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The Neuroscience of You summary

Chantel Prat

How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours

4.6 (751 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

'The Neuroscience of You' by Chantel Prat explores the fascinating world of brain science and its impact on our daily lives. This book provides insight into the complex mechanisms of the brain and how they shape our behavior and decision-making processes.

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    The Neuroscience of You
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    Brains that specialize in different functions interpret the world in varied ways.

    Have you ever heard of The Knowledge?

    It’s the test required to be a taxi driver in London, and it’s one of the most famously difficult exams in the world. The test demands that you memorize London’s 20,000 windy streets and every business or landmark on each street. The test weeds out over half the people who take it— even if they’ve studied for it for years. It’s a truly herculean task!

    A landmark study in 2000 showed that drivers who successfully acquired The Knowledge of London’s streets have a larger-than-average tail of the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is associated with spatial memory. In other words, by repeatedly asking their brains to perform specific tasks– like memorizing London, a complex and disorganized system– the taxi drivers actually changed their brains’ physicality.   

    Studying the cabbies’ brains led to another important discovery: though the tail of the hippocampus grows as they study for The Knowledge, the top of the hippocampus was actually smaller than average. Researchers then compared the brains of the taxi drivers to those operating in a similar environment: London bus drivers. They found that the taxi drivers had superior spatial memory to the bus drivers, but they had worse short-term memory and visual memory.

    What this head-to-head comparison shows us is that there’s a cost to specialization. Certain enhancements of one type of memory will crowd out brain regions that are performing other jobs.  After all, there’s only so much room in any given brain! Now, it’s not just that specialization leads your brain to perform certain functions better at the expense of other functions. What ends up happening is that brains that specialize in different functions end up interpreting the world in different ways–  which is what Dr. Prat’s book is all about.

    To begin to break down why that is, it’s helpful to think of our brains as finite information-processing machines operating in an essentially infinite environment. And in order to do its job effectively of keeping you alive in the big bad universe, your brain has to process the infinite environment into manageable pieces. In other words, it’s constantly filtering, and filling in the missing blanks with what it thinks is probably happening. It’s a bit like being given a stack of blurry photographs and being asked to make a movie with them. You have to decide which images are important and how to connect the dots to make a coherent video when there is missing information. 

    And because brains are structurally different and shaped by different experiences, they’ll process information in varying ways. One brain will deal with its inherent limitations differently than another, by relying on the computations and functions at which it’s more adept in order to figure out what is happening. And this is a major factor in why we have so much variation in worldviews and behaviors!

    Now let’s take a closer look at how specific features of our brains will lead us to operate in varied ways in the real world. We’ll start with how the degree of our brain’s lopsidedness affects how we solve problems. 

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    What is The Neuroscience of You about?

    The Neuroscience of You (2022) is an accessible primer to the human brain that explores how our individual quirks arise. Packed with practical tests and cutting-edge insights into why you think differently from others, it invites you to take a closer look at your brain and discover what makes it unique– and how to understand others and their quirks better. 

    The Neuroscience of You Review

    The Neuroscience of You (2022) explores the fascinating world of the brain and offers valuable insights into understanding ourselves better. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Discover groundbreaking research that unveils the inner workings of the human brain, shedding light on our behavior and emotions.
    • Gain a deeper understanding of how your brain shapes your experiences, thoughts, and decisions, empowering you to make positive changes in your life.
    • With its accessible explanations and relatable examples, the book ensures that learning about neuroscience is anything but boring.

    Who should read The Neuroscience of You?

    • Fans of neuroscience
    • Those eager to learn about the specifics of brain functions
    • Anyone curious about where individuality comes from

    About the Author

    Chantel Prat, PhD is a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics at the University of Washington. She is a public speaker at events like The World Science Fair, and she is featured in the documentary I Am Human. Her publications have been profiled in Scientific American, Psychology Today, NPR, and more.

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    The Neuroscience of You FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Neuroscience of You?

    Understanding the inner workings of our brain and behavior can unlock our full potential.

    How long does it take to read The Neuroscience of You?

    The reading time for The Neuroscience of You varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Neuroscience of You a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Neuroscience of You is a valuable read that offers insights into the fascinating world of neuroscience. Recommended!

    Who is the author of The Neuroscience of You?

    The author of The Neuroscience of You is Chantel Prat.

    What to read after The Neuroscience of You?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Neuroscience of You, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Brain Rules by John Medina
    • Brain Food by Lisa Mosconi
    • Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton
    • The Ultimate Introduction to NLP by Richard Bandler
    • Smarter Tomorrow by Elizabeth R. Ricker
    • Your Brain Is Always Listening by Daniel G. Amen
    • The Source by Dr. Tara Swart
    • In a Different Key by John Donvan and Caren Zucker
    • The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen W. Porges
    • Reclaim Your Brain by Joseph A. Annibali