Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman is an excellent book which covers the intricacies of the human brain. Eagleman presents some interesting perspectives about how the brain operates under variable conditions and circumstances in real life.
Eagleman explains that mentation is not under conscious control. The author’s explanation is related to perception. People know from personal experience that the outer boundaries of what we see can escape our consciousness or personal awareness. For instance, a person on a fast moving train may not be able to see the details of the objects and people in the periphery despite the fact that all of them pass within sight momentarily. Eagleman explains this phenomena and points out that men tend to be more visually driven than women.
The brain can conjecture or hypothesize about what’s out there; however, this process is just a guess. In everyday life, people are more likely to believe a statement to be true if they’ve heard it before or experienced it in some way. In addition, Eagleman explains that the brain has competing factions which are in contention to regulate and monitor behavior. There are two systems in the brain. The first is automated and intuitive while the second operates on rules, reflection and analysis.
Eagleman presents an interesting discussion about Freud. The classic id is the instinctive part of human behavior. The ego is realistic and organized while the superego tends to be critical, judgmental and moralizing. Eagleman’s idea of the brain is expressed in important contrasts between rational and emotional systems which compete in complex behavioral ways and manifestations.
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain is an important work on the intricacies of how the brain operates in making choices to regulate and monitor our behavior.