mind, and has preoccupied poets, philosophers, writers and scientists throughout the ages. In The Pinnacle of Life Professor Derek Denton, founding director and emeritus research professor of the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine in Melbourne, poses and discusses many fascinating questions concerning consciousness in both humans and animals. Some of the exceedingly diverse topics that he discusses are:. the possibility of dim awareness in invertebrates and primitive vertebrates. mimicry in animals and the implications of this in relation to their ability to form images. dreaming in animals. despair and hopelessness in wild animals. recognition of self in chimpanzees, gorillas and human infants. the history of ideas of the relation between brain and mind. the prime role of sense of smell in evocation of memory in humans. evocation of memory by electrical stimulation of the surface of the brain in conscious humans. the modular nature of the brain as revealed by strokes in multilingual patients and by surgery which cuts communication between the two sides of the brain. the shifting pattern of regional activation of the cortex of the brain caused by thinking about different things The Pinnacle of Life examines a remarkable diversity of animal and human behaviour and of medical science in the course of it scrutiny of 'brain' and 'mind'. The Pinnacle of Life - a major 'Science Show' feature.
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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPermissionsIntroductionChapter 1 The ultimate challengeChapter 2 Some early ideas on the brain and mindChapter 3 Consciousness in animalsChapter 4 Probing the human psycheChapter 5 Sleep and dreamsChapter 6 The evolution of the brainChapter 7 Thinking and the events in the brainAppendix Bibliography and further readingIndex

About the Author

Dr Derek Denton has spent decades in biomedical scientific research and is regarded as an international leader in investigation of instinctive behaviour.Professor Denton is a Foreign Medical Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences.

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