Mind, Brain, and Schizophrenia


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Williamson, Peter (2006) New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517637-5. xii + 278 pp.This is a dense, logical, knowledgeable synthesis of the available data from neurotransmitter, psychophysiological, and brain imaging studies which bear on the etiology of schizophrenia. It is supported by 72 pages of references. The author makes a case for focusing research on the mechanisms leading to the final common behavioral pathway which, though it varies from patient to patient, is labeled as “the” disease. His view is multifactorial: this final pathway follows the failure of several brain circuits which may be damaged for a variety of reasons. Many genes are implicated and many factors aside from genetic inheritance are involved. These lead to a view of schizophrenia as “a problem of streaming and binding perceptual, cognitive and affective information” (p. 191) linked to the phenomena of consciousness. He believes that in some ways “psychiatry is at the same cross-roads that medicine was almost 400 years ago when William Harvey was about to discover the circulatory system” (p. 11).

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