SCIENCES

Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life

Pantheon. Jan. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781524747329. $26.95. SCI
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The movement of the body through space and its ability to adapt to changing circumstances requires intelligence. An infant who learns to feed themselves after trial and error or the ability to estimate how high to climb on a ladder in order to change a light bulb are but two examples of skills informed by physical intelligence. Neuroscientist Grafton’s (Chair, Neuroscience, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara). exploration of physical intelligence and its relation to brain function is structured around a solo hike he took in the Sierra Nevada. He explains what his brain does (e.g., sensing, adapting, and anticipating), as he navigates rough terrain, makes decisions about his route, repairs his camp stove, and deals with emotional and physical fatigue. Grafton writes with clarity and warmth, elucidating key points with descriptions of experiments and the work of many other scientists in a variety of fields.
VERDICT Grafton’s compelling exploration of the relationship between the body and the mind is recommended for anyone interested in the workings of the brain.

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