Incognito by David Eagleman
If the conscious mind—the part you consider you—is just the tip of the iceberg in the brain, what is all the rest doing? In Incognito, neuroscientist David Eagleman plumbs the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising questions: Why can your foot jump halfway to the brake pedal before you are consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do strippers make more money at certain times of the month, although no one is consciously aware of their fertility level? Is there a true Mel Gibson? What do Odysseus and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common? How is your brain like a conflicted democracy engaged in civil war? Why are people whose name begins with J more likely to marry other people whose name begins with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? Why did Supreme Court Justice William Douglas deny that he was paralyzed? This subsurface exploration includes diversions into brain damage, drugs, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, the future of artificial intelligence, and visual illusions—all highlighting how our perception of the world is a hidden and awe-inspiring construction of the brain.