Neuropsychology books

Why We Sleep
Matthew Walker

Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don’t sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels,…

Connections
Karl Deisseroth

Mental illness is one of the greatest causes of human suffering, but the reasons we bear this burden, and the nature of these diseases, have remained mysterious. Now, our understanding has reached a tipping point.

In Connections, Professor Karl Deisseroth intertwines gripping case studies from his experience as an emergency psychiatry physician, with breakthrough scientific discoveries from astounding new technology (including optogenetics, which he developed to allow turning specific brain cells on or off, with light).By linking insights from this technology to deeply moving stories of his patients and to our shared evolutionary history, Deisseroth tells a larger story about the origins of human emotion.

A young woman with an eating disorder reveals how the mind can rebel against the brain’s most primitive drives of hunger and thirst; an older man, smothered into silence by dementia, shows how humans evolved to feel joy and its absence; and a lonely Uyghur woman far from her homeland teaches both the importance – and challenges – of deep social bonds.

How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
Lisa Barrett

Preeminent psychologist Lisa Barrett lays out how the brain constructs emotions in a way that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind.

Leading the charge is psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, whose research overturns the long-standing belief that emotions are automatic, universal, and hardwired in different brain regions. Instead, Barrett shows, we construct each instance of emotion through a unique interplay of brain, body, and culture.

A lucid report from the cutting edge of emotion science, How Emotions Are Made reveals the profound real-world consequences of this breakthrough for everything from neuroscience and medicine to the legal system and even national security, laying bare the immense implications of our latest and most intimate scientific revolution.

The Master and his Emissary
Iain McGilcchrist

Iain McGilchrist presents a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain’s left and right hemispheres, and how those differences have affected society, history, and culture.

McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent research in neuroscience and psychology to reveal that the difference is profound: the left hemisphere is detail oriented, while the right has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity.

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
Pete Walker

The causes of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. Many survivors grew up in houses that were not homes – in families that were as loveless as orphanages and sometimes as dangerous.

If you felt unwanted, unliked, rejected, hated, and/or despised for a lengthy portion of your childhood, trauma may be deeply engrained in your mind, soul, and body.

This book is a practical guide to recovering from lingering childhood trauma. It is copiously illustrated with examples of the author’s and his clients’ journeys of recovering. It is a comprehensive self-help guide for working through the toxic legacy of the past and for achieving a rich and fulfilling life.

This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J. Levitin

Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language.

Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:

• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world

• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre

• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise

• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head