From dogs to gods, the science of understanding mysterious minds including your own.
Nothing seems more real than the minds of other people. When you consider what your boss is thinking or whether your spouse is happy, you are admitting them into the "mind club." It s easy to assume other humans can think and feel, but what about a cow, a computer, a corporation? What kinds of mind do they have? Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray are award-winning psychologists who have discovered that minds while incredibly important are a matter of perception. Their research opens a trove of new findings, with insights into human behavior that are fascinating, frightening and funny.
The Mind Clubexplains why we love some animals and eat others, why people debate the existence of God so intensely, how good people can be so cruel, and why robots make such poor lovers. By investigating the mind perception of extraordinary targets animals, machines, comatose people, god Wegner and Gray explain what it means to have a mind, and why it matters so much.
Fusing cutting-edge research and personal anecdotes, The Mind Clubexplores the moral dimensions of mind perception with wit and compassion, revealing the surprisingly simple basis for what compels us to love and hate, to harm and to protect."
- ISBN-13: 9780670785834
- ISBN-10: 0670785830
- Publisher: Viking
- Publish Date: March 2016
- Page Count: 400
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-23
- Reviewer: Staff
The late Wegner (The Illusion of Conscious Will), professor of psychology at Harvard University, and Gray, assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, explore the qualifications of belonging to "that special collection of entities who can think and feel." Offering a bevy of examples, they posit that the degree to which a human, animal, or thing possesses an emotionally or cognitively sharp mind is in the mind of the beholder. For instance, when we dislike, fear, compete with, or lust after other people, we tend to dehumanize them. Conversely, when a technological object isn't working, people tend to humanize it. But it is in understanding the self that humans are perhaps most deluded; we're prone to "choice blindness," confirmation bias, and anthropocentrism. The fragility of self-knowledge is troubling, but may also be liberating. "If the self is merely a chain of memories, then it should be relatively easy to dissolve these links and melt away the distance between ourselves and others," the authors suggest. Wegner (1948–2013) died during the writing of the book, and Gray did well by his mentor, completing a very thoughtful look at the degree to which humans are, primarily, perceivers. Illus. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (Apr.)