Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 27, 2004 - Science - 288 pages
BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE.

Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works -- its chemicals, structures, and subroutines -- and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug.
In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I?
Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from.
Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid?
To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative -- a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
1
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

MIND WIDE OPEN: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

User Review  - Kirkus

An enthusiastic invitation to explore your mind from science writer Johnson (Emergence, 2001, etc.), who takes a lucid trip through the country's brain labs.With the help of brain-imaging techniques ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I am trying to translate it into chinese,after reading i understand brain science, i am trying to figure out a new communicatipn way beyond lauguage. my doctor said i could not cure myself, is it true

Contents

Kafkas Room
1
1 Mind Sight
19
2 The Sum of My Fears
47
3 Your Attention Please
71
4 Survival of the Ticklish
106
5 The Hormones Talking
135
6 Scan Thyself
158
Mind Wide Open
183
Notes
217
Bibliography
257
Acknowledgments
263
Index
265
About the Author
275
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 23 - He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
Page 30 - How many million times she had seen her face, and always with the same imperceptible contraction! She pursed her lips when she looked in the glass. It was to give her face point.
Page 30 - She pursed her lips when she looked in the glass. It was to give her face point. That was her self — pointed: dart-like; definite. That was her self when some effort, some call on her to be her self, drew the parts together, she alone knew how different, how incompatible and composed so for the world only into one centre, one diamond, one woman who sat in her drawing-room...

About the author (2004)

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Interface Culture, Emergence, and Everything Bad Is Good for You as well as a columnist for Discover and a contributing editor at Wired. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons, and can be reached via the Web at www.stevenberlinjohnson.com.

Bibliographic information