Mind Hacks: Tips and Tricks for Using Your Brain

Mind Hacks: Tips and Tricks for Using Your Brain

Paperback Hacks

By (author) Tom Stafford, By (author) Matt Webb

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  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc, USA
  • Format: Paperback | 394 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 24mm | 540g
  • Publication date: 7 December 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Sebastopol
  • ISBN 10: 0596007795
  • ISBN 13: 9780596007799
  • Illustrations note: 1, black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 62,069

Product description

The brain is a fearsomely complex information-processing environment--one that often eludes our ability to understand it. At any given time, the brain is collecting, filtering, and analyzing information and, in response, performing countless intricate processes, some of which are automatic, some voluntary, some conscious, and some unconscious. Cognitive neuroscience is one of the ways we have to understand the workings of our minds. It's the study of the brain biology behind our mental functions: a collection of methods--like brain scanning and computational modeling--combined with a way of looking at psychological phenomena and discovering where, why, and how the brain makes them happen. Want to know more? Mind Hacks is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment works of the brain. Using cognitive neuroscience, these experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception, and more throw light on how the human brain works. Each hack examines specific operations of the brain. By seeing how the brain responds, we pick up clues about the architecture and design of the brain, learning a little bit more about how the brain is put together. Mind Hacks begins your exploration of the mind with a look inside the brain itself, using hacks such as "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain" and "Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes." Also among the 100 hacks in this book, you'll find: * Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions * See Movement When All is Still * Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention * Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty * Mold Your Body Schema * Test Your Handedness * See a Person in Moving Lights * Make Events Understandable as Cause-and-Effect * Boost Memory by Using Context * Understand Detail and the Limits of Attention Steven Johnson, author of "Mind Wide Open" writes in his foreword to the book, "These hacks amaze because they reveal the brain's hidden logic; they shed light on the cheats and shortcuts and latent assumptions our brains make about the world." If you want to know more about what's going on in your head, then Mind Hacks is the key--let yourself play with the interface between you and the world.

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Author information

Tom Stafford has been studying, researching and teaching psychology at the university level since 1996, when he received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. He's currently employed as a researcher for the BBC and editor of The Psychologist magazine (the official journal of the British Psychological Society), positions which bring him into contact with working research scientists around the world. Matt Webb's background is in new media. His freelance activities include an IM interface to Google, which predated the Google API and is included in O'Reilly's Google Hacks. He launched a project to find the Web's favorite color that was featured on BBC News Online and national newspapers in the UK. His current job in R&D at the BBC involves these kinds of projects internally, and gives him experience at addressing abstract social and technological ideas to mixed audiences. He was a popular speaker at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference in 2004.

Review quote

The authors have compiled a fascinating ?collection of probes into the moment-by-moment works of the brain?. From getting to know the structure of your brain to learning how we see, hear and recall events, Mind Hacks allows you to test the theories of neuroscience on your own grey matter. If you?ve always wanted to get closer to your cerebellum but never plucked up the courage to take that DIY neurosurgery course, this is the book for you.? ? PD Smith, The Guardian, 15 Jan 2005

Table of contents

Foreword Credits Preface Chapter 1. Inside the Brain; 1. Find Out How the Brain Works Without Looking Inside 2. Electroencephalogram: Getting the Big Picture with EEGs 3. Positron Emission Tomography: Measuring Activity Indirectly with PET 4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: The State of the Art 5. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain 6. Neuropsychology, the 10 per cent Myth, and Why You Use All of Your Brain 7. Get Acquainted with the Central Nervous System; 8. Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes 9. The Neuron 10. Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow 11. Why People Don't Work Like Elevator Buttons 12. Build Your Own Sensory Homunculus Chapter 2. Seeing 13. Understand Visual Processing 14. See the Limits of Your Vision 15. To See, Act 16. Map Your Blind Spot 17. Glimpse the Gaps in Your Vision 18. When Time Stands Still 19. Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions 20. Fool Yourself into Seeing 3D 21. Objects Move, Lighting Shouldn't 22. Depth Matters; 23. See How Brightness Differs from Luminance: The Checker Shadow Illusion 24. Create Illusionary Depth with Sunglasses 25. See Movement When All Is Still 26. Get Adjusted 27. Show Motion Without Anything Moving 28. Motion Extrapolation: The "Flash-Lag Effect" 29. Turn Gliding Blocks into Stepping Feet 30. Understand the Rotating Snakes Illusion 31. Minimize Imaginary Distances; 32. Explore Your Defense Hardware 33. Neural Noise Isn't a Bug; It's a Feature Chapter 3. Attention 34. Detail and the Limits of Attention 35. Count Faster with Subitizing 36. Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention 37. Grab Attention 38. Don't Look Back! 39. Avoid Holes in Attention 40. Blind to Change; 41. Make Things Invisible Simply by Concentrating (on Something Else) 42. The Brain Punishes Features that Cry Wolf 43. Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games Chapter 4. Hearing and Language 44. Detect Timing with Your Ears 45. Detect Sound Direction 46. Discover Pitch 47. Keep Your Balance 48. Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty 49. Speech Is Broadband Input to Your Head 50. Give Big-Sounding Words to Big Concepts; 51. Stop Memory-Buffer Overrun While Reading 52. Robust Processing Using Parallelism Chapter 5. Integrating 53. Put Timing Information into Sound and Location Information into Light; 54. Don't Divide Attention Across Locations 55. Confuse Color Identification with Mixed Signals 56. Don't Go There; 57. Combine Modalities to Increase Intensity 58. Watch Yourself to Feel More 59. Hear with Your Eyes: The McGurk Effect 60. Pay Attention to Thrown Voices 61. Talk to Yourself; Chapter 6. Moving 62. The Broken Escalator Phenomenon: When Autopilot Takes Over 63. Keep Hold of Yourself 64. Mold Your Body Schema 65. Why Can't You Tickle Yourself? 66. Trick Half Your Mind 67. Objects Ask to Be Used 68. Test Your Handedness 69. Use Your Right Brain-and Your Left, Too Chapter 7. Reasoning 70. Use Numbers Carefully 71. Think About Frequencies Rather than Probabilities 72. Detect Cheaters; 73. Fool Others into Feeling Better 74. Maintain the Status Quo; Chapter 8. Togetherness 75. Grasp the Gestalt 76. To Be Noticed, Synchronize in Time 77. See a Person in Moving Lights; 78. Make Things Come Alive 79. Make Events Understandable as Cause and Effect 80. Act Without Knowing It Chapter 9. Remembering 81. Bring Stuff to the Front of Your Mind 82. Subliminal Messages Are Weak and Simple 83. Fake Familiarity; 84. Keep Your Sources Straight (if You Can) 85. Create False Memories 86. Change Context to Build Robust Memories 87. Boost Memory Using Context 88. Think Yourself Strong; 89. Navigate Your Way Through Memory 90. Have an Out-of-Body Experience 91. Enter the Twilight Zone: The Hypnagogic State; 92. Make the Caffeine Habit Taste Good Chapter 10. Other People; 93. Understand What Makes Faces Special 94. Signal Emotion; 95. Make Yourself Happy 96. Reminisce Hot and Cold 97. Look Where I'm Looking 98. Monkey See, Monkey Do 99. Spread a Bad Mood Around 100. You Are What You Think Index