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9781596912830

Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life

Wang, Sam; Aamodt, Sandra Author

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You: The Owner's Manual for the brain: an expert, comprehensive, and lively guide that makes sense of all the latest scientific findings about how your brain really works.

We are using our brains at practically every moment of our lives, and yet few of us have the first idea how they work. Much of what we think we know comes from folklore: that we only use 10 percent of our brain, or that drinking kills brain cells. These and other brain myths are wrong, as demonstrated by the work of neuroscientists who have spent decades studying this complex organ. However, most of what scientists have learned is not known to the world outside their laboratories.

In this readable, lively book, 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 decorated by charts, trivia, quizzes, and illustrations, this book is great for quick reference or extended reading.

Both practical and fun, Welcome to Your Brain is perfect whether you want to impress your friends or simply use your brain better.

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About the Author:

Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., is the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research. Before becoming an editor, she did her graduate work at the University of Rochester and was a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at Yale University. She lives in California with her husband, a professor of neuroscience.   Sam Wang, Ph.D., is an associate professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. Before becoming a professor, he studied at Caltech, Stanford, and Bell Labs. He has published over forty articles on the brain in leading scientific journals and has received numerous awards. He and his wife, a physician, live in Princeton, New Jersey, with their daughter.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Quiz: How well do you know your brain?

1.When are the last neurons born in your brain?
a) before birth
b) the age of six
c) between the ages of 18 and 23
d) in old age   2. Which of the following strategies is the best one for overcoming jet lag?
a) taking melatonin the night after you arrive at your destination
b) avoiding daylight for several days
c) getting sunlight in the afternoon at your destination
d) sleeping with the lights on   3. Your brain uses about as much energy as
a) a refrigerator light
b) a laptop computer
c) an idling car
d) a car moving down a freeway   4. Which of the following activities before a test might help you to perform better? (you may choose more than one)
a) having a drink
b) having a cigarette
c) eating a candy bar
d) telling yourself with great conviction that you are good at this kind of test   5. You are in a noisy room, attempting to talk to your friend on your cell phone. To have a clearer conversation you should
a) talk more loudly
b) cover one ear and listen through the other
c) cover your ear when you talk
d) cover the mouthpiece when you listen   6. Which of the following is the hardest thing your brain does?
a) doing long division
b) looking at a photograph
c) playing chess
d) sleeping   7. Memory starts to get worse in which decade of life?
a) 30s
b) 40s
c) 50s
d) 60s   8. Which activities kill neurons?
a) drinking three bottles of beer in an evening
b) smoking a joint
c) dropping acid
d) all of the above
e) none of the above   9. Which depiction of neurological damage is least realistic?
a) Guy Pearce's character Leonard in Memento
b) Drew Barrymore's character Lucy in 50 First Dates
c) Dora the Fish in Finding Nemo
d) John Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Answers: 1) d, 2) c, 3) a, 4) b and d, 5) d, 6) b, 7) a, 8) e, 9) b

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