The brains in brain: The coevolution of localization and its images

Alan G. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Images of brain localization from Brain's inception to the present are analyzed. Textual representations and their accompanying images are shown to coevolve; that is, the technological and conceptual development of the research program of localization is shown to evolve simultaneously with the exploitation of visual resources that support these developments. The semiotics of Peirce, the social semiotics of Kress and van Leeuwen, and the insights of Gestalt psychology provide a critical vocabulary with which to describe and to analyze these visual resources. I conclude that brain images evolve in a manner that reflects the uniformity in measuring instruments and the increase in their precision in the localization of brain functions; at the same time, they draw attention away from a persistent constraint: the brain functions so precisely localized are just those that are not constitutive of our humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-392
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Brain
  • Icon
  • Index
  • Localization
  • Semiotics


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