Psych Book Summary - Psych Book explained in key points
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Psych summary

Paul Bloom

The Story of the Human Mind

4 (44 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Psych by Paul Bloom explores the fascinating science of the human mind, including how we think, feel, and behave. With engaging anecdotes and research, it challenges our assumptions about free will, empathy, and morality.

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    Psychology aims to answer what neuroscience doesn’t

    Imagine your car needs maintenance, or worse, it breaks down. Would you call a physicist or a mechanic?

    That scenario is one way Bloom addresses the relationship between neuroscience and psychology. Just as physics explains what a car is made up of and the laws of that matter, neuroscience gives similar answers about the brain. And just as mechanics know how the parts and systems of a car should work together to move you smoothly down the road, psychologists go the extra mile by studying thought and behavior.

    Throughout history, long before neuroscience developed into what it is today, people debated which part of our bodies impacted our feelings and actions. Now we have maps that show what each part of the brain controls – everything from basic motor functions to sensory and emotional experiences. Many studies confirm this, including cases where trauma to specific parts of the brain impacts corresponding parts of the body and abilities like speech.

    Even so, neuroscience stops short of truly addressing how or why these things correspond – what philosopher David Chalmers termed “the hard problem” of consciousness.

    Today, examining consciousness is central to modern psychological study when in the not-so-distant past it stayed relegated to the world of philosophers. Why the shift? Well, in a field with so many unanswered questions, our awareness is the only certainty. It also frames our moral decisions, like whether to chop down a tree. If you were suddenly aware the tree could feel pain, would you still cut it down? And then, our consciousness about our own experience creates a benchmark for comparing ourselves to others.

    So, what gives us this awareness? Did we arrive at birth as an empty canvas? Or did we already have a concept sketched, ready for our life to fill in the strokes of color? Let’s find out.

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    What is Psych about?

    Psych (2023) offers an informed, insightful, and approachable overview of psychology, starting with its origins and earliest thought leaders to the most recent findings in modern practice. Based on the author’s popular Introduction to Psychology course developed for Yale University, it uses lively storytelling and studies to easily relate the complex science of the human mind.

    Psych Review

    Psych (2021) dives into the fascinating world of psychology, exploring the inner workings of the mind and human behavior. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with compelling case studies and backed by scientific research, it offers a deep understanding of the intricacies of human psychology.
    • Exploring a wide range of topics such as emotion, morality, and consciousness, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the field.
    • With its clear and accessible language, it ensures that complex concepts are easily understood, keeping readers engaged and hooked from start to finish.

    Who should read Psych?

    • Anyone interested in the principles of psychology
    • People seeking scientific explanations for what drives thought and behavior
    • Those eager to learn how people’s minds differ

    About the Author

    Paul Bloom is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University. A highly-distinguished and award-winning researcher and lecturer, he’s written for publications including Nature, Science, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. Other books Bloom has authored or edited include Against Empathy, Just Babies, and How Pleasure Works.

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    Psych FAQs 

    What is the main message of Psych?

    The main message of Psych is that our understanding of the mind and behavior can be explained through evolutionary psychology.

    How long does it take to read Psych?

    The reading time for Psych varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Psych a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Psych is a thought-provoking book that explores the complexities of human psychology. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Psych?

    Paul Bloom is the author of Psych.

    What to read after Psych?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Psych, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Sweet Spot by Paul Bloom
    • Experiments With People by Robert P. Abelson
    • The Portfolio Life by Christina Wallace
    • Life Worth Living by Miroslav Volf
    • Retrain Your Brain by Seth J. Gillihan
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King
    • Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman
    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay
    • Against Empathy by Paul Bloom
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman