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The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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"Sigman provides vivid depictions of foundational behavioral psychology experiments...The book's exhaustive survey of experiments is, overall, enlightening, and Sigman's clear passion for neuroscience makes it easy to browse."―Science Magazine
"Every year 20,000 papers are presented at the annual meeting of the society for neuroscience yet we don't have tentative answers to even 'simple' questions, such as why we sing, laugh, dance, or cry -- let alone the lofty question of how a pack of neurons gives rise to consciousness and sense of self. Amidst the din and chaos of empirical data that threatens to deluge us, it is refreshing to see a 'big picture' book that attempts to tackle such issues. In attempting this the author takes us on grand tour covering an extraordinarily diverse range of topics that are of interest to the common people and specialists alike."―V. S. Ramachandran, author of The Tell-Tale Brain
"Sigman is one of the many professors to become popularizers of their own fields... His book is peppered with brief stories and artistic allusions, and it moves quickly from idea to idea, study to study."―New York Times Book Review
"If, as the poetess Emily Dickinson wrote, 'the brain is deeper than the sea,' then Mariano Sigman's book is the perfect travel guide to those uncharted abysses. Concise, pithy, sprinkled with illuminating metaphors, this book takes you on a most entertaining journey into the subtleties and oddities of the human mind. This trip into ourselves is rewarded with many insights into such ill-known concepts as inner unconscious battles, lucid dreams, bilingual brains and mind-reading infants. The company of brilliant minds, including Chomsky, Turing, Rousseau, Molière, Plato, Sagan, and Freud, and their revisiting in the smart light of Mariano Sigman's clever experiments, make this book enormously enjoyable, from beginning to end -- a riveting scientific page-turner."―Stanislas Dehaene, author of Consciousness and the Brain and Reading in the Brain
"Mariano Sigman writes and thinks in a uniquely provocative way. He is a gifted cognitive neuroscientist, and we are lucky to have him excavating the secret life of the mind. You will not be able to resist his analogies, which are always deeply informative and often amusing. He makes learning about the mind and brain easy and almost automatic. He is the Richard Feynman of the brain."
―Andrew Meltzoff, Professor of Psychology, the University of Washington, and co-author of The Scientist in the Crib
About the Author
Mariano Sigman, PhD, a physicist by training, is a leading international figure in the cognitive neuroscience of learning and decision-making. His awards include a Human Frontiers Career Development Award, the National Prize of Physics, the Pius XI medal from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Young Investigator Prize of "College de France," and the IBM Scalable Data Analytics Award.
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In the end, the exposition benefits from the non-linear narrative, which allows the book to discover relationships between some concepts that as are relatively well known and many that don’t belong in more textbook-like readings. All of this comes seasoned with connections to philosophy, History or even chess or cooking, which I felt binds the contents and makes the book entertaining. Because of its peculiar nature, the stories here have something to offer to readers approaching brain science for the first time but also to those who think they have heard it all. Highly recommend!