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Brave New Work
The Self Illusion
Why There is No 'You' Inside Your Headav Bruce Hood119
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Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body - the 'me' inside me - is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other's actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you. We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit from the cot to the grave. It is an ever changing character, created by the brain to provide a coherent interface between the multitude of internal processes and the external world demands that require different selves.
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Fascinating, timely and important ... Hood's presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging. * New Scientist * Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty, and humor. Get to know thyself. -- David Eagleman, author of Sum Startling and engrossing... -- Robin Ince Hood has amassed a mountain of support for his argument, covering brain development through social interaction such as attachment, the importance of social mimicry, the illogicality of free will, on-line and off-line selves and much, much more. * Nature * a fascinating and beautifully written book. * The Biologist *
Bruce Hood is currently the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. He is an internationally recognised authority on child development and supernatural thinking, a regular speaker at international science festivals and is on the editorial board of The Skeptic magazine, alongside others including Brian Cox, Derren Brown and Stephen Fry. He has appeared regularly on TV and radio including 'The One Show', 'Start the Week' and 'Newsnight'.