How the Mind Works

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 22, 2009 - Medical - 661 pages
21 Reviews
In this book the author, a cognitive scientist explains how the brain evolved to store and use information, allowing our ancestors to control their environment, and why we think and act as we do. He explains what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and ponder the mysteries of life. This work explains many of the imponderables of everyday life. Why does a face look more attractive with makeup? How do "Magic-Eye" 3-D stereograms work? Why do we feel that a run of heads makes the coin more likely to land tails? Why is the thought of eating worms disgusting? Why do men challenge each other to duels and murder their ex-wives? Why are children bratty? Why do fools fall in love? Why are we soothed by paintings and music? And why do puzzles like the self, free will, and consciousness leave us dizzy? The arguments in the book are as bold as its title. The author rehabilitates unfashionable ideas, such as that the mind is a computer and that human nature was shaped by natural selection. And he challenges fashionable ones, such as that passionate emotions are irrational, that parents socialize their children, that creativity springs from the unconscious, that nature is good and modern society corrupting, and that art and religion are expressions of our higher spiritual yearnings.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SpaceyAcey - LibraryThing

Pinker explains the computational theory of the mind in easy to understand prose for the layman. It's not all literature summarizing, he also inserts some of his own ideas on all sorts of topics ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - raschneid - LibraryThing

Very interesting, well-written, and comprehensive. I appreciated the overview of both computational and evolutionary psychology in one tome of a book; computational psychology is pretty much awesome ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition; writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The Atlantic; and is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

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