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Books & Authors

Metathought: Neuropsychological Perspectives on Thoughts and Thinking

Over the last twenty years, neuroscience has blossomed, thanks to breakthroughs in imaging and neurochemistry, and research has started to reveal answers to questions about how and why humans think the way we do. The following list of books is a sampling of the many titles available at the Library about understanding thinking and how the new knowledge might be used to explain human cognition and potentially transform human behaviors.


“The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli (2013).
An exploration of human reasoning reveals how to recognize and avoid simple errors in our day-to-day thinking in order to transform the decision-making process. 



“Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do” by John A. Bargh (2017). 
Bargh takes us on an entertaining and enlightening tour of the forces that affect everyday behavior while transforming our understanding of ourselves. He takes readers into his labs at New York University and Yale and reveals what science now knows about the pervasive influence of the unconscious mind. From who we vote for, what we buy, to how we perform on tests and in job interviews, hidden mental processes secretly govern every aspect of our behavior. Bargh also provides tricks to help you remember to-do items, shop smarter, and sleep better.

“Believing: The Neuroscience of Fears, Fantasies, and Convictions” by Michael McGuire (2013).
Beliefs: What are they? How have evolution and culture led to a brain that is seemingly committed to near endless belief creation? And once established, why are most beliefs so difficult to change? Believing offers answers to these questions from the perspective of a leading neuroscientist and expert in brain-behavior research.



“Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err is Human” by Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan (2009).
A study of human error through exploration of neurochemistry, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology.



“The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind” by Michael S. Gazzaniga
How do neurons turn into minds? How does physical “stuff”?atoms, molecules, chemicals, and cells?create the vivid and various worlds inside our heads? The problem of consciousness has gnawed at us for millennia. In the last century there have been massive breakthroughs that have rewritten the science of the brain, and yet the puzzles faced by the ancient Greeks are still present. In The Consciousness Instinct, the neuroscience pioneer Michael S. Gazzaniga puts the latest research in conversation with the history of human thinking about the mind, giving a big-picture view of what science has revealed about consciousness.



“How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barrett (2017). By revealing the latest research and practical applications, Barrett introduces a new theory of how the brain constructs emotions that could revolutionize psychology, health care, law enforcement, and our understanding of the human mind. 



“The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides” by Mariano Sigman (2017). 
A leading neuroscientist draws on physics, linguistics, psychology, education, and other disciplines to explain the inner workings of the human brain and explore the role of neuroscience in daily life.



“Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow (2012)

Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events. Over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the hidden, or subliminal, workings of the mind. The result of this explosion of research is a new science of the unconscious and a sea change in our understanding of how the subliminal mind affects the way we live.

“Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman (2011). Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, explores the way the human brain processes intuitively (fast thinking) and more deliberately and logically (slow thinking) and how using techniques for slowing thinking can assist in preventing mental glitches.




“Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains” by Helen Thomson (2018).  

Helen Thomson has spent years travelling the world, tracking down incredibly rare brain disorders. In “Unthinkable” she tells the stories of nine extraordinary people she encountered along the way. From the man who thinks he's a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them to a woman who hears music that’s not there, their experiences illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and, in some cases, brilliant and alarming ways.


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