Pieces of Mind: 21 short walks around the Human Brain
Michael C. Corballis
Why do we remember faces but not names? If your brain was cut in half would you suffer more than a splitting headache? Does your dog remember where it buried its bone? And do we really only use 10 per cent of our brains? In 21 short walks around the human mind, Michael C. Corballis answers these questions—and more.
The human mind is arguably the most complex organ in the universe. Modern computers might be faster, and whales might have larger brains, but neither can match the sheer intellect or capacity for creativity that we humans enjoy. In this book Michael Corballis introduces us to what we’ve learned about the intricacies of the human brain over the last fifty years.
Leading us through behavioural experiments and neuroscience, cognitive theory and Darwinian evolution with his trademark wit and wisdom, Corballis punctures a few hot-air balloons (‘You only use 10 per cent of your brain!’ ‘Unleash the creativity of your right brain!’) and explains just what we know—and don’t know—about our own minds. From language to standing upright, composing music to bullshitting, he covers some of the fascinating activities and capabilities that go towards making us human.
At one time or another, we’ve all wished that we could get inside someone else’s head. Here’s how.
More about Michael C. Corballis
Read an extract here
In person, Corballis is donnish, terrific company, slightly retiring. On paper, he can have the bite of a Psych 1 lab rat. - Diana Wichtel, NZ Listener
Pieces of Mind is lovely – an attractively designed collection of bite-sized meditations, many of which began life as a column in New Zealand Geographic. Here you’ll learn enough to make you want to find out more about why Italians gesticulate, how we are the only species brainy enough to care about our brain size, and the theoretical minefield that is the evolution of language. - Diana Wichtel, NZ Listener
Corballis refreshingly does not have the authoritative tone of some scientists who interpret their science for a wide audience, and like to give the impression that they are telling you The Truth. Rather, there’s a real sense of curiosity that comes through in his writing – he’s as curious, and often as bemused, about the subject as his readers. He writes with flair and an easy style, with frequent humour and occasional gravitas. As well as telling us about the work of some of the world’s top neuroscientists and psychologists he references pop culture and a range of scientists and philosophers, from Jean M Auel to Vladimir Nabokov, Monica Lewinsky to Richard Feynman. - Rebecca Priestley, New Zealand Books