Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals About Your Brain and its Quirks

Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals About Your Brain and its Quirks

by Marc Dingman
Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals About Your Brain and its Quirks

Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals About Your Brain and its Quirks

by Marc Dingman




Sleep. Memory. Pleasure. Fear. Language. We experience these things every day, but how do our brains create them?
Your Brain, Explained is a personal tour around your gray matter. Neuroscientist Marc Dingman gives you a crash course in how your brain works and explains the latest research on the brain functions that affect you on a daily basis.

You'll also discover what happens when the brain doesn't work the way it should, causing problems such as insomnia, ADHD, depression, or addiction. You'll learn how neuroscience is working to fix these problems, and how you can build up your defenses against the most common faults of the mind.

Along the way you'll find out:
· Why brain training games don't prevent dementia
· What it's like to remember every day of your life as if it were yesterday
· Which popular psychiatric drug was created from German rocket fuel
· How you might unknowingly be sabotaging your sleep

Drawing on the author's popular YouTube series, 2-minute Neuroscience, this is a friendly, engaging introduction to the human brain and its quirks from the perspective of a neuroscientist—using real-life examples and the author's own eye-opening illustrations. Your brain is yours to discover!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473696556
Publisher: Mobius
Publication date: 09/24/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Marc Dingman received his PhD in Neuroscience in 2013 from The Pennsylvania State University. Since then, he has been a faculty member in the Biobehavioral Health Department at Penn State, where he teaches courses in neuroscience and the health sciences. He also spends much of his free time teaching people about neuroscience through his website ( and his popular YouTube series, 2-Minute Neuroscience. He lives outside State College, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Fear 7

The almond of the brain 9

Monkeys, mescaline, and the amygdala 10

Learning about fear 12

The amygdala as a threat detector 13

Afraid before you know it 14

The "fear center" 18

Beyond fear 19

A new view of fear 21

Fear gone wrong 21

2 Memory 27

Memory basics 28

Forming connections, making memories 31

Memory and…sea slugs? 33

Seahorses on the brain 36

The life of a memory 39

Where are memories stored? 41

The rest of the story 41

Alzheimer's disease 42

A grim prognosis 43

Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease 45

Plaques, tangles, and dying neurons 46

3 Sleep 49

Why do we sleep? 51

The origins of sleep science 52

Measuring sleep with the EEG 55

Night moves 57

The sleeping brain 59

Getting more specific 60

Narcolepsy and the sleep control center 62

The sleep switch 64

You're getting sleepy 65

Adenosine and sleep 66

24/7 67

America's favorite drug 68

Caffeine's lingering effects 69

4 Language 73

Broca meets "Tan" 76

Wernicke gets an area of his own 78

Dueling hemispheres 79

The often overlooked role of the right hemisphere 82

The classic model of language 83

A more complicated picture 84

When language is missing 86

Critical periods 88

5 Sadness 91

Broca and the "great limbic lobe" 92

A new lobe 93

Enter the limbic system 95

Moving on from one "system" for emotion 96

Finding sadness in the brain 97

The subgenual cingulate in depression 98

The depression network 101

The serotonin hypothesis 103

Connecting the dots 104

Reuptake and recycling neurotransmitters 105

The belle of the ball 106

Flaws in the serotonin hypothesis 107

Searching for answers 109

6 Movement 112

The search for movement in the brain 114

The motor cortex 117

The motor cortex in action 119

Fine-tuning movement 120

The "little brain" 121

The basal ganglia 124

Parkinson's disease 126

Moving in slow motion 126

A deficiency of dopamine 128

L-DOPA for Parkinson's: a miracle drug? 130

7 Vision 134

The eyes have it 136

An amazing layer of cells 137

Color blindness: myths and truth 139

The diverse landscape of the retina 140

Leaving the eye 142

Vision in the cortex 143

The amazing specificity of visual perception 146

Vision is an imperfect reconstruction 147

Blindness 149

A very particular set of skills 151

Denying the obvious 152

8 Pleasure 154

Indelible memories 156

The search for the reward system 157

Dopamine and reward 158

The pleasure neurotransmitter 159

New perspectives on dopamine 161

What about the pleasure? 164

Addiction 165

A vicious cycle 166

A new view of addiction 171

9 Pain 174

The path of pain-from receptors to the brain 176

A hub for touch and pain 177

Rubbing the pain away 179

Higher mechanisms 181

An important discovery 183

Natural pain relievers 184

The problem of chronic pain 186

Treating pain: a double-edged sword 187

10 Attention 193

Cocktail parties and attention 195

Attention in the brain 197

The limited resource of attention 200

Multitasking 201

Supertaskers 204

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder 205

The ADHD brain 207

ADHD, dopamine, and the rest of the story 208

Afterword 211

Endnotes 213

About the Author 229

Index 231

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