In the last year, I've had the occasion to review several books that deal with the unconscious mind. Each author has had an interesting take on the same material, and it's been illuminating to see how writers with different areas of expertise handle the unconscious mind and render the research readable for a popular audience.
Leonard Mlodinow is a name many science readers will recognize as belonging with physics, not psychology and neuroscience. His handling of this topic, which has been handled by Eagleman, McRae, Shermer, and others in the last couple years, is skillful and entertaining.
Mlodinow's turn of phrase is masterful and he covers the latest research in neuroscience and how much of our actions are controlled not by our conscious mind, but by our unconscious. He notes that "our brains are made up of a collection of many modules that work in parallel, with complex interactions, most of which operate outside of our consciousness. As a consequence, the real reasons behind our judgments, feelings, and behavior can surprise us."
Subliminal is full of surprises for the average reader and offers gems that would change the world if only enough people believed the information to be true: "We believe that when we choose a laptop or a laundry detergent, plan a vacation, pic,k a stock, take a job, assess a sports star, make a friend, judge a stranger, and even fall in love, we understand the principal factors that influenced us. Very often nothing could be further from the truth. As a result, many of our basic assumptions about ourselves, and society, are false." Mlodinow takes readers through the research carefully and masterfully and leaves readers changed by the experience (well, we can hope).
Mlodinow writes that "We choose the facts that we want to believe." While we instinctively insist this is true of others, we are usually resolute that we are free from this kind of error. If we want to really revolutionize our relationships, and as a consequence, society, we're going to have to disseminate the latest in neuroscience to the masses, and then somehow find a way to accept that we are vulnerable to the same quirks and foibles as everyone else--maybe we'll learn to let the past go, accept that people do things for no conscious reason, and even better, as parents, we'll finally get how utterly pointless it is to ask our children why they did something.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Why An Extra Planet Can't Be Hidden Behind The Sun Or Above The South Pole
- Why Has Organic Farming Flatlined?
- Apollo Astronauts And Cardiovascular-Related Deaths
- Mind The (Risk Perception) Gap On BPA
- Why Do Consumers Participate In 'green' Programs?
- Street Norco Looks Like The Real Thing But Really, Really Isn't
- My Applied National Security Paper. Being President Isn't For Idiots.
- "Zoran:I didn't say I can't see any bearing. Instead, I unequivocally said Nothing you have written..."
- "Sorry for perhaps being not clear again: I always revise stuff if I find out that I have written..."
- "Essentially you are saying Mark these Nobel Laureates are wrong and you are right. This is commendable..."
- "So what was the precipitating event which caused your re-evaluation?..."
- "I try this one... I am a bit rusty, so my solution can be dramatically wrong. Given that B is uniform..."
- Happy World Hepatitis Day!
- Ovarian Cancer: Are We Choosing Wisely?
- New York Is Second In Health Care Premiums, Last In Hospital Quality
- USPSTF Advisory on Skin Cancer Screening Provokes Concerns from Docs
- Cancer As Modern Lifestyle Disease? Only If There Was Processed Food 2 Million Years Ago
- Was Dr. Oz Selling An Endocrine Disruptor?
- New research adds evidence on potential treatments targeting amyloid beta in Alzheimer's
- In France, hiring biases slightly favor women in male-dominated STEM fields
- Tomatoes resist a parasitic vine by detecting its peptide
- Twisted optics: Seeing light from a new angle
- No dream: Electric brain stimulation during sleep can boost memory