A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives

Cordelia Fine, Author . Norton $24.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-393-06213-7

Vain, immoral, bigoted: this is your brain in action, according to Fine, a research associate at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Australian National University. Fine documents a wealth of surprising information about the brain in this readable account that adopts a good-humored tone about the brain's failings without underestimating the damage they do. The brain, she shows, distorts reality in order to save us from the ego-destroying effects of failure and pessimism. For example, an optimist who fails at something edits the truth by blaming others for the failure and then takes complete credit for any successes. The brain also routinely disapproves of other people's behavior (how could he do that?), while at the same time interpreting one's own actions in the best possible light (I would never do that!). The brain also projects stereotypes onto others that reflect prejudicial beliefs rather than objective reality. Despite the firm hold these distortions have on our brains, Fine is not a pessimist. The path to overcoming stereotypes and other distortions of the brain, she says, may be gained through self-awareness and knowledge provided by experimental psychology, a field that explores and exposes unconscious mental influences. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Hardcover - 199 pages - 978-1-84046-710-9
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-1-84046-798-7
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-393-33163-9
Open Ebook - 978-0-393-34300-7
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!