The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind

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The Executive Brainis the first book to explore in popular scientific terms one of the most important and rapidly evolving topics in contemporary neuropsychology, the most “human” and recently evolved region of the brain–the frontal lobes. Crucial for all high-order functioning, it is only in humans that the frontal lobes are so highly developed. They hold the key to our judgment, our social and ethical behavior, our imagination, indeed, to our “soul.” The author shows how the frontal lobes enable us to engage in complex mental processes, how vulnerable they are to injury, and how devastating the effects of damage often are, leading to chaotic, disorganized, asocial, and even criminal behavior.

Made up of fascinating case histories and anecdotes, Goldberg’s book offers a panorama of state-of-the-art ideas and advances in cognitive neuroscience. It is also an intellectual memoir, filled with vignettes about the author’s early training with the great Russian neuropsychologist A.R. Luria, Goldberg’s escape from the Soviet Union, and his later interactions with patients and professionals around the world.

“An intriguing exploration of the most challenging topic in cognitive neuroscience, the executive function of the prefrontal cortex.” — American Scientist

“It is only now…that we are beginning to get the full measure of complexity [of the living body], to see how nature and culture interact, and how brain and mind produce each other. There are a handful, a small handful, of remarkable books which address these central problems with great force–those of Gerald Edelman and Antonio Damasio at once come to mind–and to this select number, Elkhonon Goldberg’s book The Executive Brain should surely be added.” — Oliver Sacks, The New York Review of Books

“A masterful review of Elkhonon Goldberg’s decades-long investigation of the frontal lobes, weaving his personal and professional experiences into the account.” — Allan F. Mirsky, Ph.D., Section Chief, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

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Pub. Date: December 2002 | Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA | ISBN-13: 978-0195156300 | ISBN: 0195156307