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Mind Hacks

Book Description

The brain is a fearsomely complex information-processing environment--one that often eludes our ability to understand it. At any given time, the brain is collecting, filtering, and analyzing information and, in response, performing countless intricate processes, some of which are automatic, some voluntary, some conscious, and some unconscious. Cognitive neuroscience is one of the ways we have to understand the workings of our minds. It's the study of the brain biology behind our mental functions: a collection of methods--like brain scanning and computational modeling--combined with a way of looking at psychological phenomena and discovering where, why, and how the brain makes them happen. Want to know more? Mind Hacks is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment works of the brain. Using cognitive neuroscience, these experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception, and more throw light on how the human brain works. Each hack examines specific operations of the brain. By seeing how the brain responds, we pick up clues about the architecture and design of the brain, learning a little bit more about how the brain is put together. Mind Hacks begins your exploration of the mind with a look inside the brain itself, using hacks such as "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain" and "Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes." Also among the 100 hacks in this book, you'll find:

  • Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions

  • See Movement When All is Still

  • Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention

  • Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty

  • Mold Your Body Schema

  • Test Your Handedness

  • See a Person in Moving Lights

  • Make Events Understandable as Cause-and-Effect

  • Boost Memory by Using Context

  • Understand Detail and the Limits of Attention

Steven Johnson, author of "Mind Wide Open" writes in his foreword to the book, "These hacks amaze because they reveal the brain's hidden logic; they shed light on the cheats and shortcuts and latent assumptions our brains make about the world." If you want to know more about what's going on in your head, then Mind Hacks is the key--let yourself play with the interface between you and the world.

Table of Contents

  1. Mind Hacks™: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Other resources from O’Reilly
    3. Foreword
    4. Credits
      1. About the Authors
      2. Contributors
      3. Acknowledgments
        1. Tom
        2. Matt
    5. Preface
      1. Why Mind Hacks?
      2. How to Use This Book
        1. Recommended Reading
      3. How This Book Is Organized
      4. Conventions Used in This Book
      5. Using Material from This Book
      6. How to Contact Us
      7. Got a Hack?
    6. 1. Inside the Brain: Hacks 1–12
      1. Hack #1. Find Out How the Brain Works Without Looking Inside
        1. End Notes
      2. Hack #2. Electroencephalogram: Getting the Big Picture with EEGs
        1. Pros
        2. Cons
      3. Hack #3. Positron Emission Tomography: Measuring Activity Indirectly with PET
        1. Pros
        2. Cons
      4. Hack #4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: The State of the Art
        1. Pros
        2. Cons
      5. Hack #5. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Turn On and Off Bits of the Brain
        1. Pros
        2. Cons
        3. See Also
      6. Hack #6. Neuropsychology, the 10% Myth, and Why You Use All of Your Brain
        1. End Notes
      7. Hack #7. Get Acquainted with the Central Nervous System
        1. See Also
      8. Hack #8. Tour the Cortex and the Four Lobes
        1. Cerebral Lobes
        2. Cerebral Cortex
      9. Hack #9. The Neuron
        1. End Notes
        2. See Also
      10. Hack #10. Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      11. Hack #11. Why People Don’t Work Like Elevator Buttons
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      12. Hack #12. Build Your Own Sensory Homunculus
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
    7. 2. Seeing: Hacks 13–33
      1. Hack #13. Understand Visual Processing
        1. Start at the Retina
        2. Behind the Eyes
        3. Enter the Visual Cortex
        4. “What” and “Where” Processing Streams
        5. Processing with Built-in Assumptions
      2. Hack #14. See the Limits of Your Vision
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      3. Hack #15. To See, Act
        1. In Action
        2. End Notes
        3. See Also
      4. Hack #16. Map Your Blind Spot
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. Hacking the Hack
        4. End Note
        5. See Also
      5. Hack #17. Glimpse the Gaps in Your Vision
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      6. Hack #18. When Time Stands Still
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      7. Hack #19. Release Eye Fixations for Faster Reactions
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. See Also
      8. Hack #20. Fool Yourself into Seeing 3D
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      9. Hack #21. Objects Move, Lighting Shouldn’t
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      10. Hack #22. Depth Matters
        1. Object Intensity
          1. In action
          2. How it works
          3. In real life
        2. Known Size
          1. In action
          2. How it works
          3. In real life
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      11. Hack #23. See How Brightness Differs from Luminance: The Checker Shadow Illusion
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Note
        5. See Also
      12. Hack #24. Create Illusionary Depth with Sunglasses
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Note
        5. See Also
      13. Hack #25. See Movement When All Is Still
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. Hacking the Hack
        4. See Also
      14. Hack #26. Get Adjusted
        1. In Action
        2. Why It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      15. Hack #27. Show Motion Without Anything Moving
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. Hacking The Hack
        5. End Notes
        6. See Also
      16. Hack #28. Motion Extrapolation: The “Flash-Lag Effect”
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      17. Hack #29. Turn Gliding Blocks into Stepping Feet
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      18. Hack #30. Understand the Rotating Snakes Illusion
        1. In Action
          1. The autokinetic effect
          2. Ouchi illusion
          3. Peripheral drift
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      19. Hack #31. Minimize Imaginary Distances
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      20. Hack #32. Explore Your Defense Hardware
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      21. Hack #33. Neural Noise Isn’t a Bug; It’s a Feature
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
    8. 3. Attention: Hacks 34–43
      1. End Note
      2. Hack #34. Detail and the Limits of Attention
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Note
      3. Hack #35. Count Faster with Subitizing
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      4. Hack #36. Feel the Presence and Loss of Attention
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
      5. Hack #37. Grab Attention
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      6. Hack #38. Don’t Look Back!
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      7. Hack #39. Avoid Holes in Attention
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      8. Hack #40. Blind to Change
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      9. Hack #41. Make Things Invisible Simply by Concentrating (on Something Else)
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      10. Hack #42. The Brain Punishes Features that Cry Wolf
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      11. Hack #43. Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games
        1. Shortening the Attentional Blink
        2. Raising the Cap on Subitizing
        3. How It Works
        4. In Real Life
        5. End Notes
    9. 4. Hearing and Language: Hacks 44–52
      1. Hack #44. Detect Timing with Your Ears
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
      2. Hack #45. Detect Sound Direction
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      3. Hack #46. Discover Pitch
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      4. Hack #47. Keep Your Balance
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
      5. Hack #48. Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      6. Hack #49. Speech Is Broadband Input to Your Head
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. See Also
      7. Hack #50. Give Big-Sounding Words to Big Concepts
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      8. Hack #51. Stop Memory-Buffer Overrun While Reading
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. See Also
      9. Hack #52. Robust Processing Using Parallelism
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
    10. 5. Integrating: Hacks 53–61
      1. Hack #53. Put Timing Information into Sound and Location Information into Light
        1. In Action
          1. Vision dominates for localization
          2. Audition dominates for timing
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      2. Hack #54. Don’t Divide Attention Across Locations
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. Hacking the Hack
        5. End Notes
      3. Hack #55. Confuse Color Identification with Mixed Signals
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      4. Hack #56. Don’t Go There
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      5. Hack #57. Combine Modalities to Increase Intensity
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      6. Hack #58. Watch Yourself to Feel More
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      7. Hack #59. Hear with Your Eyes: The McGurk Effect
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      8. Hack #60. Pay Attention to Thrown Voices
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
      9. Hack #61. Talk to Yourself
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
    11. 6. Moving: Hacks 62–69
      1. Hack #62. The Broken Escalator Phenomenon: When Autopilot Takes Over
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      2. Hack #63. Keep Hold of Yourself
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      3. Hack #64. Mold Your Body Schema
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      4. Hack #65. Why Can’t You Tickle Yourself?
        1. Tickle Predicting
          1. In action
          2. How it works
        2. Force Prediction
          1. In action
          2. How it works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      5. Hack #66. Trick Half Your Mind
        1. In Action
          1. Part 1
          2. Part 2
          3. Part 3
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      6. Hack #67. Objects Ask to Be Used
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      7. Hack #68. Test Your Handedness
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      8. Hack #69. Use Your Right Brain—and Your Left, Too
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
    12. 7. Reasoning: Hacks 70–74
      1. Hack #70. Use Numbers Carefully
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      2. Hack #71. Think About Frequencies Rather than Probabilities
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      3. Hack #72. Detect Cheaters
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      4. Hack #73. Fool Others into Feeling Better
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      5. Hack #74. Maintain the Status Quo
        1. In Action
          1. Version 1
          2. Version 2
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
    13. 8. Togetherness: Hacks 75–80
      1. Hack #75. Grasp the Gestalt
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      2. Hack #76. To Be Noticed, Synchronize in Time
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      3. Hack #77. See a Person in Moving Lights
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      4. Hack #78. Make Things Come Alive
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      5. Hack #79. Make Events Understandable as Cause and Effect
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
        4. See Also
      6. Hack #80. Act Without Knowing It
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
    14. 9. Remembering: Hacks 81–92
      1. Hack #81. Bring Stuff to the Front of Your Mind
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      2. Hack #82. Subliminal Messages Are Weak and Simple
        1. In Action
        2. In Real Life
        3. How It Works
        4. End Notes
      3. Hack #83. Fake Familiarity
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Note
        5. See Also
      4. Hack #84. Keep Your Sources Straight (if You Can)
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      5. Hack #85. Create False Memories
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      6. Hack #86. Change Context to Build Robust Memories
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Note
        4. See Also
      7. Hack #87. Boost Memory Using Context
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      8. Hack #88. Think Yourself Strong
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. Three Kinds of Motor Control
        4. In Real Life
        5. End Notes
      9. Hack #89. Navigate Your Way Through Memory
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      10. Hack #90. Have an Out-of-Body Experience
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
      11. Hack #91. Enter the Twilight Zone: The Hypnagogic State
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      12. Hack #92. Make the Caffeine Habit Taste Good
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
          1. Fake Familiarity word game part 2
    15. 10. Other People: Hacks 93–100
      1. Hack #93. Understand What Makes Faces Special
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      2. Hack #94. Signal Emotion
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      3. Hack #95. Make Yourself Happy
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
          1. Mimicry
          2. Resulting emotion
        3. In Real Life
        4. See Also
      4. Hack #96. Reminisce Hot and Cold
        1. In Action
          1. Tale 1
          2. Tale 2
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
        5. See Also
      5. Hack #97. Look Where I’m Looking
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      6. Hack #98. Monkey See, Monkey Do
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      7. Hack #99. Spread a Bad Mood Around
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. In Real Life
        4. End Notes
      8. Hack #100. You Are What You Think
        1. In Action
        2. How It Works
        3. End Notes
    16. Index
    17. About the Authors
    18. Colophon
    19. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly