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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives

Humans are not the rational creatures we believe ourselves to be. Using a wide range of scientific and psychological studies, author Shankar Vedantam reveals that many of the decisions we make originate from outside of our conscious awareness. Although it may seem shocking, biases often rule our choices and evaluations.

Vedantam, also the author of the Washington Post’s “Department of Human
Behavior” column, describes how unconscious biases overtake knowledge and rational thinking, and helps the reader to understand why. He examines such situations as: why some World Trade Center victims rushed out of the building to safety while others felt it safer to remain inside; why women’s salaries are less than those of men, and transsexual men who become women earn less than transsexual women who become men; and the telescope effect in which news stories about one suffering individual garners more attention than stories about millions of genocide victims.

This is an enjoyable read for popular psychology buffs.

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