The search for mind-brain relationships, with a particular emphasis on distinguishing hyperbole from solid empirical results in brain imaging studies.
Cognitive neuroscience explores the relationship between our minds and our brains, most recently by drawing on brain imaging techniques to align neural mechanisms with psychological processes. In Mind and Brain, William Uttal offers a critical review of cognitive neuroscience, examining both its history and modern developments in the field. He pays particular attention to the role of brain imaging―especially functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)―in studying the mind-brain relationship. He argues that, despite the explosive growth of this new mode of research, there has been more hyperbole than critical analysis of what experimental outcomes really mean. With Mind and Brain, Uttal attempts a synoptic synthesis of this substantial body of scientific literature.
Uttal considers psychological and behavioral concerns that can help guide the neuroscientific discussion; work done before the advent of imaging systems; and what brain imaging has brought to recent research. Cognitive neuroscience, Uttal argues, is truly both cognitive and neuroscientific. Both approaches are necessary and neither is sufficient to make sense of the greatest scientific issue of all: how the brain makes the mind.