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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brain Sense - Faith Hickman Bryne

Brain Sense: The Science of the Senses and How We Process the World Around Us by Faith Hickman Bryne is a fascinating and accessible read on how the brain and senses function.

For those who aren't so familiar with the brain, it is recommended to go to the Appendix, which contains a brief synopsis of how the brain and the nervous system work.  For those who are familiar, this can be skipped.  While the book does get technical from time to time, the overall tone is for an average reader.

The book is divided into several sections, each of which talks about a different sense: touch, smell, taste, vision, and hearing.  Each part includes a chapter on the absence of the sense, along with many other fascinating topics.  There's a final section that talks about abnormalities of senses, such as synesthesia, phantom feelings, and paranormal activity.

Does aromatherapy work?  Are pheromones bunk?  Does color have an effect on how people perceive things?  Why do some people taste bitterness while others enjoy the flavor of vegetables?  Many of these questions have been answered before, but new research presented in this book shed light on how and why.

Recommended Reads:
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish: And Other Amazing Tales about the Genes in Your Body by Lisa Seachrist Chiu
The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers by Daniel L. Schacter

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