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Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human Minds Hardcover – June, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-What a find! An educational and entertaining nonfiction work that uses Star Trek to explain the workings of the human mind. The authors, both psychology professors who collaborated on Perception (McGraw-Hill, 1994), have put together an excellent and highly readable neurology primer. Their two-pronged task is to give a Star Trek example and then link it to contemporary science of the nervous system. Do you want to know about emotions, their cultural implications, and universal expressions? Most teens would yawn, but the chapter describing Data and Vulcans is exciting and clear. La Forge's visual VISOR, Ferengi ears, Q's take on human mating efforts, and Captain Kirk's accidental "split" in a transporter malfunction are all used to illustrate functions of our nervous system. The explanation of the ravages of Alzheimer's disease, using the Emergency Medical Hologram from the Voyager episodes, is outstanding. The book includes photographs, diagrams, and demonstration "tests" to further illustrate a point. Each sequence of a Star Trek episode is identified as to which of the four series or movies it refers. There is a complete list of all the shows along with explanatory notes and a "who's who" of characters included in the book. The complete index allows for the exploration of individual neurological topics. The book can, however, be read cover to cover and should have great appeal to teens.
Carol DeAngelo, Garcia Consulting Inc., EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Obviously patterned after L.M. Krauss's successful The Physics of Star Trek (Basic Bks., 1995), the current title introduces some topics of psychology through reference to episodes from the TV and movie series. There are two problems here. First, the huge Star TrekR universe now encompasses four long-running TV series. While the authors do provide a dictionary of major characters, casual viewers will not be motivated to keep track of everyone. Second, the psychological material is rather scattered. Emotions, sexuality, aggression, memory, and abnormal psychology (plus a few other topics) just can't be covered coherently in 200 pages. Finally, the authors seem to be reluctant to acknowledge that some of the technical explanations presented in Star Trek are just plain nonsense, leaving the reader unsure where brain science ends and script writing begins. For YA collections serving die-hard Trekkies.?Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W.H. Freeman & Company (June 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716732793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716732792
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For starters, this is NOT a scholarly book. It's brain candy -- delightful but still brain candy. (From reading the reviews on this page, you'd think it was written by some cutting edge neurologist whose goal in life is to figure out why Neurontin actually WORKS.) Still, it gets 4 Stars from me for having two whole pages devoted to the DS9 episode "Babel" -- in which the entire cast is striken with aphasia. Major Kudos to the authors for differentiating between Brocca's and Wernicke's Aphasias. Subtract kudos for not mentioning the STNG episode "Darmok" where the characters communicate in metaphor. Kudos Regained for their simple explanation of schizophrenia -- it will surprise a lot of readers and is essentially if simplisticly correct. I read Star Trek on the Brain in one sitting. It made me laugh and it made me think. It didn't make any connections I hadn't already made myself. I'd reccommend this book to anybody with a working knowledge of Star Trek who'd like a little "dessert" with their critical studies.
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Format: Hardcover
Delightfully fascinating and complete, this book is important for anyone who owns a brain and is interested in its workings -- that is, anyone who wants to understand themselves, or others, better.
The rich variety of the Star Trek milieu provides Sekuler and Blake with a deeper-than-usual backdrop against which to illuminate both the differences and the similarities which make us all human.
From sex to aggression, the authors deftly explore the drives, behaviors and processes which constitute our experience of living in the world.
Prior familiarity with Star Trek is not needed. Anyone drawn to the book by that name alone will be very pleasantly surprised by how much more they find here. Conversely, strangers to that fictional universe will gain a fresh appreciation of it as literature which explores the nature of the human condition.
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Format: Hardcover
A wonderful diversion that also gives good science. The chapter on sex could teach Bill and Monica new tricks. I loved learning why we are the way we are through references to my favorite Star Trek characters -- now I know how Jordie can see with no eyes and why B'Elana has a chip on her shoulder -- but even those who never watched Star Trek will get it.
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