Sunday, May 20, 2012

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

A fascinating, fascinating book! David Eagleman's book, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, delves into how the brain really works. Did you know that if you see a bunch of photos and some are photoshopped to show larger pupils, that you are more likely to find those people more attractive?

If you are looking for the business and investing aspect to the book, Eagleman covers how Ulysses and the credit crunch have something in common. He talks about a study where people are offered a choice of $100 now or $110 a week from now. The study showed that most people would rather take the $100 now, in spite of the fact that by waiting one week, they are losing out on, in essence, a 14,104% return on an annualized basis. He also describes why strippers who are not on birth control pills make more money than those on the pill.

He discusses the mere exposure effect in terms of product branding, which shows that if you continue to see a product over and over, you will end up liking it more. Then of course, there is the illusion of truth effect which states that you are more likely to believe something if you have heard it before, whether or not it is true.

The neurological trivia he has come up with is incredible, and all of it comes from research that shows statistical significance. For example, did you know that you are more likely to marry someone with the first letter of their first name the same as yours? Do you want your child to grow up to be a lawyer? Name them Lawrence or Laura. Would you rather your baby become a dentist? Name them Dennis or Denise. It won't guarantee it, but it will increase their odds. Did you know that keeping a secret may be hazard to your health? Remember, all this is backed up by thorough extensive research.

One of the most interesting chapters in the book is about Mel Gibson. Is he an anti-Semite or not? Many people believe that when Gibson was drunk, he was showing his true colors. Many others believe that when you are drunk, you say all kinds of things, things that you don't believe in at all. So what do you think? The book's answer will surprise you (and I'm not going to tell you the answer; you have to read the book to find out).

If you want to expand your mind and have fun doing it, I strongly recommend that you read Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.

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