[ View menu ]

new book – ‘Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are’ by Jennifer M. Groh

October 21, 2014

Making Space

Making Space: How the Brain Knows Where Things Are by Jennifer M. Groh (Belknap Press, 2014)

(amazon.co.uk)

Book description from the publisher:

Knowing where things are seems effortless. Yet our brains devote tremendous computational power to figuring out the simplest details about spatial relationships. Going to the grocery store or finding our cell phone requires sleuthing and coordination across different sensory and motor domains. Making Space traces this mental detective work to explain how the brain creates our sense of location. But it goes further, to make the case that spatial processing permeates all our cognitive abilities, and that the brain’s systems for thinking about space may be the systems of thought itself.

Our senses measure energy in the form of light, sound, and pressure on the skin, and our brains evaluate these measurements to make inferences about objects and boundaries. Jennifer Groh describes how eyes detect electromagnetic radiation, how the brain can locate sounds by measuring differences of less than one one-thousandth of a second in how long they take to reach each ear, and how the ear’s balance organs help us monitor body posture and movement. The brain synthesizes all this neural information so that we can navigate three-dimensional space.

But the brain’s work doesn’t end there. Spatial representations do double duty in aiding memory and reasoning. This is why it is harder to remember how to get somewhere if someone else is driving, and why, if we set out to do something and forget what it was, returning to the place we started can jog our memory. In making space the brain uses powers we did not know we have.

See also: Author’s webpage

Comments (0) - cognitive science,new books

new book – ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness’ by Russ Roberts

October 18, 2014

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russ Roberts (Portfolio, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

A forgotten book by one of history’s greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune.

Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individuals—the way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happiness—the Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized he’d stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read.

In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smith’s forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smith’s insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smith’s unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining.

By reinvigorating Smith’s neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of history’s greatest minds.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - happiness,new books,psychology

free kindle ebook – ‘Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves’ by Jill Walker Rettberg

October 13, 2014

Comments (0) - psychology,self

new book – ‘Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being’ by Brian R. Little

October 6, 2014

Me, Myself, and Us

Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian R. Little (Perseus/PublicAffairs, 2014)

(amazon.co.uk), (kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

How does your personality shape your life … and what, if anything, can you do about it?

Are you hardwired for happiness, or born to brood? Do you think you’re in charge of your future, or do you surf the waves of unknowable fate? Would you be happier, or just less socially adept, if you were less concerned about what other people thought of you? And what about your “Type A” spouse: is he or she destined to have a heart attack, or just drive you to drink?

In the past few decades, new scientific research has transformed old ideas about the nature of human personality. Neuroscientists, biologists, and psychological scientists have reexamined the theories of Freud and Jung as well as the humanistic psychologies of the 1960s, upending the simplistic categorizations of personality “types,” and developing new tools and methods for exploring who we are. Renowned professor and pioneering research psychologist Brian R. Little has been at the leading edge of this new science. In this wise and witty book he shares a wealth of new data and provocative insights about who we are, why we act the way we do, what we can—and can’t—change, and how we can best thrive in light of our “nature.”

Me, Myself, and Us explores questions that are rooted in the origins of human consciousness but are as commonplace as yesterday’s breakfast conversation, such as whether our personality traits are “set” by age thirty or whether our brains and selves are more plastic. He considers what our personalities portend for our health and success, and the extent to which our well-being depends on the personal projects we pursue.

Through stories, studies, personal experiences, and entertaining interactive assessments, Me, Myself, and Us provides a lively, thought-provoking, and ultimately optimistic look at the possibilities and perils of being uniquely ourselves, while illuminating the selves of the familiar strangers we encounter, work with, and love.

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - new books,psychology,self

Kindle Daily Deal for Sunday 10/5 -$2.99 for ‘How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, & the Hidden Power of Character’ by Paul Tough

October 5, 2014

Comments (0) - Uncategorized