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Archive for 'cognitive science'

new book – ‘Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society’ ed. by Schutt, Seidman, & Keshavan

June 10, 2015

Social Neuroscience

Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society ed. by Russell K. Schutt, Larry J. Seidman, and Matcheri Keshavan (Harvard University Press, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

Human beings evolved in the company of others and flourish in proportion to their positive social ties. To understand the human brain, we must situate its biology in the wider context of society. To understand society, we must also consider how the brains and minds of individuals shape interactions with other human beings. Social Neuroscience offers a comprehensive new framework for studying the brain, human development, and human behavior.

In this book, leading researchers in the fields of neurobiology, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology elucidate the connections between brain biology and the brain’s functioning in the social world, providing a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary explanation of how humans think and act, as well as the ways we define and treat pathological behavior. Synthesizing the insights and perspectives of these experts, Social Neuroscience examines how neural processes make the brain sensitive to social experience, how cognition shapes social behavior, and how social networks create a range of responses among different individuals to the same environmental stimuli.

The mutually reinforcing connections between brain, mind, and society have profound implications for human health, from the emotionally damaging effects of severe social deprivation to the neurological impact of parental abuse and neighborhood violence. The authors explore these connections, with special focus on mental illnesses, including schizophrenia?a disorder characterized by marked social deficits in which a neurological basis is now well established.

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new book – ‘Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles’ by Dan Ariely

May 20, 2015

Irrationally Yours

Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles by Dan Ariely, ill. by William Haefeli (Harper Perennial, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

Three-time New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely teams up with legendary The New Yorker cartoonist William Haefeli to present an expanded, illustrated collection of his immensely popularWall Street Journal advice column, “Ask Ariely”.

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely revolutionized the way we think about ourselves, our minds, and our actions in his books Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty. Ariely applies this scientific analysis of the human condition in his “Ask Ariely” Q & A column in the Wall Street Journal, in which he responds to readers who write in with personal conundrums ranging from the serious to the curious:

  • What can you do to stay calm when you’re playing the volatile stock market?
  • What’s the best way to get someone to stop smoking?
  • How can you maximize the return on your investment at an all-you-can-eat buffet?
  • Is it possible to put a price on the human soul?
  • Can you ever rationally justify spending thousands of dollars on a Rolex?

In Ask Ariely, a broad variety of economic, ethical, and emotional dilemmas are explored and addressed through text and images. Using their trademark insight and wit, Ariely and Haefeli help us reflect on how we can reason our way through external and internal challenges.  Readers will laugh, learn, and most importantly gain a new perspective on how to deal with the inevitable problems that plague our daily life.

Google Books preview:

Ask Ariely: (Free) Advice! from Advanced Hindsight on Vimeo.

See also: Author’s website

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new book – ‘Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World’ by Steven Quartz and Anette Asp

April 27, 2015

Cool

Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World by Steven Quartz and Anette Asp (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

If you have ever wondered why SUVs replaced minivans, how one rap song turned the cognac industry upside down, or what gives Levi’s jeans their iconic allure, look no further-in Cool, Steven Quartz and Anette Asp finally explain the fascinating science behind unexpected trends and enduring successes.
We live in a world of conspicuous consumption, where the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and the food we eat lead double lives: they don’t merely satisfy our needs; they also communicate our values, identities, and aspirations. In Beverly Hills, tourists flock to the famous Rodeo Drive-not to shop, but simply to take photographs of themselves in front of luxury stores. And for one week in August, hundreds of thousands of HarleyDavidson fans from all over the world descend on the remote town of Sturgis, South Dakota, and engulf the otherwise sleepy hamlet in the deafening roar of motorcycle engines. Why do brands inspire such devotion?
Quartz and Asp bring together groundbreaking findings in neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary biology to present a new understanding of why we consume and how our concepts of what is “cool”-be it designer jeans, smartphones, or craft beer-help drive the global economy. The authors highlight the underlying neurological and cultural processes that contribute to our often unconscious decision making, explaining how we’re able to navigate the supermarket on autopilot for certain items and yet arrive at the checkout counter with a basket full of products picked up on the spur of the moment. And they explore the opposite side of the consumer equation-the “choice architects” who design store interiors and the “coolhunters” who scour Berlin and Tokyo on the lookout for the latest trends. Through a novel combination of cultural and economic history and in-depth studies of the brain, Cool puts forth a provocative theory of consumerism that reveals the crucial missing links in an understanding of our spending habits: our brain’s status-seeking “social calculator” and an instinct to rebel that fuels our dislike of being subordinated by others. Quartz and Asp show how these ancient motivations make us natural-born consumers and how they sparked the emergence of “cool consumption” in the middle of the twentieth century, creating new lifestyle choices and routes to happiness. Examining how cool was reshaped in the 1990s by a changing society and the Internet, they unpack the social motivations behind today’s hip, ethical consumption, arguing that we should embrace, rather than deny, the power of consumerism.
Taking us from Norman Mailer to normcore, Cool is surprising at every turn, and will forever change the way you think about money, status, desire, happiness, and choice.

Google Books preview:

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new book – ‘The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking’ by Michael Corballis

April 15, 2015

Wandering Mind

The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking by Michael Corballis (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

If we’ve done our job well—and, let’s be honest, if we’re lucky—you’ll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won’t. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That’s just how it is.

That may be bad news for me, but is it bad news for people in general? Does the fact that as much as fifty percent of our waking hours find us failing to focus on the task at hand represent a problem? Michael Corballis doesn’t think so, and with The Wandering Mind, he shows us why, rehabilitating woolgathering and revealing its incredibly useful effects. Drawing on the latest research from cognitive science and evolutionary biology, Corballis shows us how mind-wandering not only frees us from moment-to-moment drudgery, but also from the limitations of our immediate selves. Mind-wandering strengthens our imagination, fueling the flights of invention, storytelling, and empathy that underlie our shared humanity; furthermore, he explains, our tendency to wander back and forth through the timeline of our lives is fundamental to our very sense of ourselves as coherent, continuing personalities.

Full of unusual examples and surprising discoveries, The Wandering Mind mounts a vigorous defense of inattention­—even as it never fails to hold the reader’s.

Google Books preview:

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new book – ‘The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain’ by John Kounios and Mark Beeman

April 14, 2015

Eureka Factor

The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain by John Kounios and Mark Beeman (Random House, 2015)

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

Book description from the publisher:

In a book perfect for readers of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, David Eagleman’s Incognito, and Leonard Mlodinow’s Subliminal, the cognitive neuroscientists who discovered how the brain has aha moments—sudden creative insights—explain how they happen, when we need them, and how we can have more of them to enrich our lives and empower personal and professional success.
 
Eureka or aha moments are sudden realizations that expand our understanding of the world and ourselves, conferring both personal growth and practical advantage. Such creative insights, as psychological scientists call them, were what conveyed an important discovery in the science of genetics to Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock, the melody of a Beatles ballad to Paul McCartney, and an understanding of the cause of human suffering to the Buddha. But these moments of clarity are not given only to the famous. Anyone can have them.

In The Eureka Factor, John Kounios and Mark Beeman explain how insights arise and what the scientific research says about stimulating more of them. They discuss how various conditions affect the likelihood of your having an insight, when insight is helpful and when deliberate methodical thought is better suited to a task, what the relationship is between insight and intuition, and how the brain’s right hemisphere contributes to creative thought.

Written in a lively, engaging style, this book goes beyond scientific principles to offer productive techniques for realizing your creative potential—at home and at work. The authors provide compelling anecdotes to illustrate how eureka experiences can be a key factor in your life. Attend a dinner party with Christopher Columbus to learn why we need insights. Go to a baseball game with the director of a classic Disney Pixar movie to learn about one important type of aha moment. Observe the behind-the-scenes arrangements for an Elvis Presley concert to learn why the timing of insights is crucial.

Accessible and compelling, The Eureka Factor is a fascinating look at the human brain and its seemingly infinite capacity to surprise us.

Google Books preview:

See also: Book website

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