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March 1948

The Physical Background of Perception.

Arch NeurPsych. 1948;59(3):441-442. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1948.02300380170019

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This small volume makes exciting reading. The author, in his Wayneflete Lectures, has distilled the essence of his lifetime of work at Cambridge and with consummate skill has closed part of the gap between brain and mind. It being a small book, with only half a dozen chapters, one can read it with profit more than once in order to pick up some of the details of the author's thoughts.

The nervous impulse and the accompanying electrical change "are inseparable." Furthermore, "records of the electrical activity of the nerves leave no doubt that there is only one kind of change which can be conducted down a nerve-fibre, only one kind of impulse." From this most simple foundation a complex system is built up, by means of many different mechanisms. The number of nerve fibers and the frequency of their discharge are two aspects that are well understood. Intensity of stimulus