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Cordelia Fine

A Mind of its Own

First of all I have to tell you that I read A mind of its own : how your brain distorts and deceives by Cordelia Fine straight after reading Stumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The two books are fairly similar, and Gilbert's is a bit more entertaining. I had had my fill of the strange results of psychological experiments, and so I was probably felt more critical than normal on reading Fine's work. For instance when she describes an experiment where subjects came across suppposedly injured people and explains how the subjects who failed to help would persuade themselves that the person wasn't really very badly hurt - it felt more comfortable that way. Yes, I thought, but it was also true

Probably though, if I had read this book on its own I would have found it more entertaining. I found it surprising how easy it seemed to be to prime experimental subjects to exhibit a particular behaviour and indeed Fine highlights the worry that such effects might be long lasting - even with a comprehensive debriefing explaining what was done. Certainly the book provides some interesting insight into the ways in which our minds can play tricks on us, and thus helps us to guard against such tricks -although the chapters on 'The Weak-Willed Brain' and 'The Bigoted Brain' show that we might need to be especially vigilant to avoid complacency.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0393062139
Salesrank: 936675
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2006 W. W. Norton
Amazon price $12.15
Marketplace:New from $12.15:Used from $1.98
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 1840467983
Salesrank: 158075
Weight:0.66 lbs
Published: 2007 Icon Books Ltd
Amazon price £9.99
Marketplace:New from £2.98:Used from £0.22
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0393062139
Salesrank: 792160
Weight:0.9 lbs
Published: 2006 W W Norton
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 45.85:Used from CDN$ 1.51
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Product Description
A delightfully unsparing look into what your brain is doing behind your back.

In recent years, we've heard a lot about the extraordinary workings of our hundred-billion-celled brain: its amazing capacities to regulate all sensation, perception, thinking, and feeling; the power to shape all experience and define our identity. Indeed, the brain's power is being confirmed every day in new studies and research. But there is a brain we don't generally hear about, a brain we might not want to hear about…the "prima donna within."

Exposing the mind's deceptions and exploring how the mind defends and glorifies the ego, Dr. Cordelia Fine illustrates the brain's tendency to self-delusion. Whether it be hindsight bias, wishful thinking, unrealistic optimism, or moral excuse-making, each of us has a slew of inborn mind-bugs and ordinary prejudices that prevent us from seeing the truth about the world and ourselves. With fascinating studies to support her arguments, Dr. Fine takes us on an insightful, rip-roaringly funny tour through the brain you never knew you had.