Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Nature Neuroscience
Stuart Derbyshire
Metapsychology Online

Chris Frith

Making up the mind

When we percieve something via our senses the process seems fairly straightforward. In Making up the mind: how the brain creates our mental world , however, Chris Frith shows that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than you might think.

The book starts by looking at studies of people with damage to part of their brain and what this can tell us about how the brain works. For instance there's the phenomenon of blindsight where someone can't consciously see things, but unconsciously knows that they are there. Also some stroke patients may be paralysed in part of their body, but have a condition known as anosognosia where they are convinced that they are perfectly OK. But even the normal brain can have tricks played upon it, for instance the Ames room, where we see people as being impossibly different sizes rather than interpreting it as a distorted room (which it is). Later in the book Frith looks at the way our brains form a model of what our bodies are doing, and why it is impossible to tickle yourself. He then discusses bayesian statistics and how our brains are often much better at using it that we ourselves. He also considers how we form a model of the minds of other people, and why working out the intentions of others is so important. This leads on to a consideration of how society is made up of shared mental models.

I'd recommend this book to all readers, in fact I'm rather surprised that it didn't make it to the shortlist of the 2008 Royal Society Prizes. It's easy to read, fairly short, but packs in plenty of information. When I'd finished it I found that there were plenty of things I wanted to find out more about - always the sign of a good book.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 246 pages  
ISBN: 1405160225
Salesrank: 616283
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2007 Wiley-Blackwell
Amazon price $30.22
Marketplace:New from $23.37:Used from $9.95
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 246 pages  
ISBN: 1405160225
Salesrank: 139474
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2007 Wiley-Blackwell
Amazon price £19.24
Marketplace:New from £16.40:Used from £12.76
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback 246 pages  
ISBN: 1405160225
Salesrank: 397792
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2007 Wiley-Blackwell
Amazon price CDN$ 39.59
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 28.18:Used from CDN$ 17.94
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
Written by one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, Making Up the Mind is the first accessible account of experimental studies showing how the brain creates our mental world.

  • Uses evidence from brain imaging, psychological experiments and studies of patients to explore the relationship between the mind and the brain
  • Demonstrates that our knowledge of both the mental and physical comes to us through models created by our brain
  • Shows how the brain makes communication of ideas from one mind to another possible