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Review: Mind Hacks

Mind Hacks

Mind Hacks
Tom Stafford and Matt Webb (2004)

Mind Hacks is a tour about the field of cognitive neuroscience, the study of the brain biology behind our mental functions. It is a collection of short articles that probes into the moment-by-moment works of the brain. It introduce us the scientific understanding. Each piece is accompanied with "hacks", experiments or demonstrations we can see or do in everyday life. They are fun, clever and often surprising tricks that help reveals the inner working of our minds.

This book will help you appreciate how amazing our brains are. How it can make sense of the world, finding the pertinent information from multitude of sensual stimulus, and do so in near real time. Today's gadget and human machine interface are primitive in comparison. So understanding what works and what doesn't for us also help us to design better tools and user interface.

I started reading Mind Hacks when it come our in 2005. Some how it stalled and I only pick it up again and finish it this year. One thing is you should be near a computer when you read this book. The book is full of URL links pointing to demonstrations you should open to get full appreciation of the topic. Kindle doesn't help because many demonstration are animations. One issue is that in just 6 short year after the book is published, perhaps 50% of links are already broken. 25% of them can be recovered by persistent search, 25% perhaps lost permanently, with some uses obsolete web technology such as Java Applet that's difficult to open today.

Mind Hacks is just a snapshot of what the new field of cognitive neuroscience has learned today. It certain is a very exciting field and we can expected many new insight in the years to come.

2011.04.14 [] - comments

 

 

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