Books on the Brain

behaveThe brain: it’s the body’s control center, the server that stores all of your memory, the way in which we’re able to perceive the world around us. The more we understand about the way our brains work, the better we can harness their power.

The next time you find yourself asking, “Why do I just do that?” or “Why do I think this way?” try searching for the answers in one of these books:

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky – A professor of biology and neurology reveals what makes humans do the things they do, delving into environmental stimuli, things that trigger the nervous system, hormonal responses and how they work in conjunction with evolutionary and cultural factors.

Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To by Dean Burnett – Presents a tour of the human psyche and how it is related to the workings of the brain, exploring such subjects as egocentricity, superstition, and insomnia, while exposing the mistakes that have been made in efforts to better understand the mind.

The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher F. Chabris – The creators of the famous “gorilla experiment” that demonstrated people’s inattention to obvious facts draw on hundreds of creative experiments to whimsically reveal how the human race overrates its mental capacity.

Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminated the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts by Charles Fernyhough – Blending the most up-to-date science with literature and personal stories, a psychologist provides an illuminating look at human memory–the way people remember and forget.

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why it Happens by Benedict Carey – A leading neuroscientist presents an exploration of what is known about learning and memory that considers how to adapt such negative characteristics as ignorance and laziness to expand learning potential.

Brain Briefs: Answers to the Most (and Least) Pressing Questions About Your Mind by Arthur Markman & Robert Duke – Hosts of the popular NPR radio show and podcast Two Guys on Your Head answer all your questions about how the brain works and why we behave the way we do, served up in fun and revelatory bite-size bits.

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David M. Eagleman – A leading neuroscientist reveals the functions of the unconscious regions of the brain, drawing on up-to-the-minute research to identify the significance of brain areas outside of our awareness and their roles in such areas as mate selection, the perception of beauty and the future of criminal law.

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