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How the mind works
Pinker, Steven
Adult Nonfiction QP360.5.P56 1997

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Summary: A fascinating, provocative book exploring the mysteries of human thought and behavior, by the author of the acclaimed bestseller The Language Instinct. The human mind is fantastically complex -- we often take its abilities for granted, yet few would argue that any amount of technology will ever duplicate human intelligence. How does the human mind work? How do we see in three dimensions? Why do we fall in love? How do we remember names and faces? How is it, indeed, that we ponder the nature of our own consciousness? In this bold, extraordinary book, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists and author of the widely praised bestseller The Language Instinct, tackles the intricacies of the human mind to decipher how we think, feel, and act. Using "reverse-engineering" -- determining what natural selection designed the mind to accomplish in a hunting-and-gathering environment -- Pinker explains how the mind stores and uses information, a process that allowed our ancestors to understand and outsmart objects, animals, plants, and each other. How the Mind Works makes sense of some of the more bewildering aspects of everyday life, such as: why is beauty important to us? How is it that we are moved to tears or laughter? Why do we feel that a run of heads makes the coin more likely to land tails? Why is self-restraint so difficult? This is a witty and compelling work, synthesizing the best of cognitive science and evolutionary biology.


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