From the clearance book "to read" pile comes my latest, and just 25 pages in, it looks to be a winner.Brain Bugs How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano. The human brain is more beautiful and complex than anything we could ever build but it’s far from perfect. Our memory is unreliable; we can’t multiply large sums in our heads; advertising manipulates our judgment; we tend to distrust people who are different from us; supernatural beliefs are hard to shake and we prefer instant gratification to long-term gain.
Dean Buonomano illuminates the causes and consequences of these "bugs" in terms of the brain’s innermost workings and their evolutionary purposes. He then goes a step further, examining how our brains function—and malfunction—in the digital, predator-free, information-saturated, special effects-addled world that we have built for ourselves. Along the way, this lively, surprising tour of mental glitches and how they arise gives us the tools to hone our cognitive strengths while recognising our inherent weaknesses.
"Brain Bugs is not only well written and researched, it also does a terrific job of explaining why we inevitably get many things wrong, and why we're brilliant at some things but hopeless at others." -- BBC Focus
"...an absolute delight to read and truly fascinating." -- Popular Science Blog
"Excellent...[Buonomano] reveals the intricate limitations and blessings of the most complex device in the known universe." -- The Atlantic
The human brain may be the best piece of technology ever created, but it’s far from perfect. Drawing on colorful examples and surprising research, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano exposes the blind spots and weaknesses that beset our brains and lead us to make misguided personal, professional, and financial decisions. Whether explaining why we are susceptible to advertisements or demonstrating how false memories are formed, Brain Bugs not only explains the brain’s inherent flaws but also gives us the tools to counteract them.
“[An] intriguing take on behavioral economics, marketing and human foibles.” (Kirkus Reviews )
"Writing a book about the hardware and software flaws of the human brain is an ingenious idea, and Buonomano has fully delivered on its promise. To a degree that is difficult for most of us to imagine, much less understand, our successes and failures, joys and sufferings, are the product of protein interactions and electrical changes taking place inside our heads. Brain Bugs is a remarkably accessible and engaging introduction to the neuroscience of the human condition." -- Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Moral Landscape, and The End of Faith
"In Brain Bugs, Dean Buonomano has brilliantly pulled off what few psychological scientists can do. In elegant and clear writing, he masterfully conveys the astonishing capability of the human mind, along with its flaws and limitations." -- Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony
"He takes readers on a lively tour of systematic biases and errors in human thinking, citing examples that are staples of psychology courses and other popular books. What is new, however, is Buonomano’s focus on the mechanisms of memory, especially its "associative architecture," as the main causes of the brain’s bugs." -- Christopher Chabris, New York Times
"What makes the book all the more compelling is the lucidity with which Buonomano recognizes, amidst its weaknesses, the brain's insurmountable strengths, feats artificial intelligence is ages from reaching--most notably, its remarkable penchant for pattern-recognition and what Buonomano calls "the inherent and irrepressible ability of the brain to build connections and make associations." -- Maria Popova, The Atlantic
Dean Buonomano is a professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology, and a member of the Brain Research Institute, and the Integrative Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA.
His research focuses on the neural basis of learning, neural computations, and how the brain tells time. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
He has been interviewed about his research on timing and neural computation for Newsweek, Discover Magazine, Scientific American, Los Angeles Times, New Scientist, and The New Yorker.