The Mind's Machine: Foundations of Brain and Behavior

Neil V. Watson, Simon Fraser University and S. Marc Breedlove, Michigan State University
Neil V. Watson, Simon Fraser University and S. Marc Breedlove, Michigan State University

The Mind's Machine: Foundations of Brain and Behavior

Sample Content
table of contents



A NEW EDITION will publish in September!


The title, The Mind’s Machine, introduces the metaphor that lies at the heart of behavioral neuroscience—the mind is a process at work in a machine. The aim of this book is to help students understand, right from the opening paragraphs, that their...


A NEW EDITION will publish in September!


The title, The Mind’s Machine, introduces the metaphor that lies at the heart of behavioral neuroscience—the mind is a process at work in a machine. The aim of this book is to help students understand, right from the opening paragraphs, that their mental lives are the product of observable physical processes occurring inside the complicated object between their ears, the brain. Toward that end, we have developed a variety of new pedagogical features:

  • Each chapter includes a “Visual Summary”: a poster-like layout that organizes the material graphically, and directs students to the figures that reinforce each point.
  • A special feature called “Researchers at Work” highlights important discoveries, illustrating the logic and methodology of experimentation and hypothesis testing.
  • Interim self-test questions (“How’s it going?”) throughout the chapter help students organize and rehearse what they’ve learned along the way.
  • A Step Further” Web links offer additional, more advanced material for those students who develop an appetite for more details, or for instructors wishing to make their course a little more challenging.
  • For those instructors who want to tailor the readings more closely to their lectures by skipping certain topics, the chapters have been broken down into discrete “Parts,” each with its own set of features.
  • The text is supported by a rich array of internet-based resources, including a variety of animations and videos, which students with smartphones can access instantly via QR codes.
  • Almost every page of the new book features a Marginal Glossary, like the one that has been so well received in Biological Psychology.

The Mind’s Machine provides a unique combination of instructor-friendly flexibility and student-friendly features and examples in an eye-pleasing package.

From the Authors

Students are encountering core concepts in behavioral neuroscience at ever-earlier points in their academic careers, in programs of study ranging from traditional programs in psychology and the other life sciences to fields as diverse as fine art, philosophy, economics, media studies, and linguistics, to name a few. In short, more students than ever are seeking out this material, at a more introductory level than in the past. We wrote The Mind’s Machine: Foundations of Brain and Behavior to fill this need, aiming to produce an entry-level biological psychology book with streamlined text, gorgeous full-color art, and new pedagogical features designed for students who are new to neuroscience. Compared to Biological Psychology, The Mind’s Machine focuses more directly on the basics of our field, and does so in an engaging, informal style—shorter, simpler sentences, less technical language, more real-life examples and analogies—designed to pique the curiosity of students without sacrificing accuracy.

We welcome your comments on the book.

Neil V. Watson,
S. Marc Breedlove,

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Neil V. Watson and the members of his lab at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada study sex-related aspects of the structure and function of the nervous system, with ongoing grant support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. His research, which spans from the effects of hormones and pollutants on the structure of the nervous system to the relationships among social factors, cognition, and steroids in humans, has appeared in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Brain Research. Dr. Watson received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Western Ontario and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the faculty at SFU in 1996 where he is now Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Chair of Psychology. He teaches biological psychology to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students each year.

S. Marc Breedlove, the Barnett Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience at Michigan State University, has written over 130 scientific articles investigating the role of hormones in shaping the developing and adult nervous system, publishing in journals including Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He is also passionate about teaching—in the classroom, and in the greater community through interviews with the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Newsweek, as well as broadcast programs such as All Things Considered, Good Morning America, and Sixty Minutes. He has active grant support from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Breedlove is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science.

Biological Psychology NewsLink
This invaluable online resource includes links to thousands of news stories, all organized by both keyword and textbook chapter. The site is updated daily, so it includes up-to-the-minute information, providing instructors with the latest news in the field—great for use in lecture. The site also helps students make connections between the science of biological psychology and their daily lives and keeps them apprised of the latest developments in the field.

For the Student

Companion Website
The Companion Website for The Mind’s Machine contains a wide range of resources to help students master the material presented in the textbook and to engage them in the subject. Key resources are linked throughout the printed text via QR codes (as well as Web addresses), making access to animations and videos easy from any smart phone or tablet. The site includes the following resources:

  • Chapter Outlines provide an overview of each chapter.
  • Extensive Study Questions help students master the full range of material in each chapter.
  • Animations illustrate many of the complex, dynamic concepts and processes of biological psychology.
  • Videos present real-world examples of some of the key concepts and conditions discussed in the textbook.
  • Activities reinforce knowledge of key structures and processes.
  • Online versions of the Visual Summaries include links to all figures and online resources.
  • Online Quizzes (multiple-choice and essay questions) test the student’s grasp of the material, with results stored in an online gradebook (instructor registration required).
  • Flashcards facilitate effective review of the many new terms introduced in the textbook.
  • “A Step Further” offers advanced coverage of selected topics.
  • A Glossary provides quick access to definitions of all important terminology.

For the Instructor (Available to Qualified Adopters)

Instructor's Resource Library (ISBN 978-0-87893-878-0)
The Mind’s Machine Instructor's Resource Library includes a variety of resources to aid you in planning your course, developing your lectures, and assessing your students. The IRL includes the following resources:

  • Figures and Tables: All of the line-art illustrations, photos, and tables from the textbook are provided as both high-resolution and low-resolution JPEGs, all optimized for use in presentation software (such as PowerPoint).
  • PowerPoint Resources: Three different types of PowerPoint presentations are provided for each chapter of the textbook:
    • All figures, photos, and tables
    • A complete lecture outline, including selected figures
    • Animations and videos
  • Videos: A collection of video segments for use in lecture.
  • Animations: Detailed animations of key concepts help enliven lectures and illustrate dynamic processes.
  • Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank in Word format (see below for details).
  • Computerized Test Bank: The entire Test Bank is provided in Diploma format (software included), making it easy to quickly assemble exams using any combination of publisher-provided and instructor-written questions. Exams can be exported from Diploma to many different course management systems, such as Blackboard and WebCT.

Instructor’s Manual (included in the Instructor’s Resource Library)
The Mind’s Machine Instructor's Manual includes useful resources for planning your course and lectures. For each chapter of the textbook, it includes the following:

  • A Chapter Overview that gives a big-picture snapshot of what is covered in the chapter
  • A complete Chapter Outline
  • A set of Key Concepts that break the chapter down into its core elements
  • Detailed Lecture Outlines that can save time in preparing lectures
  • Additional References for lecture/course development

Test Bank (included in the Instructor’s Resource Library)
The Test Bank includes a comprehensive set of exam questions for each chapter of the textbook. Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, essay, definition, and paragraph development questions cover the full range of material in each chapter. All questions are referenced to specific textbook headings and pages and to Bloom’s taxonomy categories. The Test Bank also includes all of the questions from the Companion Website online quizzes.

Online Quizzing
The Companion Website includes online quizzes (both multiple choice and essay) that can be assigned by instructors or used as self-review exercises. Quizzes can be customized with any combination of publisher-provided questions and instructor-written questions, and can be assigned individually. Results of the quizzes are stored in the online gradebook. (Instructors must register in order for their students to be able to take the quizzes.)

 If you have adopted this text for course use (within the U.S. or Canada) and are interested in the instructor’s supplements that accompany the text, please contact Linda VandenDolder, Outside the U.S. or Canada? Check the orders and returns page for the distributor in your region.