Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain…

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity (edition 2012)

by Bruce Hood

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
160474,566 (3.72)13
Title:The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity
Authors:Bruce Hood
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2012), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Philosophy & Religion, Science & Technology, consciousness

Work details

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by Bruce Hood



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
Interesting read, albeit not opening new thought paths, it is able to put together a bunch of ideas that we have read previously in different places.

More in my blog soon.
( )
  nzagalo | Jul 24, 2015 |
This book explore identity -- who are we? What is our "self"? What makes us who we are? In an accessible and engaging style, the author shows that there is no concrete, unique "self". Rather, we are shaped by our environment, primarily by those around us. Our sense of self-hood is a reflection; an illusion. But, a helpful one because those who embrace the self illusion lead richer, happier lives. It's all about humans as biological creatures trying to make sense of the complex word we live in. ( )
  LynnB | Feb 10, 2015 |
Many animals can copy but none do so for the pure joy of being sociable. Copying is not an automatic reflex. Babies do not slavishly duplicate every adult action they see. If the adult does not smile and get the babies’ attention from the start, then babies don’t copy. Also, babies only copy adults who seem to know what they are doing. Initially babies will copy the actions of an adult who is wearing a blindfold. The baby does not know that the adult cannot see. However, if you give the baby the blindfold to play with, then they don’t make the mistake of copying the blindfolded adult again. Babies know that they can’t possibly be looking at anything worth paying attention to. In other words, babies will only copy adults when they are led to think that something is worth doing.

The author's argument is that the self is an illusion created by your brain to make sense of all the processes that are involved in making sense of the world. He says that babies are born with a basic 'operating system' and develop a self as they grow, so I think a good analogy would be that the self is the user-friendly desktop that hides the complexity of the tasks that the computer is doing behind the scenes.

As people get different results on personality tests when they do them based on how they are at work and at home, and an on-line persona can be completely different from how someone is in real life, how can there be a single, unified self? There is a lot more to it than that of course, but you will have to read the book to find out

Interesting. ( )
  isabelx | Aug 3, 2014 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
One of the strangest experiences we can have is to hold a human brain in our hands for the first time.
Last night, I finished reading the biography of Howard Hughes -- the tycoon, the aviator, the movie mogul, the socialite, and, finally, the reclusive billionaire, housebound by his pathological fear of dirt.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019989759X, Hardcover)

Most of us believe that we are an independent, coherent self--an individual inside our head who thinks, watches, wonders, dreams, and makes plans for the future. This sense of our self may seem incredibly real but a wealth of recent scientific evidence reveals that it is not what it seems--it is all an illusion.

In The Self Illusion, Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other. Humans spend proportionally the greatest amount of time in childhood compared to any other animal. It's not only to learn from others, Hood notes, but also to learn to become like others. We learn to become our self. Even as adults we are continually developing and elaborating this story, learning to become different selves in different situations--the work self, the home self, the parent self. Moreover, Hood shows that this already fluid process--the construction of self--has dramatically changed in recent years. Social networking activities--such as blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter--are fast becoming socialization on steroids. The speed and ease at which we can form alliances and relationships are outstripping the same selection processes that shaped our self prior to the internet era. Things will never be the same again in the online social world. Hood offers our first glimpse into this unchartered territory.

Who we are is, in short, a story of our self--a narrative that our brain creates. Like the science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind. But Hood concludes that though the self is an illusion, it is an illusion we must continue to embrace to live happily in human society.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:36 -0400)

Superstitious habits are common. Do you ever cross your fingers, knock on wood, avoid walking under ladders, or step around black cats? Sentimental value often supersedes material worth. If someone offered to replace your childhood teddy bear or wedding ring with a brand new, exact replica, would you do it?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
36 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.72)
1 1
2 2
3 4
3.5 6
4 11
4.5 1
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,448,475 books! | Top bar: Always visible