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From Axons to Identity

Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self


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A leading neuroscientist offers an intriguing scientific journey to understanding the neurobiology of the self.

What can dementia, delusions, and other neurological disorders teach us about how the brain creates personal identity and a unified sense of self? Here, a leading neurobiologist offers an intriguing scientific approach to understanding the neurobiology of the self.

Drawing on both the latest neuroscientific research, as well as the author's decades of experience with neurological patients, From Axons to Identity examines the link between brain and identity in fascinating new ways. Dr. Feinberg presents case studies of individuals with brain pathologies and unusual psychiatric syndromes that cause them to deny parts of their bodies or believe in the presence of mysterious imposters or imaginary friends, and then presents a groundbreaking new theory of these conditions that relates them to the normal course of psychological development. By examining what goes wrong in individuals with these conditions, Dr. Feinberg presents an engaging new theory with far-reaching implications for the link between brain and identity. From Axons to Identity proposes a new view of the processes of the brain and the self that is unique and revelatory.


“The big questions facing neuroscience are about how brain circuits contribute to self and personality, to identity. Todd Feinberg is one of the few clinician-scientists tackling these complex and important issues. I enjoyed From Axons to Identity and learned a lot, especially from the telling case studies.” — Joseph LeDoux, University Professor, NYU, and author of Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are and of The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life

From Axons to Identity confirms Todd Feinberg’s status as one of the world’s leading thinkers on the neuropsychology of selfhood. He is probing one of the Big Questions of 21st-century neuroscience: How does the brain, with its diverse and distributed functions, come to arrive at a unified sense of identity? The result is a genuinely radical and illuminating synthesis of philosophical and scientific ideas. This is exhilarating stuff.” — Paul Broks, neuropsychologist and author of Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology

From Axons to Identity is a rich, thought-provoking, and rewarding book with much to teach anyone interested in questions about mind and brain.” — Metapsychology Online Reviews