The Brain Book Summary By David Eagleman

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The Brain (2015) is a captivating and insightful exploration into the inner workings of the mind.

It brings together the latest research in neuroscience to help us answer some of the questions that have puzzled philosophers for centuries - such as what defines a person's personality, why does it keep changing, and if reality is actually “out there” or are we just imagining it? This book will completely reshape how readers see the mysterious life of our minds.

With deep insights and interesting information about mental functioning, this book offers fascinating takeaways for all readers.

Book Name: The Brain (The Story of You)

Author(s): David Eagleman

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Science

Author Bio

David Eagleman is an esteemed author and professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

His works include highly acclaimed research papers published by top-tier peer-reviewed journals such as Science and Nature.

Additionally, he has also written two major publications - Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, along with a BBC television series about the brain called The Brain.

This book serves as a companion piece for the series.

Dive Deeper Into The Mysteries Of The Mind With These Fascinating Sections

The Brain Book Summary is a brilliantly brainy book to get your gray cells going!

It offers a fascinating peek into the nature of the mind, exploring both familiar and strange aspects.

From classic theories by Freudians to up-to-date neuroscience, this book dives deep into understanding how the subconscious often runs the show inside our minds.

This is essential knowledge since consciously processing every detail in life would be overwhelming!

The Brain Book Summary challenges readers with thoughtful questions on what truly makes us who we are, how decisions and conclusions establish our reality, why people change with time and much more.

You’ll also learn interesting facts such as why cabbies’ brains are different from most people, how smell affects moral behavior, and how Botox can affect empathy levels.

An engaging read for anyone interested in delving deeper into matters of the mind!

The Science Behind Personality Change: How Our Brains Adapt With Age And Experience

As we grow older, the changes in our brains affect our personalities.

From birth, our brain is constantly creating new connections that shape our identities and influence who we become.

When you meet up an old friend after a long time, you’ll notice just how much they’ve changed over the years – this is due to all the experiences and situations they’ve come into contact with since then.

This phenomenon is often referred to as plasticity – or the brain’s ability to ‘learn’ by repetition.

This can happen at any age; for instance, a study conducted by scientists at UCL found that taxi drivers possessed larger hippocampi than other non-taxi driving individuals due to their vast knowledge of London’s streets.

The hippocampus is said to be responsible for forming spatial memory and it grew through constant use.

What’s more, changes in the brain can dramatically impact personality.

Take Charles Whitman: during his postmortem examination, doctors discovered he had a tumor located in the part of his brain connected with fear and aggression – leading many experts to believe that his actions were driven by this abnormal growth in his brain.

These examples show how ever-changing connections within the brain shape who we are – in ways both simple and complex!

The Brain Filters Reality To Create Our Sense Of The World

What we perceive as reality is not necessarily objective.

Our sense of the world is actually shaped by our brains’ interpretation of sensory data from the organs responsible for smell, taste, and sight.

This idea has been demonstrated with examples such as optical illusions that make our brains quickly switch from seeing a duck to a rabbit.

Mike May’s experience with regaining his vision shows how this works.

Even though he regained his visual abilities after surgery, he was overwhelmed and didn’t recognize his own children.

His brain had grown accustomed to relying on other senses since it had been deprived of activity in the visual cortex when he lost his sight as a child and it struggled to process all the new information.

Synesthesia further demonstrates how our perception can be completely subjective; it involves the mixing up of sensory experiences such as tasting words written on a page or hearing music in color.

This happens because certain parts of the brain that would usually respond when viewing something visually also react when perceiving other information through hearing or touch.

In conclusion, what we see isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of the “real” world; instead, our sense of reality reflects our brains’ interpretation of sensory data and can simply be an impression or hallucination created by them.

The Subconscious Mind Has More Control Over Our Actions Than We Realize

The majority of the decisions we make each day are done subconsciously, without conscious thought or deliberation.

That’s because our brains have been hardwired to respond instinctively in certain situations.

This is evidenced by a study conducted by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller that compared how much money female dancers at strip clubs earned at various points in their menstrual cycle.

He found that when the women were ovulating and thus more fertile, they received double the tips than when they weren’t ovulating.

Clearly, something other than conscious choice was influencing people’s behavior in this case!

It doesn’t stop there though; numerous studies show that even seemingly simple decisions such as thinking of someone’s behavior as immoral or describing relationships warmly can be strongly influenced by subconscious external stimuli such as smells, temperature and environment.

This phenomenon is called priming – when sensory data affects our perceptions without us being aware of it.

It makes sense then to conclude that most of the decisions we make are formed unconsciously, which means we should trust our instincts more to understand ourselves better and make the right choices for ourselves and others.

The Brain And Body’S Interrelation When Making Decisions: The Ulysses Contract As A Tool To Stave Off Temptations

Decision-making is shaped by all sorts of external and internal factors.

For example, the brain’s preference for short-term rewards can lead to impulsivity and illogical choices.

Our desires also play a key role in decision-making.

Sensory and emotional feedback trigger different brain areas until we make a choice, creating a feedback loop when we’re satisfied with our decisions – our brains release dopamine as a reward, which will inform future decision-making processes.

The case of Tammy Myers serves to illustrate the close relationship between the brain and body during decision-making – after an accident that damaged the part of her brain responsible for reporting physical and emotional states, she was rendered unable to weigh up options/make decisions as effectively.

To avoid succumbing to temptation in favour of making better long-term decisions, it may be wise to bind yourself to agreements or contracts (a “Ulysses Contract”).

Much like the famous sailor of Greek legend, who had his crew tie him to the ship’s mast while they travelled past an island full of Sirens – implementing small commitments could potentially help you stick with your chosen direction in spite if momentary impulses.

How Media And Empathy Shapes Our Perception Of Others

Humans are social animals, and our brains reflect that.

Our brains are constantly trying to assess who belongs to our group, and how to relate to them and build social relationships.

This is done through empathy, that is the ability to understand or feel what another person is feeling or thinking.

We can express this through mirroring – mimicking the facial expressions of others around us.

Over time, this can actually shape not only our perceptions but also even the wrinkles in their faces!

To further prove this point, an experiment was conducted where participants were split into two groups- those who had cosmetic injectable Botox injections and those who hadn’t.

While being monitored through a device measuring facial muscular movement, they each looked at images displaying different facial expressions.

The results showed that those with Botox were less facially mobile themselves and not as good at interpreting other people’s emotions as the non-Botox group was!

Socialization is one of the primary functions of the brain which enhances the chance of group survival.

Research conducted in University of Leiden showcased an example of this concept when participants were exposed to images of homeless people; their brain registered much lesser activity compared to when they were interacting with people who weren’t homeless- essentially viewing them as objects instead.

Sadly, media channels wrongfully influence opinions by broadcasting fabricated stories which obnoxiously dehumanizes peoples from outgroups thus diminishing any feeling of empathy resonating towards it’s members.

The Brain Remains Our Most Precious Resource In The Age Of Transhumanism

There’s no doubt that technology has made tremendous strides in recent years.

In fact, we now know that the brain can be adapted to non-biological signals, showcased through the use of cochlear implants.

These are electronic devices used to help those with hearing loss, as it helps teaches their brains how to “hear” a signal.

However, despite how far we have come forward technologically, there is still one thing even the most advanced technology can’t do – replicate the human brain.

Sure, in some areas technology may actually surpass humans such as task completion, but it doesn’t get to experience actual consciousness or awareness of self like humans do.

To put it into perspective, when you ask Google a question it can search for an answer using algorithms which are based on words and terms you input – lightyears away from actual awareness.

It goes without saying then that no matter how sophisticated our technological advancements may become over time, they will never fully be able to replace and rival the power of the human brain.

Therein lies the importance of why we should continue to explore and strengthen our own cognitive faculties before depending too much on machines and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Technology can certainly support us by completing tasks faster or giving us feedback quickly; but at the end of day its purpose should be a complementing factor and not a replacement one.

Wrap Up

The Brain Book by Roberta Scott is a comprehensive and thoughtful work on the human brain.

Through her exploration, Scott conveys the key message that everything you’ve experienced in your life shapes who you are and how you perceive the world.

She further illustrates that our brains are malleable–we can restructure them, along with our personalities, depending on how we experience the world in the present moment.

Moreover, she delves into how technological advances have affected this concept and opened up opportunities for a ‘transhuman age’.

Or as she puts it, “Restructuring of cognition will become so common that human beings could literally become transhumans”.

But there’s one thing even machines cannot replace—your brain!

So be sure to take care of it!

All in all, The Brain Book is an informative read on a fascinating and ever-evolving subject.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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