The Hidden Brain

The Hidden Brain

How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives

Book - 2010
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Most of us would agree that there is a clear-and even obvious-connection between the things we believe and the way we behave. But what if our actions are driven not by our conscious values and beliefs but by hidden motivations we're not even aware of? The Hidden Brain is Shankar Vedantam's shorthand for a host of brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen outside our conscious awareness but have a decisive effect on how we behave. The hidden brain has its finger on the scale when we make all our most complex and important decisions: It decides whom we fall in love with, whether we should convict someone of murder, and which way to run when someone yells "Fire!" It explains why we can become riveted by the story of a single puppy adrift on the ocean but are quickly bored by a story of genocide. The hidden brain can also be deliberately manipulated to convince people to vote against their own interests, or even become suicide terrorists. But the most disturbing thing is that it does all this without our knowing. Shankar Vedantam, author of The Washington Post's Department of Human Behavior column, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon and explores its consequences. Using original reporting that combines the latest scientific research with compulsively readable narratives that take readers from the American campaign trail to terrorist indoctrination camps, from the World Trade Center on 9/11 to, yes, a puppy adrift on the Pacific Ocean, Vedantam illuminates the dark recesses of our minds while making an original argument about how we can compensate for our blind spots-and what happens when we don't. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385525213
Branch Call Number: 154.2 V414h 2010
Characteristics: x, 270 p. ; 25 cm


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Nov 17, 2015

recommended in wingnut watch

Oct 07, 2015

I always enjoy hearing the author's pieces on NPR, and the book is more of the same great stuff. Vedantam has a new podcast called "Hidden Brain," too, that is very interesting.

Jun 18, 2015

An extremely interesting book, but it lacked experiments that the reader could do while reading, like a Malcom Gladwell book has. Overall, it was shocking to learn about what the unconscious mind could do. I defenitely recommend it, but not for a project where there is a time restriction.

boonerator Nov 13, 2012

Quite a good entry in the thinking/reacting brain books. There was research here I had not discovered and the writing style is very accessible,

Sep 26, 2011

This books uses colloquial anecdotes to illustrate how our irrational/subconscious mind co-operates as well as work against our rational/conscious mind. There were more anecdotes than I cared for, but it was still worth reading through to gain the gems of insight he offered.


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