Brain Bugs

Brain Bugs

How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives

Book - 2011
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With its trillions of connections, the human brain is more beautiful and complex than anything we could ever build, but it's far from perfect. Our memory is unreliable; we can't multiply large sums in our heads; advertising manipulates our judgment; we tend to distrust people who are different from us; supernatural beliefs and superstitions are hard to shake; we prefer instant gratification to long-term gain; and what we presume to be rational decisions are often anything but. Drawing on striking examples and fascinating studies, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano illuminates the causes and consequences of these "bugs" in terms of the brain's innermost workings and their evolutionary purposes. He then goes one step further, examining how our brains function-and malfunction-in the digital, predator-free, information-saturated, special effects-addled world that we have built for ourselves. Along the way, Brain Bugs gives us the tools to hone our cognitive strengths while recognizing our inherent weaknesses.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393076028
Branch Call Number: 612. 82 BUO
Characteristics: 310 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

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CSchmidt1 Sep 22, 2011

This was a very interesting and informative book. The author draws on (and provides detailed references to) a wide variety of research on how our brains work, and specifically, how they are wired. He points out specific ways that our brains have not caught up to the complex decisions that our modern society call for and why we often make poor long-term choices. I especially liked: Chapter 4 - Temporal Distortions and the section where he illuminates the Subjectivity of Time; Chapter 5 - Fear Factor and the section on Amygdala Politics; Chapter 7 - The Advertising Bug and his revelations on Animal Advertising; and finally Chapter 9 - Debugging where he provides usefull suggestions for how we can use what we have learned about our brain bugs to help us counter-act their influence.

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