Connectome, by Sebastian Seung.

Read. This. Book.connectomecover
This one is in my top three psychology books for A level students to read this year. It is exciting because it sketches out some future directions that cognitive neuroscience is going to take in the coming years and decades.
When Galileo pointed his telescope at the night sky, he saw for the first time the machinery of planetary motion. This laid the foundations for our modern understanding of astronomy. The same is happening today in brain science. The ongoing improvement in brain scanning is driving new understanding of how the brain actually works. This book is a guide to the road ahead.
Not only that, but the first few chapters are a brilliant primer on the basics of neuroscience and biopsychology, and will be great revision for this part of the exam.
A really interesting read, and very accessible.
“A connectome is the totality of connections between the neurons in a nervous system.”
“In the nineteenth century, the American psychologist William James wrote eloquently of the stream of consciousness, the continuous flow of thoughts through the mind. But James failed to note that every stream has a bed. Without this groove in the earth, the water would not know in which direction to flow. Since the connectome defines the pathways along which neural activity can flow, we might regard it as the streambed of consciousness.
The metaphor is a powerful one. Over a long period of time, in the same way that the water of the stream slowly shapes the bed, neural activity changes the connectome. The two notions of the self – as both the fast-moving, ever-changing stream and the more stable but slowly transforming streambed –  are thus inextricably linked. This book is about the self as the streambed, the self in the connectome – the self that has been neglected for too long.”

The Touch that Made You, by Linda Geddes.

“We have as much physical contact within our core relationships as monkeys.” Winning sports teams use more physical contact with one another than losing teams. The emotion-linked insular cortex in the brain responds to the areas of the body used for social touch: the back, the shoulders, the upper arms, and the scalp. This New Scientist article explores the way that the nervous system represents social touch. “My hunch is that the natural interaction bewteen parents and the infant – that continuous desire to touch, cuddle, and handle – is providing the essential inputs that lay the foundation for a well-adjusted social brain. It’s more than just nice, it’s absolutely critical.” – Francis McGlone, Liverpool John Moores University. New Scientist No. 3010, 28th February 2015, p. 34-37