a brain science book by Michael Graziano< read all 1 reviews
I am drawn to any book that teaches me something new about how the brain works. God Soul Mind Brain does just that. Michael Graziano is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. He knows what he is talking about. He acknowledges that there is still lot to learn. This book is divided into two sections. The first section is about the mind and the next section is about the brain. The best subject in the mind section of the book is about the idea of consciousness.
Consciousness is not a thing that resides in human beings. It is a process by which people create perceptions of things they see and feel. A sub topic under consciousness is the concept of social perception. People socially perceive each other whether we meet them in person or not. Graziano details how people do this. I won't go into detail about it, but it is worth learning. Graziano also talks about people sometimes assign a soul to an inamimate object. This is subject is fun to read.
The other part of the book is about the anatomy of the brain. I love reading about the amygdala and hypothalamus work together when a person perceives something in the environment. Graziano defines what these individual parts of the brain do very well. I learned about the different types of neurons of the brain. A neuron is a brain cell that sends messages. There are separate neurons that help people detect faces and gestures of the body. Brains also have mirror neurons that respond to a certain action in the environment. Graziano devotes an entire chapter on mirror neurons. This is an excellent chapter that attempts to explain how mirror neurons influence human behavior.
God Soul Mind Brain has less than two hundred pages. The subject material is very interesting, but it can be difficult to grasp. It should be read slowly. I wish this book contained a glossary or at least some foot notes. It would have made this information stick better for me. I did learn an excellent new term, and that term is meme. A meme is a thought or an idea that can spread in a culture. God Soul Mind Brain is perfect for anyone who is interested in gaining a basic understanding of brain science.
What did you think of this review?
"Essential reading for the devout, the agnostic, and the atheist. In tackling the question of the religious brain, Graziano is respectful, sincere, and scientifically plausible. This might even be an Important Book."—Sam Wang, author of Welcome to Your Brain
"A beautifully crafted, tightly scripted account of how the far-flung legions of the brain's neurons give rise to social awareness and our notions of soul, religion and God."—Christof Koch, author of The Quest for Consciousness
"Lucid and engaging. . . . Moves with pace and humor."—Philip Johnson-Laird, author of Mental Models
"Do we know the origins of Gods and ghosts? This well-written book makes the bold case that new discoveries in social neuroscience can illuminate human spiritual experience."—Terry Sejnowski, PhD, Salk Institute/UC San Diego
Writing for the general public, Michael S. A. Graziano explores the controversial relationship between science and religion, first dismissing the "science versus religion" debate as outdated. The cutting-edge field of social neuroscience explains how our perceptions of our own consciousness, of other minds, and of spirits and gods depend on machinery in the brain that evolved to make us socially intelligent animals. In clear prose without technical jargon, Graziano discusses his and others' findings in this twenty-year-old science and the implications for human spirituality ...