The Idiot Brain

A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To

Author: Dean Burnett

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 9781443450072

Category: Medical

Page: 336

View: 6284

A neuroscientist’s delightful tour of our mysterious, mischievous, entirely fallible grey matter It’s happened to all of us at some point. You walk into the kitchen, or flip open your laptop, or stride confidently up to a lectern, filled with purpose?and suddenly haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re doing. Welcome to your idiot brain. Yes, it is an absolute marvel in some respects?the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress and the engine of all human experience?but your brain is also messy, fallible and about 50,000 years out of date. We cling to superstitions, remember faces but not names, miss things sitting right in front of us and lie awake at night while our brains replay our greatest fears on an endless loop. Yet all of this, believe it or not, is the sign of a well-meaning brain doing its best to keep you alive and healthy. In The Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we’ve made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for everyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.

The Idiot Brain

A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head is Really Up To

Author: Dean Burnett

Publisher: Guardian Faber Publishing

ISBN: 1783350830

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 3085

Why do you lose arguments with people who know MUCH LESS than you? Why can you recognise that woman, from that thing... but can't remember her name? And why, after your last break-up, did you find yourself in the foetal position on the sofa for days, moving only to wipe the snot and tears haphazardly from your face? Here's why: the idiot brain. For something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionarily advanced, the human brain is pretty messy, fallible and disorganised. For example, did you know that your memory is egotistical? That conspiracy theories and superstitions are the inevitable effects of a healthy brain? Or that alcohol can actually improve your memory?** In The Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett tours our mysterious and mischievous grey (and white) matter. Along the way he explains the human brain's imperfections in all their glory and how these influence everything we say, do and experience. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for anyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to. **Editor's note: please read the book before testing this conclusion.

The Idiot Brain

A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To

Author: Dean Burnett

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 1443450081

Category: Medical

Page: 288

View: 8414

The brain may be the seat of consciousness and the engine of all human experience, but it’s also messy, fallible and disorganized. It’s undeniably impressive, but it’s far from perfect, and these imperfections influence everything that humans say, do and experience. In The Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett celebrates the downright laughable things our minds do to us, as well as exposing the fact that people are often way off in their thinking about how the brain works. For example, did you know that your memory is egotistical? stress can actually increase your performance at a task? conspiracy theories and superstitions stem from your brain’s insistence that the world isn’t random? the brain’s limitations mean you really can miss something that’s right under your nose? the way the brain’s processing works means that time really does fly if you’re having fun? alcohol can sometimes improve your memory? Dean Burnett’s unpredictable and entertaining first book explores the unexpected side of everyday life, highlighting where conventional thinking is wrong and how our brains trip us up at every turn. This is lucid, funny and smart: in short, the best kind of popular science.

Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why

Author: Dean Burnett

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393651355

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 8425

Neuroscientist Dean Burnett dives into the squishy science and bubbly feelings of what happiness means. The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible—or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain? In this delightful sequel to Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett explores these questions from a neuroscientific perspective. He combines the latest research and theories about how the brain works with interviews and contributions from relevant individuals, such as relationship experts, psychology professors, comedy writers, celebrities, millionaire gurus, and pretty much anyone else involved in bringing about happiness in others. Distinguished by Burnett’s signature wit and curiosity, Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state. Humorous and enlightening, Happy Brain explores a fascinating aspect of modern neuroscience and, in the process, reveals something about what it means to be human.

Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You

Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear and Build Resilience

Author: Marc Schoen

Publisher: Plume

ISBN: 0142180742

Category: Psychology

Page: 259

View: 3572

Explains how everyday occurrences are triggering limbic-brain reactions that originally evolved to warn of immediate danger, and shares simple techniques for alleviating stress, improving decision making, and taking healthy risks.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Brain

Author: Arthur Bard,Mitchell G. Bard, Ph.D.

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 144062576X

Category: Science

Page: 360

View: 6054

You're no idiot, of course. You know your own mind, but when it comes to understanding what's really going on in your head - all those synapses, all those neurones - you feel like you're just about brain-dead! Don't let it unnerve you! 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Brain' proves that you don't need to be a genius to be in the know, and gives you losts of fun stuff to think about, too. In this 'Complete Idiot's Guide', you get: -The history of human knowledge of the brain. -Insights into what causes brain disorders and how best to treat them. -Thoughtful tips about the many different ways we learn new information.

Pink Brain, Blue Brain

Author: Lise Eliot

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1780740867

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 432

View: 2019

Turning conventional thinking about gender differences on its head, Lise Eliot issues a call to close the troubling gaps between boys and girls and help all children reach their fullest potential. Drawing on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time as parents, teachers, and the culture at large unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. Indicating points of intervention where social pressures can be minimised, she offers concrete solutions for helping everyone grow into wellrounded individuals.

This Is Your Brain on Music

The Science of a Human Obsession

Author: Daniel J. Levitin

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101218914

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 1806

In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain. Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals: • How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world • Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre • That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise • How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.

What the Dog Knows

The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs

Author: Cat Warren

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1451667337

Category: Pets

Page: 352

View: 401

A firsthand exploration of the extraordinary abilities and surprising, sometimes life-saving talents of “working dogs”—pups who can sniff out drugs, find explosives, even locate the dead—as told through the experiences of a journalist and her intrepid canine companion, which The New York Times calls “a fascinating, deeply reported journey into the…amazing things dogs can do with their noses.” There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities—they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but author Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures’ amazing abilities. Cat Warren is a university professor and journalist who had tried everything she could think of to harness her dog Solo’s boundless energy and enthusiasm…until a behavior coach suggested she try training him to be a “working dog.” What started out as a hobby soon became a calling, as Warren was introduced to the hidden universe of dogs who do this essential work and the handlers who train them. Her dog Solo has a fine nose and knows how to use it, but he’s only one of many astounding dogs in a varied field. Warren interviews cognitive psychologists, historians, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, as well as the breeders, trainers, and handlers who work with and rely on these intelligent and adaptable animals daily. Along the way, Warren discovers story after story that prove the capabilities—as well as the very real limits—of working dogs and their human partners. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Warren explains why our partnership with working dogs is woven into the fabric of society, and why we keep finding new uses for the wonderful noses of our four-legged friends.

The User's Guide to the Human Mind

Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It

Author: Shawn Smith

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

ISBN: 160882053X

Category: Self-Help

Page: 216

View: 3673

Your mind is not built to make you happy; it’s built to help you survive. So far, it’s done a great job! But in the process, it may have developed some bad habits, like avoiding new experiences or scrounging around for problems where none exist. Is it any wonder that worry, bad moods, and self-critical thoughts so often get in the way of enjoying life? The User’s Guide to the Human Mind is a road map to the puzzling inner workings of the human mind, replete with exercises for overriding the mind’s natural impulses toward worry, self-criticism, and fear, and helpful tips for acting in the service of your values and emotional well-being—even when your mind has other plans. Find out how your mind tries to limit your behavior and your potential Discover how pessimism functions as your mind’s error management system Learn why you shouldn’t believe everything you think Overrule your thoughts and feelings and take charge of your mind and your life

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

A Renowned Neurologist Explains the Mystery and Drama of Brain Disease

Author: Allan H. Ropper,Brian David Burrell

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1250034981

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 272

View: 9911

A top neurologist explains the difficulty of diagnosing brain diseases through such cases as a college quarterback who keeps calling the same play and a salesman who continuously drives around a traffic circle.

Useful Belief

Because It's Better Than Positive Thinking

Author: Chris Helder

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0730327418

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 112

View: 3086

Positive thinking has had its time — the new way of overcoming life's challenges is USEFUL BELIEF Useful Belief turns the "be positive" industry upside down with a fresh and modern approach to achievement. Sometimes things in life are not positive. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. If you've had a nightmare of a year, the last thing you want to hear is "Be positive!" Instead, you need an actual strategy to dig yourself out, and a truly useful guidebook to show you where to go next. This is that guidebook. Through the engaging tale of a business traveller and the three significant encounters on his journey, this book takes you on a journey of your own — to self awareness, and an improved approach to business, parenting and relationships. You'll learn how thinking "useful" is better than thinking "positive", and you'll uncover the utility of your past, present and future challenges. You'll undergo a major shift in the way you solve your problems, and you'll learn how to navigate your way out of ambiguity and toward success. If you have challenges at work right now, just deciding to "be positive" will not fix them. Useful belief and strategy will. This book shows you how to frame your challenges to make them surmountable, and how to formulate an action plan for getting where you need to be. Learn a simple self-awareness strategy that turns problems into plans Discover the truth about "truth" and the importance of "useful" Go beyond positivity to actually fix personal and professional problems Uncover the valuable lessons you've learned from the challenges you've overcome Everything that has ever happened to you has happened for a reason. It doesn't matter if it's true, because it's useful to believe it is true. Useful Belief leads you toward the self-awareness and strategic outlook you need to achieve personal fulfillment and professional success.

This Is Your Brain on Parasites

How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society

Author: Kathleen McAuliffe

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0544193229

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 2145

“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal “Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity—even suicide. Germs that cause colds and the flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. Drawing on a huge body of research, McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human. “If you’ve ever doubted the power of microbes to shape society and offer us a grander view of life, read on and find yourself duly impressed.” —Heather Havrilesky, Bookforum

Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time

Author: Dean Buonomano

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393247953

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 4000

A leading neuroscientist embarks on a groundbreaking exploration of how time works inside the brain. In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell, and perceive, time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables “mental time travel”—simulations of future and past events. These functions are essential not only to our daily lives but to the evolution of the human race: without the ability to anticipate the future, mankind would never have crafted tools or invented agriculture. The brain was designed to navigate our continuously changing world by predicting what will happen and when. Buonomano combines neuroscience expertise with a far-ranging, multidisciplinary approach. With engaging style, he illuminates such concepts as consciousness, spacetime, and relativity while addressing profound questions that have long occupied scientists and philosophers alike: What is time? Is our sense of time’s passage an illusion? Does free will exist, or is the future predetermined? In pursuing the answers, Buonomano reveals as much about the fascinating architecture of the human brain as he does about the intricacies of time itself. This virtuosic work of popular science leads to an astonishing realization: your brain is, at its core, a time machine.

The Superhuman Mind

Free the Genius in Your Brain

Author: Berit Brogaard, PhD,Kristian Marlow, MA

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 069819036X

Category: Self-Help

Page: 304

View: 4569

Did you know your brain has superpowers? Berit Brogaard, PhD, and Kristian Marlow, MA, study people with astonishing talents—memory champions, human echolocators, musical virtuosos, math geniuses, and synesthetes who taste colors and hear faces. But as amazing as these abilities are, they are not mysterious. Our brains constantly process a huge amount of information below our awareness, and what these gifted individuals have in common is that through practice, injury, an innate brain disorder, or even more unusual circumstances, they have managed to gain a degree of conscious access to this potent processing power. The Superhuman Mind takes us inside the lives and brains of geniuses, savants, virtuosos, and a wide variety of ordinary people who have acquired truly extraordinary talents, one way or another. Delving into the neurological underpinnings of these abilities, the authors even reveal how we can acquire some of them ourselves—from perfect pitch and lightning fast math skills to supercharged creativity. The Superhuman Mind is a book full of the fascinating science readers look for from the likes of Oliver Sacks, combined with the exhilarating promise of Moonwalking with Einstein.

Incognito

The Secret Lives of the Brain

Author: David Eagleman

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 9780307379788

Category: Psychology

Page: 288

View: 3569

If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing? In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom? Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions. From the Hardcover edition.

Adventures in the Anthropocene

A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made

Author: Gaia Vince

Publisher: Milkweed Editions

ISBN: 157131928X

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 4326

We live in times of great change on Earth. In fact, while previous shifts from one geological epoch to another were caused by events beyond human control, the dramatic results of our emission of carbon to the atmosphere over the past century have moved many scientists to declare the dawn of a new era: the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Watching this consensus develop from her seat as an editor at Nature, Gaia Vince couldn’t help but wonder if the greatest cause of this dramatic planetary change—humans’ singular ability to adapt and innovate—might also hold the key to our survival. And so she left her professional life in London and set out to travel the world in search of ordinary people making extraordinary changes and, in many cases, thriving. Part science journal, part travelogue, Adventures in the Anthropocene recounts Vince’s journey, and introduces an essential new perspective on the future of life on Earth.

The Upward Spiral

Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

Author: Alex Korb

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

ISBN: 1626251223

Category: Self-Help

Page: 232

View: 9898

Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life. Whether you suffer from depression or just want a better understanding of the brain, this book offers an engaging and informative look at the neuroscience behind our emotions, thoughts, and actions. The truth is that there isn’t one big solution to depression, but there are numerous simple steps you can take to alter brain activity and chemistry. Some are as easy as relaxing certain muscles to reduce anxiety, or getting more sunlight to improve your mood. Small steps in the right direction can have profound effects—giving you the power to become your best self as you literally reshape your brain, one small change at a time.

Fluent Forever

How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It

Author: Gabriel Wyner

Publisher: Harmony

ISBN: 038534810X

Category: Foreign Language Study

Page: 336

View: 1703

The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently. He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and practicing on the subway, using simple techniques and free online resources. In Fluent Forever Wyner reveals what he’s discovered. The greatest challenge to learning a foreign language is the challenge of memory; there are just too many words and too many rules. For every new word we learn, we seem to forget two old ones, and as a result, fluency can seem out of reach. Fluent Forever tackles this challenge head-on. With empathy for the language-challenged and abundant humor, Wyner deconstructs the learning process, revealing how to build a foreign language in your mind from the ground up. Starting with pronunciation, you’ll learn how to rewire your ears and turn foreign sounds into familiar sounds. You'll retrain your tongue to produce those sounds accurately, using tricks from opera singers and actors. Next, you'll begin to tackle words, and connect sounds and spellings to imagery, rather than translations, which will enable you to think in a foreign language. And with the help of sophisticated spaced-repetition techniques, you'll be able to memorize hundreds of words a month in minutes every day. Soon, you'll gain the ability to learn grammar and more difficult abstract words--without the tedious drills and exercises of language classes and grammar books. This is brain hacking at its most exciting, taking what we know about neuroscience and linguistics and using it to create the most efficient and enjoyable way to learn a foreign language in the spare minutes of your day.

The Brain

The Story of You

Author: David Eagleman

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 1101870540

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 8515

Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. Strap in for a whistle-stop tour into the inner cosmos. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see in there: you. This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life. (A companion to the six-part PBS series. Color illustrations throughout.)