Mind Wide Open (2004)

By Steven Johnson (Scribner).

“Given the opportunity to watch the inner workings of his own brain, Steven Johnson jumps at the chance. He reveals the results in Mind Wide Open, an engaging and personal account of his foray into edgy brain science.”

“In the 21st century, Johnson observes, we have become used to ideas such as “adrenaline rushes” and “serotonin levels,” without really recognizing that complex neurobiology has become a commonplace thing to talk about. He sees recent laboratory revelations about the brain as crucial for understanding ourselves and our psyches in new, post-Freudian ways. Readers shy about slapping electrodes on their own
temples can get a vicarious scientific thrill as Johnson tries out empathy tests, neurofeedback, and fMRI scans. The results paint a distinct picture of the author, and uncover general brain secrets at the same time. Memory, fear, love, alertness–all the multitude of states housed in our brains are shown to be the results of chemical and
electrical interactions constantly fed and changed by input from our senses. Mind Wide Open both satisfies curiosity and provokes more questions, leaving readers wondering about their own gray matter.”

–Therese Littleton