The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides

Little, Brown. Jun. 2017. 256p. tr. from Spanish by the author. illus. notes. ISBN 9780316549622. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316549615. PSYCH
OrangeReviewStarPhysicist and neuroscientist Sigman (founder, Integrative Neuroscience Laboratory, Univ. of Buenos Aires, Argentina) here builds on his popular TED Talk "Your Words May Predict Your Future Mental Health." His goal is to help readers understand themselves more deeply. Ideas, dreams, emotions from childhood, consciousness, and learning are major themes in this guide to self-knowledge. The human brain has changed little in 60,000 years. At six months infants theorize and form abstract concepts, making discoveries through play and logic, similar to scientific method. They can infer intentions, desires, kindness and wrongdoing. Two year olds comprehend ownership, and with this text, adults can appreciate their thinking and judgment. Currently, most children engage with more than one language—a mental boon for attention, cognitive development, and social inclusion. Sigman's text alludes to ideas from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile and celebrates the work of cognitive psychologist Jacques Mehler.
VERDICT Accessible, enjoyable, and enriching, this work is a boon to lay readers, students, and scientists.
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