the brain | June 02, 2011

David Eagleman's Mind-bending New Book, Incognito

We might like to think our brains are fundamentally created equal, but David Eagleman, all-star neuroscientist and Lavin speaker, disagrees. “Many of us like to believe that all adults possess the same capacity to make sound choices,” he argues in his amazingly-received new book, Incognito. “It's a nice idea, but it's wrong.” This concept—one of many he tackles—is highlighted by a recent review in The New York Observer. This notion that our brains are, in fact, not created equal is novel to a general audience—but it’s absolutely ground-shaking for the legal sector, where sentences are not adapted on a scale of mental competency. Instead, sentences are doled out evenly, with flexibility limited to youth and those with mental disorders. The book itself remains flexible, not dwelling on one idea and deftly moving through many more mind-benders.

The Observer says Eagleman “aims, grandly, to do for the study of the mind what Copernicus did for the study of the stars.” And he doesn't stop at brain equality. He also goes after consciousness, too. He turns common perception on its head, saying consciousness isn't that important. Like Eagleman's illuminating and powerful talks, the book also has plenty of awe-inspiring brain-based bits that will dazzle anyone with an inkling of interest in how our minds work. As The Observer puts it, “the learned specialist is also a popularizer of impressive gusto.”

Read more about neuroscientist David Eagleman

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