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Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain: Separating fact from fiction

Popular Science

Edited By: Sergio Della Sala

396 pages, 43 figures; 16 black & white photos

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Dec 2006 | #160203 | ISBN: 0198568770
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £39.99 $53/€45 approx
Hardback | Jan 2007 | #160204 | ISBN-13: 9780198568766
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £126.00 $165/€143 approx

About this book

Does listening to Mozart make us more intelligent?; Is there such a thing as a gay gene?; Does the size of the brain matter?; Does the moon influence our behaviour?; Can we communicate with the dead?; Can graphology tell us anything about a person's character?; Is the human brain clonable?; What role do dreams have in cognition?; Can mind conquer matter and diseases?; Are out-of-body experiences possible?; Can we trust our intuitions?

To some, the answer to all these questions might well be a resounding 'no', but to many people these represent serious beliefs about the mind and brain - beliefs that drive their everyday behaviour, beliefs that cost them huge amounts of money. Whole industries have developed founded on these dubious claims about the mind and brain. Even major corporations have dabbled with assessment methods such as those advocated by graphology, accepting and rejecting candidates on the basic of their handwriting. Expectant parents buy books and tapes by the dozen showing them how to improve the intelligence of their child by playing them classical music. People subscribe to expensive therapies founded on beliefs rather than science, or risk their health buying books that tell them how they can conquer illness through positive thinking, perhaps at the expense of more scientifically proven treatments.

'Tall Tales' presents a sweeping survey of common myths about the mind and brain. In a lighthearted and accessible style, it exposes the truth behind these beliefs, how they are perpetuated, why people believe them, and why they might even exist in the first place.

...this book is so well written and balanced that it will make for enriching and entertaining reading for readers at any level. It manages to have a scientific foundation, yet presents clinically intriguing and practical, relevant cases. It is refreshing to see a group of authors put together a critical analysis of the rampant misinformation that thrives in popular culture. Doody's Notes


PART I - WHERE DO TALL TALES ABOUT THE MIND AND THE BRAIN COME FROM?; Introduction - the myth of 10% and other tall tales about the mind and the brain; 1. Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences; 2. Critically thinking about paranormal belief; 3. The magic in the brain; how conjuring works to deceive our minds; PART II - TALL TALES ON MEMORY AND LEARNING; 4. The legend of the magical number seven; 5. Setting the record (or video camera) straight on memory: the video camera model of memory and other memory myths; 6. The myth of the incredible eyewitness; 7. We've got the whole child witness thing figured out, or do we?; PART III - TALL TALES ON INTELLIGENCE; 8. Is bigger really better? The search for brain size and intelligence in the 21st century; 9. Biology and intelligence: the race/IQ controversy; 10. The refined Mozart effect: let's enjoy the music; 11. The powers and perils of intuuition; 12. Creative thinking: the mystery myth; PART IV - TALL TALES ON LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION; 13. The more, the merrier: facts and beliefs about the bilingual mind; 14. The Merry Vibes of Wintzer: the tale of foreign accent syndrome; 15. Talking with the dead, communicating with the future and other myths created by cold reading; 16. Graphology - a total write-off; 17. The truth about deception; PART V - TALL TALES ON THE BRAIN; 18. The dual-brain myth; 19. The neurology of the weird: brain states and anamalous experience; 20. The myth of the clonable human brain; 21. Out on a limb: neglect and confabulation in the study of aplasic phantoms; 22. Imagery and blindness; 23. Something wicked this way comes: causes and interpretations of sleep paralysis; PART VI - TALL TALES ON THE MIND; 24. The power of the full moon. Running on empty?; 25. Ouija, dowsing, and other seductions of ideomotor action; 26. Inducing out-of-body experiences; 27. Can mind conquer cancer?; 28. The elusive search for a "gay gene"; 29. To sleep, perchance to REM? The rediscovered role of emotion and meaning in dreams

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