“The self is more of a superhighway for social influence than it is the impenetrable private fortress we believe it to be.”
Neuroscientist Matthew D. Lieberman, head of UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, on why our brains are wired to connect
“There is no reason why this web of hypertrophied consciousness cannot spread to the planets and, ultimately, beyond the stellar night to the galaxy.”
Neuroscientist Christof Koch explores how subjective feelings, or consciousness, come into being, and why we should expect the Internet to become sentient.
An ambitious look at how body chemistry affects high-stakes financial trading, in which Coates sets out to construct — and deconstruct — a “universal biology of risk-taking.
“Boredom is, in the Darwinian sense, an adaptive emotion. Its purpose, that is, may be designed to help one flourish.”
A fascinating history and anthropology of boredom from classics scholar Peter Toohey. From Madame Bovary to fMRI, he explores the roots, symptoms, and symbolism of boredom across art history, psychology, and neurochemistry to examine what it reveals about us both as individuals and as a culture.
“The daily experience of the self is so familiar, and yet the brain science shows that this sense of the self is an illusion. Psychologist Susan Blackmore makes the point that the word ‘illusion’ does not mean that it does not exist — rather, an illusion is not what it seems. We all certainly experience some form of self, but what we experience is a powerful depiction generated by our brains for our own benefit.”
“It has been just so in all my inventions. The first step is an intuition — and come with a burst, then difficulties arise. This thing gives out and then that — ‘Bugs’ — as such little faults and difficulties are called.” ~ Thomas Edison
In Brain Bugs, Dean Buonomano argues that who we are as individuals and as a society is defined not only by the astonishing capabilities of the brain, but also by its flaws and limitations.
MIT Professor of Computational Neuroscience Sebastian Seung proposes a new model for understanding the totality of selfhood, one based the emerging science of connectomics — a kind of neuroscience of the future that seeks to map and understand the brain much like genomics has mapped the genome
"Creativity shouldn’t be seen as something otherworldly. It shouldn’t be thought of as a process reserved for artists and inventors and other ‘creative types.’ The human mind, after all, has the creative impulse built into its operating system, hard-wired into its most essential programming code. At any given moment, the brain is automatically forming new associations, continually connecting an everyday x to an unexpected y.”
Jonah Lehrer on how creativity really works and why most of the assumptions we hold about it aren’t just wrong but also detrimental to our own capacity to create.
Jonah Lehrer tells the story of how a handful of iconic creators each discovered an essential truth about the mind long before modern science was able to label and pinpoint it — for instance, George Eliot detected neuroplasticity, Gertrude Stein uncovered the deep structure of language, Cézanne fathomed how vision works, and Proust demonstrated the imperfections of memory.
At the heart of the message is what Lehrer calls a “fourth culture” that empowers us to “freely transplant knowledge between the sciences and the humanities, and focus on connecting the reductionist fact to our actual experience.”
A neuroscientist debunks the myth of a “music instinct” and learns to play – a fascinating journey into the limits of human reinvention.
Bringing a storyteller’s articulate and fluid narrative to a scientist’s quest, Eagleman dances across an incredible spectrum of issues — brain damage, dating, drugs, beauty, synesthesia, criminal justice, artificial intelligence, optical illusions and much more — to reveal that things we take as passive givens, from our capacity for seeing a rainbow to our ability to overhear our name in a conversation we weren’t paying attention to, are the function of remarkable neural circuitry, biological wiring and cognitive conditioning.
An ambitious exploration of everything from the origins of language to our relationship with art to the very mental foundation of civilization from one of the most influential neuroscientists of our time.
This is a weird and wonderful almanac of the lovable geeks who immortalized passion for science on their living flesh. Zimmer divides the book into sections around each of the major sciences — math , chemistry, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, astronomy, and even an entire chapter on DNA — and uses each tattoo as a meditation pillow from whence to reflect on the science in question with his unmistakeable essay style of intelligent wit.