Pieces of Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain

Michael C. Corballis


'A small but attractively formed way to awake your inner scientist.' - NZ Listener


Why do we remember faces but not names? If your brain was cut in half would you suffer more than a splitting headache? Does your dog remember where it buried its bone? And do we really only use 10 per cent of our brains? In 21 short walks around the human mind, Michael C. Corballis answers these questions—and more.

The human mind is arguably the most complex organ in the universe. Modern computers might be faster, and whales might have larger brains, but neither can match the sheer intellect or capacity for creativity that we humans enjoy. In this book Michael Corballis introduces us to what we’ve learned about the intricacies of the human brain over the last fifty years.

Leading us through behavioural experiments and neuroscience, cognitive theory and Darwinian evolution with his trademark wit and wisdom, Corballis punctures a few hot-air balloons (‘You only use 10 per cent of your brain!’ ‘Unleash the creativity of your right brain!’) and explains just what we know—and don’t know—about our own minds. From language to standing upright, composing music to bullshitting, he covers some of the fascinating activities and capabilities that go towards making us human.

At one time or another, we’ve all wished that we could get inside someone else’s head. Here’s how.


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Michael C. Corballis is professor emeritus of psychology at The University of Auckland. An outstanding science communicator, he is the author of From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language (2003) and most recently The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization (2011). Reviewers internationally have hailed Corballis for telling ‘captivating’ stories (New York Times) with writing that is ‘informative and entertaining’ (American Scientist).


November 2011, 190 x 140 mm, 112 pages, New Zealand only
Paperback with flaps, ISBN 9781869404925, $29.99