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NeuroLogic



The Brain's Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior

Erscheinungsjahr 2015, 320 Seiten, Gebunden, Format (B × H): 170 mm x 236 mm, Gewicht: 595 g
ISBN: 978-0-307-90877-3
Verlag: Penguin Random House


NeuroLogic

A groundbreaking investigation of the brain's hidden logic behind our strangest behaviors, and of how conscious and unconscious systems interact in order to create our experience and preserve our sense of self.

From bizarre dreams and hallucinations to schizophrenia and multiple personalities, the human brain is responsible for a diverse spectrum of strange thoughts and behaviors. When observed from the outside, these phenomena are often written off as being just "crazy," but what if they were actually planned and logical?

NeuroLogic explores the brain's internal system of reasoning, from its unconscious depths to conscious decision making, and illuminates how it explains our most outlandish as well as our most stereotyped behaviors. From sleepwalking murderers, contagious yawning, and the brains of sports fans to false memories, subliminal messages, and the secret of ticklishness, Dr. Eliezer Sternberg shows that there are patterns to the way the brain interprets the world--patterns that fit the brain's unique logic. Unraveling these patterns and the various ways they can be disturbed will not only alter our view of mental illness and supernatural experience, but will also shed light on the hidden parts of ourselves.

(With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)

Autoren/Hrsg.


Weitere Infos & Material


CONTENTS

Introduction: Our Unconscious Logic xi

1. WHAT DO THE BLIND SEE WHEN THEY DREAM? 3
On Perception, Dreams, and the Creation of the External World
Filling in the Gaps . . . The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of . . . Down the Rabbit Hole . . . A Vision for the Sightless . . . Luke Skywalker Lives in Your Temporal Lobe . . . A Corridor of Sound . . . The Dream Machine

2. CAN ZOMBIES DRIVE TO WORK? 38
On Habit, Self-Control, and the Possibility of Human Automatism
Zombies Among Us . . . Vision Without Seeing . . . Mice in a Plus-Maze . . . Focusing by Being Unfocused . . . How to Identify a Fake Smile . . . Why We Forget to Pick Up a Gallon of Milk . . . Why Do We Eat When We're Not Hungry? . . . Executive Dysfunction . . . Murder on Autopilot . . . Two Systems for Multitasking

3. CAN YOUR IMAGINATION MAKE YOU A BETTER ATHLETE? 71
On Motor Control, Learning, and the Power of Mental Simulation
The Internal Simulator . . . Flexing Mental Muscle . . . PETTLEP . . . Insights from Stroke . . . How Do You Scratch a Phantom Itch? . . . Neuronal Mirrors . . . Why Is Yawning Contagious? . . . Empathy, Pornography, and the Autism Spectrum . . . Gut Feelings

4. CAN WE REMEMBER THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPENED? 99
On Memory, Emotion, and the Egocentric Brain
A Web of Snapshots . . . The Brains of Rival Sports Fans . . . Why Do We Remember Where We Were on 9/11? . . . Brains in Midtown and Downtown . . . Ignorance Is Bliss . . . "It's Not a Lie If You Believe It" . . . Fairy Tales in the Confabulating Brain

5. WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE IN ALIEN ABDUCTIONS? 127
On Paranormal Experience, Narrative, and the Development of Strange Beliefs
"I Was Abducted by Aliens!" . . . Sleep Paralysis . . . Afraid of Your Shadow? . . . Conversations with God . . . The Walking Dead . . . Cheating on Your Wife-with Your Wife? . . . Visions from the Brink . . . Fighter Pilots and Heart Attack Victims . . . Hostage Hallucinations . . . Attack of the "Old Hag"

6. WHY DO SCHIZOPHRENICS HEAR VOICES? 149
On Language, Hallucinations, and the Self/Nonself Distinction
Whispers from the Microphone . . . "He Can't Speak If I Interrupt Him" . . . "Someone Else Is Speaking Whenever I Speak" . . . How Are People Similar to Electric Fish? . . . System Failure . . . Can the Deaf Hear Voices in Their Heads? . . . A Disorder of Self-Monitoring . . . Why Can't You Tickle Yourself? . . . Déjà Vu

7. CAN SOMEONE BE HYPNOTIZED TO COMMIT MURDER? 178
On Attention, Influence, and the Power of Subconscious Suggestion
You Are Getting Very Sleepy . . . The Cocktail Party Effect . . . Overcoming the Stroop Effect . . . Eat Popcorn, Drink Coca-Cola . . . Invisible Faces . . . Brand Names in the Brain . . . When the Brain Makes Excuses . . . "The Knife Went In" . . . One Brain, Two Systems

8. WHY CAN'T SPLIT PERSONALITIES SHARE PRESCRIPTION GLASSES? 210
On Personality, Trauma, and the Defense of the Self
Finding One Self . . . A Brain Divided . . . See No Evil . . . The Fragmentation of the Mind . . . The Hypnotist Within . . . An Eye for an I . . . NeuroLogic

Appendix: Maps of the Brain 241
Acknowledgments 247
Notes 249
Bibliography 263
Index 287


Sternberg, Eliezer
ELIEZER J. STERNBERG, M.D., is a resident neurologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital. With a background in neuroscience and philosophy, he studies how brain research can shed light on the mysteries of conscious-ness and decision making. He is the author of Are You a Machine? and My Brain Made Me Do It.


Introduction
Our Unconscious Logic

Walter had been acting strangely. When friends or family visited, he ignored them unless they spoke directly to him. Until they uttered a sound, it was as if they weren't even there. While walking around his living room, Walter stepped right into his coffee table, then into the wall. He missed widely when reaching for a cup of coffee and knocked over a vase instead. At age fifty-five, Walter was having problems with his vision, yet, inexplicably, he said there was nothing wrong with his eyesight. But why, Walter's family wondered, would he deny it? Why wouldn't he seek out help? Confused, they pressed him to go see a neurologist. Walter reluctantly agreed. When he arrived, Walter had the following exchange with his doctor:

NEUROLOGIST: How are you?
WALTER: Fine.
NEUROLOGIST: Anything wrong with you?
WALTER: No. Everything's perfect.
NEUROLOGIST: Anything wrong with your vision?
WALTER: No. Works fine.
NEUROLOGIST (showing a pen): Then can you tell me what this is?
WALTER: Doc, it's so dark here; nobody can see anything.

With daylight streaming in through the window, the room was plenty bright. Nevertheless, the doctor humored him.

NEUROLOGIST: I put the light on. Can you now see what I have here?
WALTER: Look, I don't want to play games with you.
NEUROLOGIST: Fair enough. But can you describe how I look?
WALTER: Sure. You are a small, fat chap.

The doctor, who was actually tall and thin, understood that Walter wasn't simply denying that he was blind. He actually didn't realize it. Was he delirious? Was it early Alzheimer's? Perhaps he needed to speak with a psychiatrist.

The neurologist could infer that there was a connection between Walter's loss of sight and his delusion that everything was fine. Behavioral tests, however, would not be able to identify that connection. He would have to peer inside Walter's brain. A CT scan of his head revealed that Walter had suffered a massive stroke, causing damage to both sides of his occipital lobe, which processes vision. That explained the blindness. But the CT showed something else: damage to the left parietal lobe. Among its many functions, the parietal lobe helps interpret sensory signals, especially visual ones. It compiles the basic visual information sent from the occipital lobe and integrates it to help construct a streamlined picture of the world. The parietal lobe is involved in monitoring how the visual system is working. But what if that monitoring function were impaired?

Walter was diagnosed with Anton's syndrome, a rare disorder in which blind people don't realize they are blind. Patients with Anton's syndrome tend to make excuses for their perceptual mistakes, such as "I'm not wearing my glasses" or "There's a lot of glare from the sun." As one theory goes, this happens because there is a disconnect between the visual system and the brain regions that monitor it. As a result, the brain never gets the message that there's a problem with vision. That's why Walter didn't realize he was blind.

But this story goes deeper still. Not only did Walter fail to admit his blindness, but he came up with an alternative explanation for his symptoms ("It's so dark here"). Walter's brain was faced with a confusing situation. On the one hand, the brain was having trouble perceiving the world. On the other hand, because of the stroke, the brain didn't know that the visual system had been destroyed. What could explain a loss of sight in a person with an intact visual system? It must be dark in here. Faced with contradicting pieces of information, the brain came up with a story to reconcile them. And it was a pretty good one. You might even say that given the circumstances it was perfectly logical.

Deep within our subconscious, there is a system that quietly processes everything we see, hear, feel, and remember. Our brains are


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