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3.9 out of 5 stars43
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 20 July 2013
Explains many of the things l have always found difficult about the human mind. But still I don't understand consciousness
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on 9 November 2011
The title of the book is a bit tongue-in-cheek. It does not explain how the mind creates consciousness or feelings.

Instead it explains, for instance, how emotions can be adaptive, in a Darwinian sense.

Steven fully acknowledges that this says nothing at all about what emotions feel like. That is one of the points of the book - to remind us that there are whole areas of understanding in which we have made no progress at all. And not just in psychology.

It is a lively book in what I now know is typical Steven Pinker style - a solid main thread with peripheral ideas dancing round it all the time.

The book is entertaining and easy to follow. You won't need a degree in psychology - or anything - to enjoy it.
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on 9 February 2011
If you are interested in how the brain/mind works, I would not start looking here. There book is a long ramble of opinion with little evidence.
This is odd, as there is considerable evidence out there presented far better by other writers.
In particular, the "computational theory of mind" is, I would say, quite wrong. A computer has a processor and some good quality storage. The brain has neither: it is a bunch of wires which can connect together. Learning happens when new wiring connects. There is no processor.
A computer stores accurate representations of the things it "remembers". The brain not only re-constructs reality from the clues it gets from its senses, but stores information as basic building blocks - edges, colours, movement - and reconstructs memories from these archetypes.
Books like Sousa: "How the Brain Learns"; Zull: "The Art of changing the brain"; for example, are much closer to the evidence, less speculative and more use, I would say.
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on 22 April 2013
This is a must read for anyone interested in the human brain. Not only does it enlighten the reader, it wll leave you wanting to understand the brain more and more never ceases to amaze!

Excellent!
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on 20 February 2012
Very good book and it contains my candidate for the merriest ribbing of Freud ever put to paper.

(Some of the minutiae of the section on visual cognition, I admit, passed me by a little)
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on 27 February 2014
Reccommended for any health professional in the Mental Health sector to read.
Infornative and descriptive.
Well written .
A good book
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on 17 October 2014
Recommended reading in my psych undergrad degree. Really good, accessible reading. Not like reading a text book!
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on 20 January 2011
In Pinker's acclaimed how the mind works we are given a theory, one I find very persuasive, that the mind is a product of the brain. Pinker takes us back to evolutionary biology and shows how the brain developed and with it the mind. He shows by example how the brain has key functions of it's own, such as calculating the exact amount of pressure the grip must apply when picking up delicate objects, but also more abstrusely how the mind, as a product of brain function carries out it's business more perfectly than any machine can duplicate, or can it?

Pinker gingerly points to the fact that our brains are exactly like modern day computers. They have both evolved over the years, computer technology far faster than the brains evolution and artificial intelligence is coming along great guns. It may not be long before they think like we do.

This is quite a weighty book and Pinker goes in to some detail of why the mind is a product of the brain, for that reason alone it is well worth pursuing as it is accessible to the lay reader and I found myself able to 'follow Pinker's argument to conclusion satisfactorily.

The only real downside to this is, 1) It is a little dated now and advances in neuroscience may have altered some of the theories laid out in this book (I personally do not know) and 2) It is a weighty book, which Can put some people off even starting, but please do make the effort if you are interested in the arguments over brain/mind connection.

Overall an excellent read for those with a general interest in how the mind actually works, but we must accept that some of this book may well be overturned down the line, if not already.
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on 17 May 2015
Fast delivery and item exactly as listed. Thanks!
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on 28 December 2000
This book covers a lot of in depth scientific knowledge in a fairly accessible way, although it does take some effort to understand all of it. A great book to accompany a psychology course, or just for a good, thought provoking read.
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