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Paperback Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain Book

ISBN: 0596007795

ISBN13: 9780596007799

Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

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Book Overview

The brain is a fearsomely complex information-processing environment--one that often eludes our ability to understand it. At any given time, the brain is collecting, filtering, and analyzing information and, in response, performing countless intricate processes, some of which are automatic, some voluntary, some conscious, and some unconscious. Cognitive neuroscience is one of the ways we have to understand the workings of our minds. It's the study...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Mind hacks

This is a really great book. More novelty than improvement, but still great. If you're looking for something that will be useful as well as attention grabbing then look for the second edition; "Mind Performance Hacks"

Gets you thinking about how you think

Most of the books in the "Hack" series are about clever ways to program a certain piece of software or use a particular computer-related tool. This book is far different from the others in the series since it consists of 100 hacks that show how the brain works on a subconscious level. Each of the hacks is grouped into ten chapters each of which concentrates on a different aspect of brain activity such as seeing, integration, hearing and language, etc. You can move about this book freely and use the hacks in any order. Only the first chapter has background information that might best be read first. Every hack consists of an introductory section, an "In Action" section that describes the cognitive experience, and a "How It Works" section that theorizes what is happening in the brain. Finally there are "End Notes" and a "See Also" section that acts as that particular hack's bibliography. All of this only requires a few pages per hack, since you are only scratching the surface. You will need to have easy access to a computer while reading this book, since most hacks direct you to a website to watch a movie, a Flash animation, or observe a series of images. Although anyone should enjoy this book on cognitive science, it might be of particular value to those involved in writing computer games, artificial intelligence professionals, or even artists and musicians that might want to learn more about how the brain perceives visual and audio input. Readers who enjoy this book might also like "Mind Wide Open" by Steven Johnson, which is another accessible volume on cognitive neuroscience.

People like me have been waiting for this book...

This is the book for people like me: over-educated, under-employed, quasi-philosophers with the distracting habit of wondering about wondering. Why do I think they way I do? What the heck is going on biologically in my noodle when I remember "Misery" by Stephen King any time I hear a Dee-Lite song, and vice versa? Mind Hacks is the book to answer this question and more things I'd never even thought about. If you happened to catch the Secrets of the Mind NOVA special with V.S. Ramachandran you'll know what this book is about. The little secrets and tricks your brain uses to interpret (and IGNORE!) the copious amounts of sensory information bombarding it at all times. Did you know your vision center turns off every time you move your eyes--that's why you don't see a disconcerting blur all the time (think of when a camera moves during a video presentation)? Did you know that seeing someone's mouth effects what you hear them say? Your brain and mind have a lot of work to do and they take a bunch of shortcuts to pull the whole thing off. This book teaches you in brief "hacks" (1-4 page discrete chapters) how all this is done. Anyone interested or intrigued about how they know what they know (meta-knowledge?) would love this book.

Mind Games for Fun

Explore the mysteries of consciousness with Tom Stafford and Matt Webb in their new book "Mind Hacks." Their exercises for your brain are labeled "recreational neuroscience." They describe 100 different short stories on how your brain works in tandem with your senses and their limitations. Each chapter has insightful exercises that help you understand how your brain ticks and communicates with your senses. It helped me understand how my senses work and interact with critical and creative thinking. Several chapters discuss sensor performance, depth perception, and blind spots. Some are obvious but forgotten in everyday use. Some are new thoughts on the use and capability of your senses. Some debunk myths of brain limitations. Some show you how to improve your mood and happiness of others. But I especially love the chapter that says I should play more Halo (chapter 43). I've heard of or experienced some of these scientific effects, but didn't always know the science behind them. This book points out the mechanics of your sensory perceptions interacting with different parts of your brain. It provides interesting websites and references for following up and reading more on each topic. Overall, Mind Hacks has nice short chapters for easy reading and provides fascinating new ways to look at your brain and senses.

Lots of Food(Hacks) for Thought!

I'm only 2/3 of the way through the book but thought it would be worth posting a review before completing it for one reason. The reason is that all the many links found in the book do not need to be entered in by hand. The authors recently put the complete list of links on their web page. This makes it a lot more enticing to go off and explore illusions and support information. I liked the idea of the book, and when I started reading it, it seemed somewhat unengaging. Somewhere after the first 10 hacks or so that changed. I guess I started developing a feel for what it was all about. It's sort of textbook-ish, but nevertheless very interesting. Sort of like a lab manual and you are the lab. I think other reviewers have given a pretty fair idea of what it's about, so I'll only make a few comments. I think it's worthwhile reading their comments sprinkled among the references. There's some very good info there and suggestions about further reading. A real show stopper item is how we use the external world as a database to help us see. That's a real twist. See the J. Kevin O'Regan web article, Hack #40. That reminds me. Some of the illusions on the web, particularly those on change blindness, are a little tricky. A good illustration is in this article. There's a section (single line actually) called "slow motion". You probably won't notice what happens in the animation until it stops, and you try to restart. Suddenly it jumps out at you. My point is that sometimes you have to fidget awhile with the computer. This is not a fault of the book. Another show stopper (to me at least) is the experiment discussed in the chapter on integration, Hack #61. It appears that language is necessary to integrate information from our senses. In this case, geometry and color. As of this writing, it's unfortunate the publisher hasn't yet put some of the book online. There are a few items I would like to search for that I did not highlight and cannot find in the index. The index is, however, quite good. Another good current read on the mind is "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. P.S. I'm looking for the story about the pilots.
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