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Your Brain: The Missing Manual by Matthew…
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Your Brain: The Missing Manual

by Matthew MacDonald

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For someone who's read a lot on psychology & brain science, not tons new here. But a nice mini-reference with a fun conversational style and a few "party trick" bits. ( )
  epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
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This is a book about the wet mass of crumbled-up tissue called the brain, and why it's responsible for everything from true love to getting you out of bed in the morning.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0596517785, Paperback)

This is a book about that wet mass of cell tissue called the brain, and why it's responsible for everything from true love to getting you out of bed in the morning. One part science guide, one part self-help concierge, it's grounded in the latest neuroscience, psychology, and nutritional wisdom. The result? An essential guide for the modern brain owner, filled with ready-to-follow advice on everything from eating right to improving your memory.

10 Easy Brain-Enhancing Questions

Q: Turkey is one of the best things to eat if you want to promote sleepiness.
A: False: Turkey may be loaded with tryptophan, the amino acid that can cause drowsiness, but it has no more of it than many other high protein food items like chicken, beef, and soybeans. Plus, eating high protein meals without a corresponding truckload of carbohydrates ensures that tryptophan will never enter the blood-brain barrier.

Q: The REM (for "Rapid Eye Movement") stage of sleep, when the most vivid dreaming usually happens, occurs during the deepest stages of the dream cycle.
A: False: REM sleep actually occurs at the very end of the sleep cycle, when the brain returns to a much lighter stage of sleep.

Q: Contrary to conventional wisdom, memories are not "stored" in the brain as recordings or as discrete "data", but are instead the result of the brain's constant rewiring of neuronal connections.
A: True: There's no static "memory storage" in the brain, but instead a fluid, constantly readapting process of establishing, reinforcing, and fading links between neurons.

Q: Despite huge life changes that temporarily create radical shifts in personal fortune (either good or bad), the brain will always drift back to an inborn "happiness" set point.
A: True: Regardless of whether you win the lotto or suffer catastrophic tragedy, you'll always return to the same chipper or grumpy temperament that sustains throughout your life.

Q: With most traits, heritability (the influence of genetics) decreases through childhood and adolescence, reaching its lowest point in adulthood.
A: False: The reverse is true--genetic links actually get stronger with age (meaning you're more similar to your parents as an adult than as a child), though there is no scientific consensus as to why this is so.

Q: T/F: IQ scores are highly heritable
A: True, page 242

Q: Your brain’s energy use is roughly:
a.) 20 watts
b.) 40 watts
c.) 75 watts
A: 20 watts—enough to power a dim light bulb, page 29

Q: Microsleep is a phenomenon that occurs when the brain?
A: Shuts off for a second or two usually due to lack of sleep, page 52

Q: The art of improving memory is called?
A: Mnemonics, page 107

Q: T/F: Chronically sleep-deprived individuals have a greater incidence of obesity?
A: True, page 40

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:48 -0400)

Puzzles and brain twisters to keep your mind sharp and your memory intact are all the rage today. More and more people -- Baby Boomers and information workers in particular -- are becoming concerned about their gray matter's ability to function, and with good reason. As this sensible and entertaining guide points out, your brain is easily your most important possession. It deserves proper upkeep.Your Brain: The Missing Manual is a practical look at how to get the most out of your brain -- not just how the brain works, but how you can use it more effectively. What makes this book different than.… (more)

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