In Your Brain Is a Time Machine , brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell, and perceive, time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables "mental time travel"--simulations of future and past events.Read more...
In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell, and perceive, time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables "mental time travel"--simulations of future and past events. These functions are essential not only to our daily lives but to the evolution of the human race: without the ability to anticipate the future, mankind would never have crafted tools or invented agriculture. The brain was designed to navigate our continuously changing world by predicting what will happen and when.
Buonomano combines neuroscience expertise with a far-ranging, multidisciplinary approach. With engaging style, he illuminates such concepts as consciousness, spacetime, and relativity while addressing profound questions that have long occupied scientists and philosophers alike: What is time? Is our sense of time's passage an illusion? Does free will exist, or is the future predetermined? In pursuing the answers, Buonomano reveals as much about the fascinating architecture of the human brain as he does about the intricacies of time itself. This virtuosic work of popular science leads to an astonishing realization: your brain is, at its core, a time machine.
- ISBN-13: 9780393247947
- ISBN-10: 0393247945
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: April 2017
- Page Count: 304
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-02-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Buonomano (Brain Bugs), a neuroscientist and professor at UCLA, explores how our brains shape our perception of time, as well as how time itself has shaped our brains. Evolved for optimizing our survival, our brains mark the passage of time and remember the past, using that knowledge to predict the future. For example, Buonomano notes that upon hearing a list, a person will assume that the items in it have occurred in the same order in which they were listed. How our brains process language is dependent on how they process patterns in time. A persons internal, circadian clock is fueled by biology through a neurological feedback loop that is stabilized by chaotically shifting signals in the brain. For a neurologist, this is all pretty common knowledge. Things get really intriguing for readers when Buonomano looks at how our sense of time fits into our comprehension of spacetime, Einsteinian relativity, and the nature of the physical universe. Buonomano covers a lot of territory, but each section is vividly written and accessible, and he treats the most complex topics with refreshing clarity. Readers looking for a thoughtful and provocative exploration of time will find this a worthwhile resource. (Apr.)