The Self Illusion by Bruce Hood
How the Social Brain Creates Identity

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Most of us believe that we are an independent, coherent self--an individual inside our head who thinks, watches, wonders, dreams, and makes plans for the future. This sense of our self may seem incredibly real but a wealth of recent scientific evidence reveals that it is not what it seems--it is all an illusion.
In The Self Illusion, Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other. Humans spend proportionally the greatest amount of time in childhood compared to any other animal. It's not only to learn from others, Hood notes, but also to learn to become like others. We learn to become our self. Even as adults we are continually developing and elaborating this story, learning to become different selves in different situations--the work self, the home self, the parent self. Moreover, Hood shows that this already fluid process--the construction of self--has dramatically changed in recent years. Social networking activities--such as blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter--are fast becoming socialization on steroids. The speed and ease at which we can form alliances and relationships are outstripping the same selection processes that shaped our self prior to the internet era. Things will never be the same again in the online social world. Hood offers our first glimpse into this unchartered territory.

Who we are is, in short, a story of our self--a narrative that our brain creates. Like the science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind. But Hood concludes that though the self is an illusion, it is an illusion we must continue to embrace to live happily in human society.

About Bruce Hood

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Bruce Hood is currently the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT, and a faculty professor at Harvard. He has been awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in neuroscience, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Infancy Researchers, the Robert Fantz Memorial Award and voted a Fellow by the Association for Psychological Science. He is the author of several books, including SuperSense: Why We Believe the Unbelievable. This year he was selected as the 2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer--to give three lectures broadcast by the BBC--the most prestigious appointment for the public engagement of science in the UK.
Published April 25, 2012 by Oxford University Press, USA. 365 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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In his fascinating newest, Hood, director of the Cognitive Development Centre at Bristol University, explores the ways in which the human brain tricks itself and uses others to create an identity.

Jul 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Self Illusion: How the So...

City Book Review

He takes on the illusion concept, coupled with visual effects, and incorporates an inside look at such amazing constructs as free will and “Why You Can’t See Yourself in Reflection.” His is a divine province where the self illusion is brought to life, dramatically detailed so that we can get a gl...

Jul 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Self Illusion: How the So...

We Love This Book

Following his successful Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2011, The Self Illusion is the new work from Bruce Hood who claims that there is no 'self' as we understand it that acts and thinks with free will.

Apr 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Self Illusion: How the So...

Unlike the physical body, however, the astral body is inviolable, (i.e.,incorruptible).

Oct 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Self Illusion: How the So...

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