The brain and its environment
AbstractReviews the book "The Brain and Its Environment" by J. Barcroft . Sir Joseph Barcroft, for many years professor of physiology at Cambridge University, has presented in this brief volume of Terry Lectures a suggestive discussion of some of his recent work. The monograph is essentially a suggestive introduction to a very large problem. After a discussion of relations between the maternal and foetal circulation, which latter constitutes the internal environment of the embryo, the first chapter deals with brain activity in mid-foetal life. The second chapter deals with brain activity shortly after birth from the point of view of (1) the exposure of the skin and receptors to the atmosphere and of the body to gravitational conditions and (2) the aeration of the blood. The last lecture deals with "mental efficiency considered in relation to some properties of the blood." As the author points out, the data are often meager and the conclusions necessarily tentative. More questions are raised than are answered, but this is inevitable and, if taken in what this reviewer believes to be the spirit of the author, does not detract from the monograph. It is argued that to many American psychologists the rather cavalier use of mentalistic and physiological terminology, especially characteristic of British physiologists when they write about behavior, may detract from the value of the contribution.