Does listening to classical music make you smarter? Why can't we tickle ourselves? What is jetlag, and how do we get over it? Why does bright sunlight cause some people to sneeze?
These are just a few of the questions addressed by neuroscientists Dr.Sandra Aamodt and Dr. Sam Wang as they take us on a remarkably easy-to-understand tour of the world's most-studied, least understood organ in Welcome to Your Brain. The brain is involved in an incredibly diverse range of functions and processes, from sensory perception to complex decision-making to the formation of memories, and the topics in this book are equally wide-ranging. One part discusses the brain's role in emotional states and personality, another investigates the brain in altered states there is even a chapter devoted to the often misleading portrayal of the brain in popular film. Throughout, the authors provide plenty of fun, "cocktail party-ready" stories and myth-busting facts (we don't, in fact, use only 10 percent of our brains). In addition, there are a number of "practical tips" for using what we know about the brain to live longer, learn better, and feel happier. In a chapter on aging, for example, the authors share what the field of neuroscience can tell us about lowering our risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's.
Narrator Suzanne Toren injects tremendous warmth and enthusiasm into her reading of Welcome to Your Brain, while maintaining an appropriately matter-of-fact tone. Toren's voice is rich, clear, and elastic she delivers the authors' frequent puns and brainy jokes with light-hearted good humor, and shifts easily to a more somber tone while relating serious anecdotes or passing on important advice.
While the audiobook is missing the drawings and other visual aids found in the book's physical volume, its intellectual accessibility and the strong narration make for an entertaining, easy, and informative listen. Emily Elert
In this lively audiobook, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang dispel common myths about the brain and provide a comprehensive, useful overview of how it really works. In its pages, you'll discover how to cope with jet lag, how your brain affects your religion, and how men's and women's brains differ. With witty, accessible prose, this audiobook is great for quick reference or extended listening.
Both practical and fun, this book is perfect whether you want to impress your friends or simply use your brain better.
©2008 Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
This book may not be for some, it is very factual and probably needs a listener to be eager to learn about the brain. This was a fantastic book in my opinion. VERY informative, and touched on alot of mental illnesses as well as how every part of the brain works.
As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.
For the person who is interested in learning more about what's going on "up there," this is a great book. It includes the right amount of physiological facts and easy-to-understand examples of research to keep it from being too scholarly (translation: over-the-head and boring) for the average person. I find myself referring to information I learned from this book in everyday conversations.
I listened to this book during sporadic trips to the gym. It was easy to follow, occasionally humorous, and very informative.
This is the type of book to listen to in short spurts. The little points, of interest, can be picked up at any point and reviewed learned and shared.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
This book highlights some of the pros and cons of audiobooks. I can almost guarantee I could not have made it through this whole book in paper form, so it is a plus to have the excellent audio version. However, it did teach me a bunch of fancy words that I now cannot spell, and that is a wee bit annoying. Since I couldn't skim this book, I did not see there was going to be a chapter on autism – a subject near and dear to my heart as a parent of an autistic child. If I had the book, I would have skimmed to that and been annoyed by it and threw the book in the trash, thus missing the interesting rest of the book. In addition to being very dismissive in that "I know better than you" way of possible vaccine influence and any suggestion that autism isn't just a brain disorder, the authors were jerky about autistic people. Apparently one of them actually has an autistic sister and basically what that experience enabled them to contribute was just that it was embarrassing to have friends over. What insight! It is one of those things, you enjoy someone's snide humor when you agree with them. I enjoyed a lot of their humor in this book, but on that subject they were not informative or funny. So having said that I can move on...
I really enjoyed an early section on movies where they explain which movie portrayals of brain injuries and diseases are the most and least accurate. They also told a lot of interesting stories about various experiments. Most of the experiments were done on animals of course. On the one hand they say a lot about animals and their intelligence and emotions and liken them often to people, so that you could almost think they valued animals. But it starts to dawn on a person after a while that these are very nasty experiments and a person would have to be devoid of empathy to really get into this. At some point, they say "it is of course unethical to damage a person's brain for the purpose of research" or something to that effect but what that implies is that it isn’t unethical go frying parts of animals brains just to see what happens. They also talked about what they knew about various parts of the brain based on "mistakes" made during operations. Seems that if you touch the brain in certain spots it causes certain reactions - and I just found it hard to believe that the discoveries were really "accidents" - it seemed much more likely that the doctors couldn't resist the opportunity to do things they normally wouldn't be allowed to do. I suppose that it makes me a hypocrite that I would be okay with these things if they were trying to cure autism, but they really seem like they just are trying to satisfy their own curiosity.
I felt particularly bad for the two kinds of voles - prairie voles and some other kind - they were messing with. They were testing out pair bonding on them - since there are monogamous voles and promiscuous voles. They also were testing parent child bonding (can't remember if that was voles as well or something else). The whole thing just seemed mean.
You know - I am attempting to write a review that reflects my overall experience with the book and I seem to be failing. I found the book in large part to be interesting and entertaining. It had a lot of funny parts - I particularly liked the part about happiness. They were trying to measure happiness and found that if they asked moms what the most satisfying thing they did was and the moms said spending time with their kids but when they were polled at random times of interaction with the kids the results showed that interacting with your kids was about as satisfying as doing housework or answering email. That cracked me up - and also is in my opinion true but totally misses the point.
On certain occasions they at least admitted how iffy most of these experiments are like saying that a higher percentage of married people are happy - they at least admitted that that didn't tell you if being married made people happy or if happy people were more likely to get married. They had some interesting stuff about sensory perception also, But as you can see my enjoyment was somewhat diminished by their annoying (to me) ideas on autism and lack of empathy to animals.
Addicted to Audible since 2009
I really found this book interesting. Two thumbs up. Can't wait to tell all of my friends all of the interesting facts I've learned. Will definitely be recommending this book to others as well and will also listen to this again, just in case I missed anything.
Avid audiobook addict!
Annoying when the narrator says "Did you know?" every few minutes at the beginning of every new fact. Not great writing, but very informative.
This was basically a review of an intro psych class biological/neurological chapter with supplemental associated chapter information incorporated. I was waiting for something new and exciting from these neuroscientists but it wasn't there. If you know nothing about the brain it might be interesting, otherwise expect a review of what you already know. It seemed the sections on intelligence were more "politically correct" than scientifically correct thru the error of ommision so as not to offend. Often the scientific eveidence of what was left unsaid would be of more interest than what was actually presented in some of the chapters.
mostly nonfiction listener
Overview of the big topics, concepts and science of our brains. Useful as a companion to other books on the brain and behavior as a way of condensing and consolidating the range of materials. Well written but seldom insightful, grounded in research but not in any big ideas or new breakthroughs. Enjoyably short chapters and chunked materials, studies and descriptions familiar from other works. Nothing new or ground breaking, but a competent and pleasurable journey through the biology and behavioral research on our evolved brain.
if the whole book was more like the questions in the begining it would be interesting, it kinda gets boring. They should site more case studies. That said, I think the worst part of this audio book was the narrators voice. Not interesting or descriptive enough.
The sociopath next store is a great audio book about the brain of the sociopath and the case studies are chilling. Check that one out!
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