Incognito

Incognito

The Secret Lives of the Brain

Book - 2011
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If the conscious mind--the part you consider you--is just the tip of the iceberg in the brain, what is all the rest doing? In Incognito, neuroscientist David Eagleman plumbs the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising questions: Why can your foot jump halfway to the brake pedal before you are consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do strippers make more money at certain times of the month, although no one is consciously aware of their fertility level? Is there a true Mel Gibson? What do Odysseus and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common? How is your brain like a conflicted democracy engaged in civil war? Why are people whose name begins with J more likely to marry other people whose name begins with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? Why did Supreme Court Justice William Douglas deny that he was paralyzed? This subsurface exploration includes diversions into brain damage, drugs, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, the future of artificial intelligence, and visual illusions--all highlighting how our perception of the world is a hidden and awe-inspiring construction of the brain.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Group, c2011
ISBN: 9780670063925
0670063924
Characteristics: 290 p

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SeattleSaul
Oct 14, 2018

The mind is a mystery to even the best of scientists. Taking slices of the brain to the tiniest of pieces to find out how thoughts and even consciousness is accomplished, which Eagleman calls “reductionism,” does not work except for the largest areas. A century from now, our knowledge of the brain will seem very primitive by comparison, he believes.
However, we can get some general understanding of the mind by experiments that have been done by asking subjects what they think about various things. He explores the idea of many contending, hidden “yous” beneath the surface and what you think you are thinking seems obvious, because it is the one and only one “you,” but is actually the result of the contending forces. Criminality and proper punishment (rehabilitation?) are also a topic, given that some have predispositions, particularly males, for violence, i.e., they “can’t help it,” and that not all genetic traits are sure to happen, since experience and training figure in.
You will likely learn something from reading this book and will appreciate the humble attitude, common language, and logical approach that Eagleman takes toward this towering subject.

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GrandpaBig
Jul 12, 2017

Eye Opening on how brain really works by one of the foremost experts in the field.

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Ivan W. Taylor
Nov 06, 2014

This book is another good book about evolutionary psychology, My favorite book on evolutionary psychology is "Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite" but this book is a close second. Like my favorite book, it discusses the multiple mind theory and the problems with free will. He does push a theory about prison reform somewhat much but it was an interesting thought.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 30, 2014

Eagleman presents an engaging view of how the brain works in this easily readable and informative book. He weaves narrative of real life cases together with his background in neuroscience to illustrate how the human brain functions and how we perceive reality. This is a great read that will keep you engaged from start to finish. You’ll finish the book a little more enlightened and, perhaps, with a different outlook on just what your brain means to you.

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catwcap
Jul 01, 2012

This is a GREAT book, if you're looking for something intellectually stimulating AND entertaining. Don't bother if you're looking for something closer to a "harry potter" sort of entertainment.

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elizaray
Jun 03, 2012

I am very interested in all the neuroscience books that have been coming out on the workings of the brain. This book added to my knowledge and challenged me with new ideas about our control of our lives. Recommended!

joyhuebert Feb 09, 2012

Just when I was about to give up existentialism based on the author's belief that consciousness is a small part of the brain that is probably almost completely controlled by the organic mind, he reverses his position and claims that life is a mystery! A very gripping read about new discoveries of the brain.

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