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September 1974

Brain Control

Arch Neurol. 1974;31(3):216. doi:10.1001/archneur.1974.00490390098016

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This is generally an accurate, readable, interesting, and largely dispassionate summary and analysis of the behavioral effects of surgery on the brain. The book provides a welcome antidote to some of the recent pseudoscientific excesses on the subject of psychosurgery that have discredited several corners of both the public and the scientific press. Valenstein gives results in both animals and man, and fairly notes some of the problems in the area of brain surgery for psychological control, commenting specifically on the nonspecificity of some of the regions that have been attacked, the inconsistency of responses in various species including man, and how the responses of published cases seem to depend on both the individual patient and the circumstances under which the procedures were done. He also nicely recounts the tendency for over-interpretation that has been indulged in by some neuroscientists, whether dealing in the cerebral localization or pacified bulls. Occasionally

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