A Mind of Its Own

A Mind of Its Own

How your Brain Distorts and Deceives

Book - 2006
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A delightfully unsparing look into what your brain is doing behind your back. In recent years, we've heard a lot about the extraordinary workings of our hundred-billion-celled brain: its amazing capacities to regulate all sensation, perception, thinking, and feeling; the power to shape all experience and define our identity. Indeed, the brain's power is being confirmed every day in new studies and research. But there is a brain we don't generally hear about, a brain we might not want to hear about...the "prima donna within." Exposing the mind's deceptions and exploring how the mind defends and glorifies the ego, Dr. Cordelia Fine illustrates the brain's tendency to self-delusion. Whether it be hindsight bias, wishful thinking, unrealistic optimism, or moral excuse-making, each of us has a slew of inborn mind-bugs and ordinary prejudices that prevent us from seeing the truth about the world and ourselves. With fascinating studies to support her arguments, Dr. Fine takes us on an insightful, rip-roaringly funny tour through the brain you never knew you had.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2006.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393062137
0393062139
Branch Call Number: 150 FINE C
Characteristics: viii, 243 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.

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callig
Sep 08, 2017

This is yet another introduction to the foibles of the brain/mind. If you've read others such you probably won't learn much new, but these books always present a lot of studies, so it's certainly worth at least a browse.
And she's articulate, breezy, and funny. (You may want to check out her article in the 2017 Scientific American special on sex/gender, or her great Testosterone Rex [which is a bit more than most wanted to know, but effectively demolishes the simplistic Men Rule Cause We got the Magic Man-Juice theory. For one thing- hormones are contextual- their effects depend on situations. For instance: oxycotin, the 'love hormone' promotes in-group warm-fuzzies, yes; but out-group aggression!, and testosterone can prompt co-operation!])
On pages 138 she dismisses subliminal advertising but on 139, contradicts herself. !?
In general, like others, she exposes our thorough irrationality but doesn't even speculate why. After all, irrationality is counter-adaptive, so its prevalence seems due to more than poor design, and/or the Peter Principle. Tho admittedly, obsolete genes explain much.
My favourite explanation is outlined in Denial: Self-deception (...) by Varki. (Basically: that we managed to attain self-awareness and intelligence by adding the trick of selective mental blindness to death, that unfortunately has the side-effect of making us crazy.)

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maroon_chicken
Jun 25, 2015

Highly recommended for anyone interested in psychology!

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