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From University of Washington professor Chantel Prat comes The Neuroscience of You, a rollicking adventure into the human brain that reveals the surprising truth about neuroscience, shifting our focus from what’s average to an understanding of how every brain is different, exactly why our quirks are important, and what this means for each of us.
With style and wit, Chantel Prat takes us on a tour of the meaningful ways that our brains are dissimilar from one another. Using real-world examples, along with take-them-yourself tests and quizzes, she shows you how to identify the strengths and weakness of your own brain, while learning what might be going on in the brains of those who are unlike you. With sections like “Focus,” “Navigate,” and “Connect,” The Neuroscience of You helps us see how brains that are engineered differently ultimately take diverse paths when it comes time to prioritize information, use what they’ve learned from experience, relate to other people, and so much more.
While other scientists focus on how “the” brain works “on average,” Prat argues that our obsession with commonalities has slowed our progress toward understanding the very things that make each of us unique and interesting. Her field-leading research, employing cutting-edge technology, reveals the truth: Complicated as it may be, no two brains are alike. And individual differences in brain functioning are as pervasive as they are fundamental to defining what “normal” looks like. Adages such as, “I’m not wired that way” intuitively point to the fact that the brains we’re piloting, educating, and parenting are wonderfully distinct, explaining a whole host of phenomena, from how easily a person might learn a second language in adulthood to whether someone feels curious or threatened when faced with new information. This book invites the reader to understand themselves and others by zooming in so close that we all look gray and squishy.
Chantel Prat is a professor at the University of Washington with appointments in the departments of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics; with affiliations at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, the Center for Neurotechnology, and the Institute for Neuroengineering. She is a recipient of the Tom Trabasso Young Investigator Award from the Society for Text and Discourse and a Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health. Prat also speaks internationally at events like the World Science Festival. She is featured in the documentary film I Am Human. Her studies have been profiled in media ranging from Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Science Daily to Rolling Stone, Popular Mechanics, Pacific Standard, Travel + Leisure, and National Public Radio.