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Download The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better, by Matthew Blakeslee, Sandra Blakeslee Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (280 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Blakeslee, Sandra Blakeslee Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Why do you still feel fat after losing weight? Why do you duck your head when you drive into an underground parking garage? Why are your kids so enthralled by video games?

The answers to these questions can be found in a new understanding of how your brain interacts with your body, the space around your body, and the social world. Every point on your body, each internal organ, and every point in space out to the end of your fingertips is mapped inside your brain. Your ability to sense, move, and act in the physical world arises from a rich network of flexible body maps distributed throughout your brain.

The science of body maps has far-reaching applications. It can help people lose weight, improve their ability to play a sport, or assist recovery from stroke. It points the way to new treatments for anorexia and phantom limbs. It helps explain out-of-body experiences, auras, placebos, and healing touch. It provides a new way to understand human emotions from love to hate, lust to disgust, pride to humiliation.

With scientific discoveries from every corner of the globe, Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee have written a compelling narrative that is positively mind-bending and that will appeal to readers of Sharon Begley’s Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This entertaining book will appeal to readers who prefer their science lighthearted and low-key.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Varied and revealing, this will intrigue readers interested in the clinical perspective on self-perception.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carolyn | 2/15/2014

    " This book is chock full of fascinating snippets- for instance, did you know that your tongue can be taught to see? Or that anorexia can be treated by donning a neoprene catsuit? See, this is why I adore reading books about neuroscience; that's where all the truly bizarre stuff is happening. It really is a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Gloriavirtutisumbra | 2/13/2014

    " This takes all those basic things you read about in an Intro to Psychology textbook and takes it to the next level. It discusses many new research discoveries and presents possible future ideas in the study of how our brains interact with our bodies. A nice chatty pop science book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bob Nichols | 2/2/2014

    " This is an unusual book. It's largely boring but with many gold nuggets tucked inside. Cognition, value and body are tied together. "Meaning," the authors say, is rooted in agency (acting and choosing) and agency "depends on embodiment." Feedback from bodily movements provide meaning that become "maps" within. We talk about muscle memory but memory is lodged in the brain as motor maps. Perception is active. It is predictive and we fill in the gaps with what we have learned before. People do have auras in the sense of a space that is an extension of themselves. When we point our finger, our self extends itself to the object. About 5% of the population are affected by a condition (synesthesia) whereby separate senses are joined. Numbers have colors; red smells; voices have flavors. That striking statistic helps to explain the paranormal, and makes the weird not abnormal. It's further evidence of our biologically based variability. Above our biological differnces, culture promotes fundamental variations as well. The Chinese can't understand the part without understanding the whole. Those in the West focus on straight lines and salient objects on those lines. As opposed to the fixed, behavioral structures favored by the evolutionary biologists, the authors note that mirror neurons allow us to experience others as extensions of ourselves, but this capacity produces negative as well as positive social interactions. The authors suggest that homophobia may be deeply ingrained because straight men can't help but to experience "in the mind's body" two gay men in a sexual act. They also say that sadists are able to experience pleasure in the pain of others because of these neurons. The authors go on to say that Von Economo neurons are fundamental to social intuitions. We make quick judgments involving "approach or retreat". Regarding William James' theory of emotions, our body reacts (and acts?) and we become aware of our body's reaction (and action?) as feeling. Here the body's mind is primary and our mind's awareness follows. The mind is infused with the body's energy and there is no such thing as "pure reason." They also say that the right frontal insula is active when one feels literal physical pain and when one experiences psychic pain such as social rejection. All in all, the mental maps we form are integrally tied to action, and action begins with our hands. The authors casually remark that permanent two-legged walking coincided with the appearance of the very first stone tools. Our hands become free, and free hands enabled us to extend our body's domain through what the authors say became an innate drive to augment our bodies with artifacts. That augmentation was "bred into us" and this, perhaps, enhanced our power and, with power, our freedom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bohbhagr | 2/2/2014

    " This is one of those books you have to read twice in order to soak up all the new information. Wonderful book, recommended by Elizabeth Chapman who taught course on neuroscience at OLLI. "

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About the Author

Matthew Blakeslee is a freelance science writer based in Los Angeles. He represents the fourth generation in a family of science writers.