WASHINGTON (July 25, 2011)—Play with teasers, illusions and images that guide you through the quirky, less-understood functions of your brain and learn the science behind how this incredibly complex organ works in a new book from National Geographic, publishing in August.
BRAINWORKS: The Mind-Bending Science of How You See, What You Think, and Who You Are (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-0757-0, on-sale date: Aug. 30, 2011; $27 hardcover;) is the companion volume to the highly anticipated three-part National Geographic Channel special, BRAIN GAMES, which will air on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT.
BRAINWORKS shows the fascinating brain functions that affect the human experience every day and shares easy-to-digest science concerning the how and the why behind those functions. Legendary illusionist David Copperfield adds a revealing foreword about the ways brain science has helped him create magic — and a career.
BRAINWORKS makes you the test subject in an array of visual illusions and deceptively simple illustrations crafted by psychologists to highlight the way we take in and process the world around us. In three sections, “Seeing,” “Thinking” and “Being,” you’ll see for yourself why these visual illusions and experiments hoodwink the brain. You’ll find out how the structure of the eye influences what you see; and you’ll think of events that may not have actually happened, in order to learn how the mind can create a false memory.
Each chapter guides you through a series of perceptual and thought experiments firsthand and then walks you through your brain’s reaction in clear, user-friendly language, providing every reader with a compelling personal interest in finding out why his or her mind acts the way it does.
Among the myriad fascinating facts in BRAINWORKS, readers will learn:
- Why we fear a shark bite more than a dog bite;
- Why we are incapable of judging the length of two equal lines when they are arranged in a certain way;
- There are seven types of color blindness: In one form, sufferers are unable to distinguish among red, orange, yellow and green; in another, sufferers see their world only in white, black and shades of gray.
- Tests on London cabbies have revealed enlarged hippocampi, indicating enhanced memory about addresses and street
- The human brain is wired to see patterns in all objects, including random stimuli. This phenomenon, called pareidolia, causes us to seek facial patterns everywhere.
BRAINWORKS is filled with quick factoids and quotations from such contemporary science writers as Wall Street Journal columnist Jonah Lehrer and inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.
Smart, exciting and deeply engaging, BRAINWORKS pulls you in, manipulates your mind and leaves you with a better understanding — as well as a richer appreciation — of the mental marvels that we tend to take for granted.
David Copperfield, who has written the foreword to BRAINWORKS and appears on the first episode of National Geographic Channel’s BRAIN GAMES, is the first living illusionist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was knighted by the French government and received the Living Legend award from the U.S. Library of Congress. He has won more than 21 Emmy awards for his groundbreaking TV series. Named the Magician of the Millennium, he performs in sold-out arenas throughout the world and has sold more tickets than any other solo entertainer in history. Copperfield also holds 11 Guinness World Records.
Author Michael Sweeney, a graduate of the University of Nebraska,Lincoln, received his Ph.D. in journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and his master’s in journalism at the University of North Texas. He reported for nationalgeographic.com on Robert Ballard’s Titanic expedition. Sweeney’s numerous books include “The Ultimate Survival Book,” “Peace: The Biography of a Symbol,” “God Grew Tired of Us” and “Mind: The Complete Brain.”