Life at № 42
“Where do our thoughts come from? How do we make choices and trust our judgments? What is the role of the unconscious? Can we manipulate our dreams? In this mind-bending international bestseller, award-winning neuroscientist Mariano Sigman explores the complex answers to these and many other age-old questions.
Over the course of his 20-year career investigating the inner workings of the human brain, Dr. Sigman has cultivated a remarkable interdisciplinary vision. He draws on research in physics, linguistics, psychology, education, and beyond to explain why people who speak more than one language are less prone to dementia; how infants can recognize by sight objects they’ve previously only touched; how babies, even before they utter their first word, have an innate sense of right and wrong.”
I bought this in Spanish last year and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’ll be available in English on Amazon as of June 27th. I cannot recommend it enough. The part I found most interesting was on prejudice(s). Sigman explains how judge’s decisions, for example, are in large part based on the physical appearance of the people being judged. Familiarity (as in sameness to the self) playing a major role in the equation. He explains how this process is something that’s with us from birth. A young child/infant has positive reactions to familiar features and accents and en-garde or full blown negative reactions to strange accents and unfamiliar facial features. We don’t like to admit these things, but they’re undoubtedly true. I’ve been thinking about this recently in regards to the French election. Just looking at the candidates, I’m automatically drawn to François Fillon.
I don’t like his program at all, but something happens somewhere in my mind that says: I recognize those features, that hair, that manner of speaking; he’s from “my tribe” and so I should be more open to his message. The mental shortcut is sameness = safety/success. Just imagine the weight of that in reverse when thinking about racism…
Anyway, I won’t give it all away, but he talks about love, loss, jealousy and the role of the mind and biology in all those things.