October 19, 1963

The Machinery of the Brain.

Author Affiliations



By Dean E. Wooldridge. 252 pp. $2.95 paper; $5.95 hard cover. McGraw-Hill Book Co., 330 W 42nd St, New York 36, 1963

JAMA. 1963;186(3):274. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710030114027

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Electronics and electrical circuitry may have significant application to the natural sciences, particularly the study of nervous mechanisms. To attract the physical scientists' interest and to provide an empirical biological background, Wooldridge has produced this review of brain function, designed for the lay reader, and published in paperback format.

In well-organized fashion the book progresses from the neuron and its electrical properties to the complexities of conscious mental processes. Even though the straightforward biological descriptions of these first five chapters are clearly written, and the comparison of nerve structure and function to electronic devices is often apt and enlightening, this first portion is occasionally tiresome. In the ensuing chapters, the book becomes alive. The same lucid style of writing combines with absorbing content. Current knowledge of the brain's higher functions— emotion and consciousness, personality and speech, memory and learning—is expounded. The well-chosen reports of experimental progress illuminate and add color

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