Laurent Cohen

Why Chimps Can't Talk and Thirty Other Questions Regarding the Human Brain Publication date : January 27, 2011

In his new book, Laurent Cohen presents the vast panorama of recent advances in the cognitive neurosciences. He shows how such techniques as clinical examinations and medical imagery can reveal the hidden workings of some major cognitive skills, including language, attention, mathematical calculation, and memory. These techniques have helped us understand pathologies such as stuttering and migraine, and may someday allow us to find a cure for them. They have also shown us the advantage of possessing a large brain, or of having a left and right hemisphere that differ from each other. We owe to them our understanding of the mechanisms governing such remarkable psychic processes as illusions, hypermnesia, the placebo effect, and false recognition; and the beginnings of our comprehension of the enigma of consciousness — the distinguishing characteristic of human beings.

Each chapter, which focuses on a single function, process or pathology, is written in the form of an enigma that can only be solved using clear, rigorous logic.

This is a fascinating book about intelligence that also enhances the reader's intelligence.

The latest book by one of France's most brilliant young neurologists provides a complete, concise overview of recent advances in the neurosciences, highlighting findings regarding language and number skills, memory, attention, and some common pathologies. It provides answers to a number of basic questions about brain size, the differences between the left and right hemispheres, and consciousness.

Laurent Cohen is the author of L'Homme thermomètre. He is a professor of neurology at the teaching hospital La Pitié-Salpêtrière-University of Paris-VI.