What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. The human brain has evolved a complex circuitry that allows it to be socially intelligent. This social machinery has only just begun to be studied in detail. One function of this circuitry is to attribute awareness to others: to compute that person Y is aware of thing X.
In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory.
©2013 Oxford University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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I have encountered Graziano's "Attention Schema" theory of consciousness before in other books, but this volume explains it thoroughly and decisively. While it comes somewhat short of the Holy Grail of the FINAL EXPLANATION of what makes us conscious--one questions if such a thing is ever at last possible, any more than the fish explaining how its bowl was made, ultimately unable to escape its confines--Attention Theory is about the best psychological and neurological theory that we have at present. It is a definite step forward over all former theories. A book well worth reading.
"Good idea but poor narration."
The last chapters discussing the nature of spirituality and possibility of machine consciousness were intriguing and refreshingly different from most other accounts.
The narrator spoke with very little voice inflection and what was there was annoying. Every sentence ended with a lowered pitch making it sound like each one was the last one in the paragraph or chapter. It became more and more distracting until it was only possible to listen in small doses. However, the content was compelling enough to finish.
The author has an unusual hypothesis about the relationship of awareness and attention, and even though his exposition was repetitive, the concept is exciting and compelling.
"Gonna make you think hard"
thought provoking stuff.
How he weaves personal anecdotes with complex scientific theories and facts to make the book much more readable.
Did not care for his inflection. I think just personal preference.
the chapter on spirituality.
I have listened to this book three times now. This is brilliant stuff, and has made me rethink some of my long held beliefs.
Thoroughly explained within a strictly scientific view as well as personal viewpoints on what consciousness is and what it isn't. Enlightening to say the least.
I liked this book because you don't have to be a scientist to understand it. I could follow it all the way through!
"Very difficult listen"
This book did not seem like a book that should be listened to. There were times I had to rewind to listen what the narrator said. Even still it was hard to keep pace with. A written form would have sufficed much better. Because this book is a scientific book there were times when the explanation was too drab.
I would recommend this book to avid neuroscience readers and people who work in the set field.
Not a book for the average audible listener.
"A piece of a larger puzzle"
The book purposes a theory that when combined with others, may provide a useful lens which explains consciousness. Worth it.
You must be up for a long dry explanation of a theory of consciousness. Much more plausible than any I've heard. If you are into brain science, philosophy or seeking spiritual truth, this, is for you. Very interesting congruence of those fields in this theory. If you are looking for an entertaining story, this is not for you.
This book was so amazing that I read it twice! I was so fasciated by the topic (and it made so much sense) that I was left wanting to get more involved in the research. Dr. Graziano is a great story teller and made the very challenging topic of consciousness understandable for the non-neuroscientist. Highly reccomended.
"Exciting new ideas, I couldn't stop listening!!!"
Consciousness and the Social Brain is an exciting and groundbreaking work. The author answers important questions about thinking and awareness, and how it works neurologically. Can we be aware without an object of awareness? Out of body experiences are explained as a representation of a mind, assigned an incorrect location. Yes, awareness has a location! Usually, it's right inside your head. The author talks about spirituality and religion as logical human behaviors. The spirit world is the world of perceived consciousness. The narration is excellent. The book is jam packed with interesting stories and explanations that are new and exciting, and it's all very easily understood and relatable. I highly recommend listening to Consciousness and the Social Brain. I'm so glad the author Michael Graziano took the time to present his ideas in this wonderful book!!! Kudos to Sean Runnette for the narration.
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