In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain. Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals: • How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world • Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre • That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise • How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
This is the first book to offer a comprehensive explanation of how humans experience music and to unravel the mystery of our perennial love affair with it. Using musical examples from Bach to the Beatles, Levitin reveals the role of music in human evolution, shows how our musical preferences begin to form even before we are born and explains why music can offer such an emotional experience. Music is an obsession at the heart of human nature, even more fundamental to our species than language. In This Is Your Brain On Music Levitin offers nothing less than a new way to understand it, and its role in human life
Ever wondered why you can identify your favourite song from hearing only the first two notes? Or why you can't get that annoying jingle out of your head? Daniel Levitin's breathtaking - and wholly accessible - book, now published as an ebook, explains why. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive explanation of how humans experience music and to unravel the mystery of our perennial love affair with it. Using musical examples from Bach to the Beatles, Levitin reveals the role of music in human evolution, shows how our musical preferences begin to form even before we are born and explains why music can offer such an emotional experience. Music is an obsession at the heart of human nature, even more fundamental to our species than language. In This Is Your Brain On Music Levitin offers nothing less than a new way to understand it, and its role in human life.
“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal “Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity—even suicide. Germs that cause colds and the flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. Drawing on a huge body of research, McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human. “If you’ve ever doubted the power of microbes to shape society and offer us a grander view of life, read on and find yourself duly impressed.” —Heather Havrilesky, Bookforum
An eye-opening book that reveals crucial information every woman taking hormonal birth control should know This groundbreaking book sheds light on how hormonal birth control affects women--and the world around them--in ways we are just now beginning to understand. By allowing women to control their fertility, the birth control pill has revolutionized women's lives. Women are going to college, graduating, and entering the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, and there's good reason to believe that the birth control pill has a lot to do with this. But there's a lot more to the pill than meets the eye. Although women go on the pill for a small handful of targeted effects (pregnancy prevention and clearer skin, yay!), sex hormones can't work that way. Sex hormones impact the activities of billions of cells in the body at once, many of which are in the brain. There, they play a role in influencing attraction, sexual motivation, stress, hunger, eating patterns, emotion regulation, friendships, aggression, mood, learning, and more. This means that being on the birth control pill makes women a different version of themselves than when they are off of it. And this is a big deal. For instance, women on the pill have a dampened cortisol spike in response to stress. While this might sound great (no stress!), it can have negative implications for learning, memory, and mood. Additionally, because the pill influences who women are attracted to, being on the pill may inadvertently influence who women choose as partners, which can have important implications for their relationships once they go off it. Sometimes these changes are for the better . . . but other times, they're for the worse. By changing what women's brains do, the pill also has the ability to have cascading effects on everything and everyone that a woman encounters. This means that the reach of the pill extends far beyond women's own bodies, having a major impact on society and the world. This paradigm-shattering book provides an even-handed, science-based understanding of who women are, both on and off the pill. It will change the way that women think about their hormones and how they view themselves. It also serves as a rallying cry for women to demand more information from science about how their bodies and brains work and to advocate for better research. This book will help women make more informed decisions about their health, whether they're on the pill or off of it.
Dividing the sum total of human musical achievement, from Beethoven to The Beatles, Busta Rhymes to Bach, into just six fundamental forms, Levitin illuminates, through songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love, how music has been instrumental in the evolution of language, thought and culture. And how, far from being a bit of a song and dance, music is at the core of what it means to be human. A one-time record producer, now a leading neuroscientist, Levitin has composed a catchy and startlingly ambitious narrative that weaves together Darwin and Dionne Warwick, memoir and biology, anthropology and a jukebox of anecdote to create nothing less than the ' soundtrack of civilisation' .
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL BESTSELLER Author of the iconic bestsellers This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind, Daniel Levitin turns his keen insights to what happens in our brains as we age, why we should think about health span, not life span, and, based on a rigorous analysis of neuroscientific evidence, what you can do to make the most of your seventies, eighties, and nineties today no matter how old you are now. Successful Aging uses research from developmental neuroscience and the psychology of individual differences to show that sixty-plus years is a unique developmental stage that, like infancy or adolescence, has its own demands and distinct advantages. Levitin looks at the science behind what we all can learn from those who age joyously, as well as how to adapt our culture to take full advantage of older people's wisdom and experience. Throughout his exploration of what aging really means, Levitin reveals resilience strategies and practical, cognitive enhancing tricks everyone should do as they age. The book is packed with accessible and discussable takeaways, providing great material for reading groups and media coverage. Successful Aging inspires a powerful new approach to how readers think about our final decades, and it will revolutionize the way we plan for old age as individuals, family members, and citizens within a society where the average life expectancy continues to rise.
An introduction to the science behind stereotypes. From the time we’re babies, our brains sort and label the world around us — a necessary skill for survival. But there’s a downside: we also do it to groups of people in ways that can be harmful. With loads of examples, here’s a scientific overview of stereotyping, covering the history of identifying stereotypes, secret biases in our brains, how stereotypes affect our sense of self, and current research into the ways that science can help us overcome them. Adolescents are all too familiar with stereotypes. Here’s why our brains create stereotypes, and how science can help us do it less.
"THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS is a must read for anyone involved in or simply interested in sports. It tells the real story of what I went through and how countless athletes of all levels are still going through now.....unnecessarily. When no one else could, they helped me to recognize how my throwing problems came directly from sports traumas that were stuck in my brain. And then Grand and Goldberg had the knowhow to release it with the miracle of Brainspotting." Mackey Sasser Former catcher for NY Mets "THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS is a MUST READ for athletes, their parents and coaches, as well as for all psychotherapists and performance experts. In case you didn't know it, THE YIPS has a clearly explainable relationship to past trauma. All one has to do is take a detailed history of the life of an athlete from his/her earliest childhood, relate that to his/her history of physical injuries and throw in a dollop of shame and criticism from parents and coaches and the reason for the yips emerges with crystal clarity. These facts are clearly illustrated in this compelling, fascinating and ground-breaking book by Drs. Grand and Goldberg. Brain-based principles of body-based memory, neurosensitization and cue-related anxiety from the trauma literature clearly prove that the yips come from post-traumatic stress syndrome. And Brainspotting has shown to be dramatically effective in mitigating, and even healing, this vexing syndrome." Robert Scaer, MD Author of THE BODY BEARS THE BURDEN and THE TRAUMA SPECTRUM THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good! is the ground-breaking book that will change the face of sports performance forever. This book introduces the breakthrough concept of STSD (Sport Traumatic Stress Disorder). Grand and Goldberg have discovered that STSDs are the cause of most significant performance problems. Performance blocks and anxiety, including the yips, stem from accumulated sports traumas including sports injuries, failures and humiliations. The authors also introduce the Brainspotting Sports Performance System (BSPS) which quickly finds, releases and resolves the sports traumas held in your brain and body. An easy read, THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS is filled with engaging, informative, inspiring stories. These case examples illustrate how professional, elite, collegiate and junior athletes have been freed for good from this silent "epidemic" of performance blocks and anxiety including: the yips, "Steve Blass disease," "Mackey Sasser syndrome," protracted slumps, balking, choking and freezing. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS provides the answers and the cure for athletes, their coaches and parents about "Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good!" Grand and Goldberg also show how their BSPS can take all athletes to levels they could only heretofore dream of! www.thisisyourbrainonsports.com
The updated and highly illustrated guide to understanding how just about everything in your house works! The revised and updated third edition of How Your House Works is a hands-on guide that gives you the low-down on why your faucet is leaking, your dishwasher is overflowing, or your furnace is on the fritz. This comprehensive book is your reference to virtually everything in your house with richly illustrated explanations of electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, major household appliances, foundation, framing, doors, and windows. This must-have book answers most questions homeowners face when repairs are needed or when a new house or addition is in your future. How Your House Works is filled with easy-to-understand illustrations that show how things should be put together and how they function. The book also highlights issues outside the house as well as clock thermostats, ventless gas heaters, moisture and mold, and passive solar heating. Using the illustrations and the author’s clear explanations might save you the expense of calling a professional. This invaluable guide: Offers a colorful resource to home electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing, major household appliances, foundation, framing, doors and windows, sustainability, and much more Includes easy-to-follow information for troubleshooting problems Contains dozens of new full-color illustrations Presents new chapters on solar power and smart home technologies Helps homeowners save money on many common household repairs Written for homeowners with little or no knowledge of home maintenance or repair, How Your House Works is your illustrated and updated guide to understanding how appliances, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and more work!