The Neuroscience of You: How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours

Chantel Prat. Dutton, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-1-524-74660-5

Prat, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, covers the nature of the human brain in her lively and informative debut. She argues that “every brain really is unique” and that nature and nurture combine to make people who they are. She describes the brain’s two sides, for example, as remarkably lopsided, and breaks down the cocktail of neurotransmitters and how they work. There are also “assessments” for readers to examine how their brains have been influenced by their experiences, such as exercises to determine one’s level of curiosity or if one is a “chooser” or an “avoider.” While her basic thesis isn’t unique, Prat goes a step further in exploring the implications of the nature-nurtre connection: “many of our brains literally become shaped by the systemic biases of our society as we consume the versions of reality created by others. And these biases can influence the way we understand the world,”she writes. There are lots of funny footnotes as well as cutting-edge research—on nematode nervous systems, for example—and her informal tone goes a long way in making her subject both understandable and enjoyable. This work of popular science sets itself apart. (Aug.)
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