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

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Scribe Publications, 2010 - Discrimination - 270 pages
What if it is simply unconscious biases in the way of memory, emotion and attention that produce most misunderstandings and conflicts between people, groups and even nations? How can you tell if it isn't just your brain running on 'auto-pilot' that makes your moral decisions for you, instead of the logical thinking you've nurtured and developed? Reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, The Hidden Brain takes a look at how we actually think both consciously and unconsciously.
In The Hidden Brain: how our unconscious minds elect presidents, control markets, wage wars, and save our lives, author and science journalist Shankar Vedantam describes unique cases of everyday unconscious decision making while applying the latest scientific studies to each situation. The result is fascinating. The Hidden Brain explores numerous questions and doubts about the choices we make and updates us on the most recent scientific research on unconscious thinking.
Shankar believes most everything we do boils down to the inner workings of our brains. Most human actions are based on unconscious biases, not conscious decisions. Looking into 'the hidden brain' is how he can best explain, scientifically, the many contradictory and illogical things people say and do, regardless of their ability to reason. Shankar's recent journalism enables the lay-person to understand what the scientific and human behaviorist communities are discovering. And his book delves into a wide variety of stories that intriguingly point toward the astounding notion that people are much more dependent on the unconscious than most of us would like to believe, by linking this research to real life situations.
If it isn't the unconscious how else do you explain biases that prompt us to think that a black woman leaning over a hospital bed is a nurse, rather than a surgeon? How do you explain why well-meaning managers choose some candidates for job interviews while eliminating others who are equally qualified? Can you explain why people don't always run out of a burning building?

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User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

I had a small dose of dj vu when reading this because I was very familiar with the contents of the chapter on transgender experiences of gender bias...but it must have been an excerpt. Vedantam is a ... Read full review

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User Review  - hhornblower - LibraryThing

An amazing, insightful book. A book everyone should read, just to be aware of our hidden biases. The only way to overcome you unconscious thoughts is to be aware that you have unconscious thoughts. Read full review

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