In The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks's eleventh book, he delves into issues of perception, illustrating his points with a mix of case stories, personal experiences, and essays. As with his previous books, he examines a handful of rare and fascinating disorders, exploring how profoundly they affect the patients—and the creative ways in which they work to adapt to living with them.
The sensory system
What do generosity, learning, and exercise have in common with liquor, drugs, cheesecake, and gambling? According to David J. Linden, they all activate our “pleasure center” and can become addictive to us. In The Compass of Pleasure, Linden examines brain research and evolutionary science findings to determine what kinds of things our brains find pleasurable, and why we get such a rush from them. Linden’s writing style is witty and conversational, making The Compass of Pleasure a fun and intriguing summer read.
How does your brain sense flavor? Neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd delves into this question in Neurogastronomy. He skillfully considers how not just smell and taste, but also the other senses work together to make a “brain flavor system.” Moving beyond the anatomical, Shepherd looks at the ways in which the brain flavor system impacts diverse aspects of life, from emotion to memory to drug addiction.
Can you hear me now? Katherine Bouton tackles a growing national epidemic: hearing loss. 17% of Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss, and Bouton is one of them. She uses her own experience as a starting point, then peppers the book with material collected from interviews with doctors, neuroscientists, audiologists, and other professionals.
What is the connection between neuroscience and aesthetics? This is the topic of Anjan Chatterjee’s new book, in which he explores the world of pleasure, art, and beauty to uncover how humans evolved to enjoy and desire aesthetically pleasing things. The Aesthetic Brain is a must-read for any art-lover with an interest in how the brain works!